Guest post by: Courtney Cooke lives in Boise, Idaho with her three strong willed daughters, infant son and highly supportive husband. Courtney blogs at The Exponent Blog as CorkTree. She is passionate about science and natural health practices and hopes to merge those with her feminist vision by going into practice as a midwife when her children are all in school.
Women in impoverished countries have little that provides them autonomy or allows them the ability to care for their family and children outside the influence of men. Many of them do not have choices in birth control and whether or not to breastfeed their children. So it would seem benevolent of a company to come in and provide them the means to give their infants nourishment outside themselves. Formula can be a blessing, when made and used properly and for the right reasons. But what if that company took advantage of these women? What if it paid other needy, untrained women to dress up as health care workers and pass out free samples of sub par formula? And what if they gave only enough free formula so that the milk of the nursing mothers dried up and they were forced to purchase more formula, but had to mix it with unclean water and dilute it to make it last longer? And what if many of the children that fall victim to this malicious scam were actually dying while their mothers stood by helpless and dry, all because they were no longer able to breastfeed as nature intended, and were unable to see how they were being exploited? Would you be outraged at such a company?
This is what was happening prior to 1977, when the world launched a boycott against Nestle for these unethical and immoral practices. After a brief hiatus, the boycott has been continued to this day because of continued aggressive marketing campaigns and violations of the WHO code that protects women and children. It is estimated that 13% of the deaths of children under age five around the world could be prevented by increased breastfeeding. That’s 1.4 million children that would otherwise die due to the interruption of the natural nursing relationship.
Support is still needed to send Nestle the message that we as women of the world will not stand for our sisters and their children to be undermined and threatened in this way. Regardless of how we may feel about breastfeeding in our own lives, it is not empowering to women in third world countries to have a bottle put between them and their babies. Promoting artificial feeding where no reason exists for its implementation is damaging to all and causes needless suffering and death. Nestle is one of the largest producers of baby food and formula as well as a variety of other products. Please do not support them with your money. And this Halloween, choose your candy wisely.
For more information and to register your support, please visit; http://info.babymilkaction.org/nestlefree . A list of all products and brands from Nestle can be found at; http://www.nestle.com/Brands/BrandHome.htm , and for an independent listing of all products associated with the Nestle label, visit; http://crunchydomesticgoddess.com/2009/10/07/the-updated-nestle-product-boycott-list/