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I wonder who earned their Christmas bonus for coining the term “Breastapo”?

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 am, September 4th, 2012 - 25 comments
Categories: babies, health - Tags: ,

There’s been a flurry of articles recently about the extreme or bullying lengths some health professionals are apparently going to in order to make parents breastfeed rather than formula feed.

I am absolutely sure that some people are dickheads about this – every “health” cause has its unwavering zealots who refuse to understand that not everyone can be crowbarred into their worldview.

But as someone noted on Twitter some days ago, whenever an issue like breast vs formula suddenly becomes THE HUGE ISSUE OF THE DAY you may find yourself wondering where these stories are suddenly coming from. And what clever person at which PR firm coined the term “Breastapo“.

It’s definitely not okay for anyone to feel bullied – and especially triply not okay for infants to go hungry – over this issue.

But it’s definitely interesting how not a single story on the matter has even hinted at why we have placed emphasis and resource into encouraging breastfeeding.

Not a single story has covered the fairly shitty history of the formula industry. None have mentioned the ongoing Nestle boycott, for example. None have so much as said, “These policies have come out of the fact that a lot of people who could breastfeed their babies were pressured not to, even to the extent of formula companies giving them free samples which leave them dependent on formula once their milk dries up.”

We do have words for people who get you hooked with free samples of their product, after all.

But no. Every story, every reporter, has just acted like out of nowhere, the Ministry of Health and nurses and midwives all got together one dark Sabbat night and said “let’s shit on new parents! Let’s make their lives harder! Fuck yeah, they’ll do what’s good for them and they’ll like it!”

Like I’ve said, I have absolutely no doubt that there are bullies and zealots and people who are fucked-up enough to harass new parents.

All I want to know is why this just now became the big issue. And why none of our so-called “journalists” seem to have asked any actual questions about it, or put it in any kind of context, or given their readers and viewers any kind of background.

Besides the obvious “because they just copypasted a PR release from a formula company”.*

Meanwhile, the formula industry’s stellar ethics are on display (not that anyone held a gun to our PM’s head and made him sign a can of formula and pose with it for the cameras).

More reading at Hoyden About Town: Nestle moves from obfuscation to outright lies; Gone too far? and all posts on infant formula. I thank the Hoydens for my own knowledge of the Nestle boycott, etc.


*After all, that privilege only gets extended to Bendon.

And there’s more QoT goodness at her blog, Ideologically Impure

25 comments on “I wonder who earned their Christmas bonus for coining the term “Breastapo”? ”

  1. quartz 1

    A much more thoughtful contribution to the debate than Trevor Mallard’s http://beefaerie.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/just-stop-already-with-the-puerile-behaviour-please/

    Surely it’s time that man retired?

  2. tracey 2

    I have no doubt there are some breastfeeding zealots but really how many of or people we know have ever actually been bullied by these zealots. I dont know why tge beat up, or is there big money in nz in vaby formula.

  3. Bill 3

    I’d thought Key was posing with simple milk powder, not baby formula.

    Bad as that was or seemed to be, promoting formula is beyond the pale. Way I view it is that if water quality is okay and a mother prefers to bottle feed, then hey. But if water quality is dubious and marketing pressure is brought to bear then….well, shame there isn’t the possibility of laying ‘manslaughter’ charges against the companies that promote formula…at the very least.

    As an aside. Anyone remember grinning Bolger opening the Nestle plant somewhere in NZ back in the mid-nineties? I remember beng astounded that the PM of any country would associate themselves with the company. But then, that was before I reaslised that the awareness of Nestle in these parts amounted to not a lot of much at all.

    And now with Fontera being the world’s largest dairy company or whatever, then I wonder how much formula they produce, how heavily sales are backed by aggressive marketing and how many dead babies result from the actions of this ‘pride’ of NZ manufacturing.

  4. Bill 4

    And in the interests of answering my own question, a quick search of Fonterra’s website throws up this

    – We are a key supplier of nutritional bases to the world’s five largest infant formula companies. Around 10% of our NZ farmers’ milk goes into paediatric nutrition products (such as infant formula) – in fact, we make almost as much of these added-value products as all our competitors combined make in terms of total product (most of which is in basic commodities).

    Alongside this link to a pdf doc “How we are taking your milk to the world” ….China, India,Latin America, the M iddle E ast and North Africa are where the biggest demand is forecast.Nutritional needs, particularly among mums and their babies and the elderly are also getting more urgent and specific. According to the United Nations, about 140 million babies will be born over the next year. About 90% of today’s 1.2 billion young people are living in developing countries, with 8 in 10 living in Africa or Asia.

    That’s a lot of dead kids.

  5. Carol 5

    I have not been following this story very closely (though have been irritated a t the “breastapo” word).

    Apart from the central issues in the story around promos of baby formula, it’s a very interesting mini-exposé of the inadequacies of our MSM news and journalists – unquestioning copying of press releases & PR lines.

  6. Roy 6

    “why none of our so-called “journalists” seem to have asked any actual questions about it, or put it in any kind of context, or given their readers and viewers any kind of background”

    That would be because very few of our journalists are any good at journalism.

    • jcuknz 6.1

      Is that because the experienced journos are now in the PR business and have been replaced by trainees?

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Bloggers and commenters get promptly criticised for inappropriate/inaccurate references to Hitler, fascism, nazism so who indeed is it getting away with “breastapo”? A few possibly overkeen breast feeding advocates do not warrant such an offensive term being applied to them. It seems a wider smear though, there is large money in formula with all sorts of global corporate, labour relations and nutrition issues. http://cms.iuf.org

    We can only speculate but it sounds suspiciously like one of Kiwiblog lot or even Ansell, some readers may know the tiresome phrases “feminazi”, “Liarbore”, “PC gone mad”, “Iwi/Kiwi” etc.

  8. fnjckg 8

    “T” i thought it may be for ‘tarts’ (carroll) but thorns is excellent

    We boycott Nestle and most large food conglomerates; plenty of kai out the back door

    there is some plunket karitane messed up in this matter too we believe (historic)

  9. Eleanor 9

    Very well put. The term Breastapo is designed to offend, alienate and divide and turns a non-story – hospitals doing their job – into a story. But who does it benefit? Certainly not mothers regardless of their feeding method. I think you nailed it.

  10. captain hook 10

    whoever dun it seems to have made a bit of a tit of themselves.

  11. Morrissey 11

    Dreamed up by some P.R. boob, no doubt.

    Michelle Boag or Deborah Pead?

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