Dr. Sears has sold out! - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-18-2003, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to Walmart (bad, I know) to get socks for DD today, and while navigating the chaos that is the childrens' department, I heard a very disturbing thing. Over the in-store radio, I heard this (I'm paraphrasing... don't remember it exactly):

"And with me now is renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears. He's here to talk about our new formula. Blah blah blah lipil. Blah blah blah it's healthy for the baby blah blah blah like breastmilk blah blah blah"

I am appalled. How can he be doing this? People are going to hear him and think "Well, I respect Dr. Sears' advice and he's got a great reputation. He's advertising formula, so it must be good for the baby. Why not feed her formula instead of breastmilk?" Very bad for someone on the fence, IMO.

Yes, I know that many people have a legitimate need for formula and it is an acceptable substitute for breastmilk if breastmilk is unavailable. Not ideal food for a baby, but an ok substitute. But how is it ethical for someone with this much influence to be advertising something other than the best stuff?

I am fighting mad and am off to write him a letter.
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Old 09-18-2003, 02:02 AM
 
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Old 09-18-2003, 02:08 AM
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good question madohkt

However if it is THE Doctor Sears I will join in wrting a letter . I 'd be appalled and shocked if it is really him.

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Old 09-18-2003, 02:22 AM
 
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No, it really is Dr. William Sears.

http://www.dhadoc.com/

Kellymom's page on DHA/ARA...
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/DH...-comments.html

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Old 09-18-2003, 03:09 AM
 
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What really scares me is on that on the DHA link there is a chat with Dr. Sears link. When you click on that it says that Dr. Sears will be having a chat on building a smarter baby. This just seams wrong. There is also a link that said formula for a smarter baby. How can anyone that is supposed to really support BFing, support this site.
Finding real support and good information about breastfeeding is difficult enough in this country now. All we need is someone that advocates extended breastfeeding to start say formula is just as good. Does he not know that his words will be twisted around to make it seem that formula is the better choice?

Misty, mama to my nurslings William(11/4/02) and Parker(7/13/04).
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Old 09-18-2003, 09:23 AM
 
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Does he not know that his words will be twisted around to make it seem that formula is the better choice?
I'm sure he does--his wife is a LLL leader and he's been a bf advocate for years. He is well aware of the politics of breastfeeding and the spurious marketing practices of formula makers. Looks like he's sold out.


"How to build a better baby"?! That is so wrong! Are we talking about humans here, or are babies just another product like computer software or parking garages?
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:37 AM
 
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:Puke
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:42 AM
 
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ITA with :Puke

Quote:
NABA has received many, many reports of babies being fed Lipil and experiencing watery, explosive diarrhea. This needs to be reported to the manufacturer and the FDA as a side effect or adverse event of this formula. This is so similar to the selling of olestra (the stuff in potato chips that prevents a person from absorbing the fat which caused painful cramping and diarrhea in many adults) that it is a scary comparison. We do not know if babies lose fat, fat soluble vitamins or any other nutrients through the stool when they consume this formula. As a matter of fact, we know very little about this formula.
Marsha Walker, Lactation consultant (from Kellymom.com link above)

Dr. William Sears is on the payroll of Martek which makes the artificial fatty acid blend in these new formulas, according to this 2001 article by Katie Allison Granju:

Quote:
It also was revealed that Sears, a longtime vocal advocate of adding the controversial supplement DHA to infant formulas in the United States, serves as a paid medical advisor to Martek Biosciences, the company currently lobbying the FDA to require DHA supplementation in all infant formula sold in this country.

Despite his stated positions at AskDrSears.com advising parents on the use of generic infant formulas (when formula is required) and DHA, Sears did not offer any disclosure statement on the site informing readers of his fiduciary ties to PBM or Martek.

In a telephone interview Sunday, Dr. Sears readily admitted that PBM Products/StoreBrandFormulas.com underwrote the cost of designing and launching AskDrSears.com, as well as the cost of a full-page ad promoting the site in this month's BabyTalk magazine. Sears also answered affirmatively when asked if he is a Martek stockholder.


http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature...ula/index.html

Has he lost his MIND?

I'm going to think hard about buying any more copies of The Baby Book for baby shower gifts! Anyone have another recomendation?

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Old 09-18-2003, 10:45 AM
 
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i think his intention was that formula be as close to human milk as it can be because some people just are not going to nurse no matter what facts you give them and how much support you offer.

but i don't think he should go so far as to be a smiling shill for the industry. maybe he's getting old and senile.
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Old 09-18-2003, 10:54 AM
 
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Hmm..this seems remarkably similar to when he opened his askdrsears.com site and for a very short time allowed formula banner ads. There was such and uproar that he realized it was a bad idea and discontinued them. So letters to him do actually work and I believe we should write him about this just like we did about the banner ads. Although you'd think he would have figured it out the first time around...

T I love this quote from the "formula for better babies" article. Too bad its significance will be lost on most of the readers: "I feel that the best we can hope for (with supplemented formulas) is to narrow the gap between breast- and standard formula-fed infants." :LOL

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Old 09-18-2003, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person incensed about this.

I am definitely reconsidering my recommendation of his books to new and expectant parents. Anyone have some alternatives?

I am still mulling over my letter and will post it here when it's completed.

I agree with Elphaba... maybe he is getting old and senile.

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Old 09-18-2003, 12:06 PM
 
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There sure have been a few questionable things coming out on Dr. Sears
lately!
Though it makes me skeptical to "suggest" his books to pg friends....I
still thinks he's the best route to go with. I hope he is learning from
these mishaps!

T
Moving this to bfing support and advocacy now
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Old 09-18-2003, 12:06 PM
 
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Quoting myself here,
Dr. Sears readily admitted that PBM Products/StoreBrandFormulas.com underwrote the cost of designing and launching AskDrSears.com

PBM...what does that stand for? That's the same company that has hired Brooke Shields with a "seven figure" salary to do a print/TV blitz for "Bright Beginnings" formula with the artificial fats in it. I just put some quotes from an Adweek article. They said they "considered" getting Kelly Ripa or Sarah Jessica Parker to sell the formula (but I hope I hope I HOPE they said no due to ethics!)

Link to that discussion:http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=85541

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Old 09-18-2003, 12:10 PM
 
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I read a statement a while back from Dr. Sears. He is a big proponent of the addition of DHA to formulas. His statement was that they had adopted a child who was partially fed formula (I think Martha tried to relactate, but wasn't able to totally bf the child) and they couldn't get formula with EFA's added except from Europe. Since he believes this to be an important addition to formula, and he is a pediatrician who knows that a large percenage of women are going wind up formula feeding at some point in the first year, I can totally see him being a spokeman for some the DHA company. I think from *his* POV he is being a realist and trying to help those babies that won't get a year of b/m to get the best available. Whether this is the best available is debatable, but obviously Dr. Sears believes it is - he advocated for the addition to formulas in the US. And Walmart is probably the best place to get the word out to formula feeding moms. :
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Old 09-18-2003, 01:14 PM
 
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Argh!
How disappointing.
That leaves only Dr. Jay Gordon standing strong with integrity.
I never liked Sears' wimp-out on genital-cutting anyhow!
Teresa
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Old 09-18-2003, 01:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mom2six
Since he believes this to be an important addition to formula, and he is a pediatrician who knows that a large percenage of women are going wind up formula feeding at some point in the first year, I can totally see him being a spokeman for some the DHA company. I think from *his* POV he is being a realist and trying to help those babies that won't get a year of b/m to get the best available. Whether this is the best available is debatable, but obviously Dr. Sears believes it is - he advocated for the addition to formulas in the US. And Walmart is probably the best place to get the word out to formula feeding moms. :
I can totally see his line of thinking... but I still disagree with it. The last thing Formula needs is more promotion.

According to a New Zealand article, women are choosing these formulas over BFing because they think it's superior to breastmilk

Pushy Parents Willingly in the hands of product marketers

Quote:
The latest edition of Wired magazine reveals how to have better children through chemistry. The magazine reports on the arrival of pharmacological tweaking in the form of four drugs to enhance healthy kids rather than cure sick ones.

Naturally, the best method of delivering these new wonder drugs is through baby formula. In addition to more than two dozen vitamins and minerals, the top-selling infant formulas in the United States now contain the combination additives DHA-ARA. The manufacturers claim that fatty acids improve both IQ and eyesight, and back their assertions with glossy advertisements in parent magazines that show newborns with sharply focused eyes sucking from bottles.

One even declares the formula will give your child the mind of a scientist. Desperate for that IQ edge, parents believe it. The companies marketing the new superbaby formulas are seeing their share prices skyrocket as new mothers choose the additive formulas over breastfeeding. All this despite the fact that all the clinical trials done so far have been financed by either the company that produces the additives or the formula-makers themselves.
There is a mom on another thread who mentioned that she also had to order this formula from Europe before it was available here. She had a ***REAL*** medical need, as her DD was unable to produce DHA in the body. You can read her story and POV here:

Talk Amongst Ourselves: Pushy parents...

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Old 09-18-2003, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally posted by Tanibani
According to a New Zealand article, women are choosing these formulas over BFing because they think it's superior to breastmilk .[/URL]
I don't know about "superior", but I work in L&D and we had women coming in asking for "that breastmilk formula" when Lipil came out.

You should have seen me corner the formula rep. when he came by and I came out on the attack saying they were misleading families with their advertising campaign. We happend to have a Parenting mag. sitting at the desk which I pulled out to show that the current ad no longer said "breastfeeding is best for your baby". He was red in the face, but I'm sure it didn't make any difference. I work in a very mainstream L&D dept., but even the nurses I work with were grossed out with women coming in and asking for "breastmilk formula" as if it was the same thing.
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Old 09-18-2003, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG, Mom2Six. "Breastmilk Formula"? How appalling.

Frickin' formula manufacturers.
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Old 09-18-2003, 06:41 PM
 
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My friend thought you might appreciate reading the letter/email I wrote to Dr. Sears regarding this. I want to preface this letter by explaining that as an adoptive mom, I actually appreciate that he HAS a recommendation for me on which is the best formula. I independently (before Dr. Sears recommended them) chose DHA/ARA formulas for my DS and did notice a considerable difference in his stools and how well he tolerated them. But, I'm like you ladies, too, in that I think Dr. Sears is wrong to promote formulas at all. Okay, here goes:

Dr. Sears,

I'd like to begin by telling you how much I appreciate your books and information. My best friend told me about your books, and reading The Baby Book introduced me to attachment parenting, and ended my 8-year search for a parenting style that felt right. Luckily for my son, I read your book just before he was born. We have struggled since our marriage in 1994 with infertility, so adopting our son last year was an incredible blessing.

I recently heard your name attached to an advertisement that concerned me, however. It was an advertisement for formula with DHA/ARA added. I completely agree with you that these formulas are much closer to breastmilk than other formulas available. I know this because I tried both with my son (as well as attempting to induce lactation), and noticed a considerable difference in the stools when on the DHA/ARA formulas, that proved to me that they were indeed closer to breastmilk in composition. So, I do believe that these formulas are a great improvement and wonderful for those of us who truly cannot breastfeed our children.

However, I feel that your promotion of these products, by allowing advertising companies to use your name in their advertisements, is highly misleading. You are honored and recognized as a breastfeeding and attachment parenting advocate, if not the "modern day father" of the AP movement. I do believe it sends a mixed and even counter-productive message to blatantly support the formula manufacturers this way. I'm afraid many of your loyal supporters will see this support as "selling out" and may stop listening to your other advice, which is unfortunate in today's world where your message is much needed to improve the family unit.

I believe a more appropriate way to support this new technology would be simply a paragraph or two in your book(s) mentioning that for adoptive parents, or others with true breastfeeding difficulties, DHA/ARA formulas (brand unspecific, of course) are the next best thing. But I believe it is imperative to boldly stress the importance of breastmilk first! Please do not waver on this view. Be bold and strong in your support and advocacy of breastfeeding. This world has too many people already regarding breastfeeding as unnecessary, without adding your highly influential voice to that crowd.

Thank you for your time,
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:32 PM
 
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I thought that these new additives weren't very healthy...

this thread

Why is Dr. Sears promoting something that can actually be harmful to the health of babies? That kind of makes me a bit uneasy, that such a well respected physcian is putting his name behind a product that may or may not be safe.
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Old 09-18-2003, 08:28 PM
 
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I don't know about "superior", but I work in L&D and we had women coming in asking for "that breastmilk formula" when Lipil came out.
It gets worse...some people at WIC offices are asking for "the formula with breastmilk in it." So they know breastmilk is superior; they just don't want to be the ones to provide it??!!

If I had to use formula, I would most definitely not use this "superbaby" crap. I did supplement with dd, until I got a better pump, and I used the organic kind. That's what I would do if I had to use formula again, even if all I got out of it was a "regular" baby.

I have never been impressed with Sears even before all this.
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:43 AM
 
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Wow - I'm feeling somewhat back-stabbed.

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Old 09-19-2003, 06:54 AM
 
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Once an MD, always an MD. He advocates vaccination, too.

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Old 09-19-2003, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jessikate

I am definitely reconsidering my recommendation of his books to new and expectant parents. Anyone have some alternatives?


Dr. Jay Gordon is a great alternative (he's actually better, IMHO.)

His book "Listening to Your Baby" is wonderful--it discusses co-sleeping, bf'ing, just generally enjoying and paying attention to your baby, etc. (although it's rather neutral on circumcision, and I would like it to be outright against circ.)

He also has a book about the family bed. There you go! No need to buy Sears anymore.
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Old 09-19-2003, 01:54 PM
 
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This is very sell-outish. Awful. I have his books, and in many ways, I love his parenting advice. But, I am not thrilled with his medical advice. He is still pretty mainstream pediatric: pro-vax, pro-well-baby visits, etc....I prefer Dr. Mendelsohn's book, and plan to use it as my "bible" of child heath care. Mendelsohn is an M.D. who really tells it straight. He is against most "routine" care, and supports self-care. He is anti-vax and pro-breast. I will have to check out Jay Gordon, too.
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Old 09-19-2003, 02:31 PM
 
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I like Mendelsohn. Too bad he's dead. His "Male Practice" book was great. He really knows what he was talking about.

T
When he wrote that book, the c/s rate was 15% nationally, and he knew even that was way too high. Now, 15% is considered rather low for a hospital.
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:47 PM
 
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What else do you know about Dr. Mendelssohn? What are his d.o.b. and d.o.d.? What is male practice about?
When you said the c/s rate was 15% I thought you meant circumcision was 15%. I guess you meant c-section, right. If the circumcision rate was 15% he would have lived a LONG time ago!
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Old 09-19-2003, 04:58 PM
 
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Speaking of Sears, I am expecting #2 and had my first appt the other day. I got the usual 'bag of junk' from the office and one was a 'magazine' all about the benifits of vaxes. The entire thing was written by Sears. There was a huge picture of him and everything.

I was disappointed.

lisa

~lisa~mama to 3 boys (1/02, 5/04, 12/06)
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Old 09-19-2003, 05:39 PM
 
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I don't know how old Mendelsohn was when he died, but Male Practice was written in the late 70s, I think, and is subtitled "How Doctors Manipulate Women." It has several chapters on how basically everything we have been told is a lie! No, the Pill is not "safer than pregnancy," your home is the safest place to have a baby and is a lot cleaner than your hospital, c/s and the EFM take more lives than they save, and also goes on about episiotomy, hysterectomy, maternal weight gain (it's good to gain 60 lbs, don't listen to anyone who tells you it's bad!), x-rays, and doctors' attitudes toward women in general. He's more into the health and well-being of women and babies than many female doctors are! Oh yeah, and he's anti-circ.

When he was a pediatrician, he refused to take patients whose mothers would not breastfeed. Rather than trying to make a bonus on formula, like certain other doctors do.
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Old 09-19-2003, 06:15 PM
 
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Thanks for opening my eyes on Dr. Sears, Mamas. I thought he was a pretty stand up guy...that's just harder and harder to come by, huh?
I really appreciate the recommendations for Gordon and Mendelsohn. I'm off to the library...
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