Saturday, October 30, 2010

Civil Disobedience Through Boycott: A Review of Nestle's Unethical Marketing of Infant Formula

This is my first essay for my English Composition class this year. We were asked to write a short essay on civil disobedience, so naturally my first choice went to the Nestle boycott.

We weren't asked for any sources or anything; it's just a very basic essay assignment. I'm hoping in the future that I'll be able to provide a better, more thorough look at the boycott, but for now, here is simply one perspective on it.


Did you know that in some areas of the world, the difference between formula feeding and breastfeeding your baby can literally be the difference between life and death and that there is a company who is gaining financially from that difference? This is just one of many examples of why I am taking part in boycotting Nestle, the company holding as much as 40% of infant formula sales worldwide.

I want to take you on a trip for a moment. Think with me now: you are approached by a man who has a product that he says could make your life so much easier and he wants to give you a small supply of it for free. With this product you are going to be able to save yourself a great amount of time and effort and others are going to be able to benefit as well. The offer sounds pretty good doesn't it? Let's say you take the offer and you start using the product. It's a pretty nice product, so it seems. After a week or two of using the product, you're hooked and you go back and ask for more. But now the man wants you to pay for the product and guess what? It's not cheap. But since you're now hooked on this product, you are forced to pay the price to continue using it. You're stuck.

This scenario probably sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? You, like me, might let your first thoughts drift toward the drug trade. You'd be wrong. The product I'm talking about is baby formula. This practice is fairly standard: you give birth to a baby and you are given a bag at the hospital with a complimentary can of formula tucked neatly inside along with a few coupons for additional free cans of formula. You go home and use the formula as well as the coupons and by the time you're out of free product, your breast milk has dried up or your baby has no interest in learning to suckle when it's so much easier to drink from a bottle and you are now forced to use formula. You are also now forced to pay the hefty price that comes along with using formula.

In more developed countries, like the US or the countries in Europe, this practice, while not necessarily ethically sound, poses little danger, especially as most developed countries have adopted and signed onto the World Health Organization (WHO)'s International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes which places certain standards and protocol which must be adhered to when marketing infant formula. However, in more underdeveloped countries, especially those that have not adopted or do not strictly enforce this code, this tactic does present a considerable risk. You see, in these underdeveloped countries, the difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding and infant can literally be the difference between life and death for many reasons.

The first reason is that there is little, if any, access to clean water or sanitary feeding conditions required when using infant formula. Another of many reasons is that most parents in these areas of the world are not educated enough to properly read or understand the directions to preparing infant formula and thus use disproportionate amounts of formula to water, thereby affecting the amount of nutrition received. One more reason to address is the cost of formula versus that of breast milk. Some formula companies charge as much as $24 USD for one 25.07 ounce can of their product. Very few of the people populating these underdeveloped countries can afford the price of formula and will begin to ration the amount of formula given in each serving, sometimes diluting the product to only half the amount supposed to be given, thus reducing the nutritional value drastically.

As Nestle is the leading distributor of infant formula worldwide, holding a whopping 40% of the market, it is important to make an example of this company in hopes that other formula companies will follow suit when Nestle changes their business practices. I encourage everyone to help take part in this boycott by learning the list of products that Nestle makes and choosing to avoid them until Nestle changes their ways.


If you are interested in learning more about the boycott, I highly suggest checking out PhD in Parenting. She provides a fairly thorough look at the boycott and also gives a lot of sources for more information.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who's Got a Penny???

I've been browsing funny YouTube videos a lot lately, and although I keep finding really great stuff, I keep coming back to this:

...Just thought I'd share. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tiny Dancer

Kairi loves dance parties. We have them every so often around here and a lot of times they involve funny YouTube songs. Here are a couple good examples.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Facebook Breast Cancer/Breastfeeding Status Game

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there have been a lot of Facebook status games to try to help raise awareness. Last year it was posting what color your bra was in your status and not giving any explanation. This year the big one circulating asks where you keep your purse.

Here are my problems with that:

  • My purse has nothing to do with breast cancer, or even breasts. So how on earth is this going to raise awareness?
  • This game is trying to gain awareness of the early detection of breast cancer. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for that! But I think it's also really important to stress prevention! 
That being the case, some of my friends have come up with a new game, this one focusing on how breastfeeding reduces our risks of getting breast cancer.

Below is the email that we are trying to circulate. I would love it if you'd copy/paste this into an email and send it to all of your friends!

Did you know that October 1st marked day one of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Last year women posted the color of their bra which made headlines & was a mysterious yet successful way to raise awareness. This year I'd like to suggest that we promote breastfeeding in addition to raising awareness on breast cancer. Did you know that breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast cancer by 4.3 percent for every year you breastfeed and if you breastfeed your daughter then she will have a reduced risk of getting breast cancer too. It's a win, win situation. So, let us celebrate breastfeeding awareness with posting in your status how much you reduced the risk or by sharing one point from below to help encourage other mothers to breastfeed their babies.

"It's cheaper"
"It's healthier"
"It helps prevent obesity"
"It helps you get a better night's sleep"
"It is more convenient"
"It's on tap"
"It's natural"
"It helps you lose weight"
"It helps prevent breast cancer"
"It helps you bond"

Remember that it's better to PREVENT an illness, especially cancer, than it is to try to "cure" it. I hope you'll take a moment and participate in this Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Pictorial Update

A lot has been going on around here lately. The times I'm not busy with school is pretty much taken up by the kids.
Gracie is doing well in school. She's making friends as well as learning to deal with those who aren't worth her time. (I say this in a non-snobby way, I promise.) There are a couple kids in her class that she just doesn't get along with, so we're working on what to do and what to say if a conflict arises. So far, she seems to be handling herself pretty well.
I had mixed feelings when I heard that she was the only girl playing in a group of 5 boys though... They were playing Mario (as in Super Mario) and she was Princess Toadstool. On one hand, I'm very happy that she seems to be well liked, but on the other I can't help but think bad things about the boys intentions. I realize that these kids are 5 and 6 years old though, so I highly doubt their intentions are anything but pure.

Kairi is getting big, as typically happens when babies become toddlers. She's really starting to spit words out -- something my mother was worried she was behind on. (She's not.) Her newest phrases are:

"Take a bath?"
"Here ya go!"
"I'm okay!"

It's been a lot of fun realizing that her little rambles and babbles are turning into phrases... They're still in their early forms. Much like a sculptor molds his clay, Kairi's words and phrases are still really soft and not fully defined, but are beginning to take a recognizable shape.

As for me, I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I got new glasses! (Kairi and I worked together on breaking the old pair.) So far, I love them. I'm hoping these ones will last as long as the old ones did (almost 10 years!) because I think they're really cute. :)

I also got contacts and dyed/highlighted my hair. It's amazing how such a little thing can do so much for a person's self-esteem. I'm not typically one to care about my looks, but it feels good to know you look your best and as down in the dumps as I was at the beginning of last month, it was incredibly an incredibly healing pick-me-up.

Over the last month, we've gone a couple times to Tulsa to see the allergist for Kairi. I'm not sure if I posted about it, but a few months ago she broke out in a severe case of full body hives that got me a little paranoid about food allergies. We don't have a local allergist that will see kids as young as Kairi, so we got a referral and made our way to the Allergy Clinic. It was nice though, since we got to spend time each visit with my mom. The drive there is gorgeous and always lifts my spirits.

The pictures I tried to take of the rolling tree-covered hills didn't come out very well, but here's one part of the road that I really like.

And finally, one last pic to leave you all with. While washing the car and playing in the water, this somehow happened. So, I extend this heart to you, my friends and family. I will try to post more often, but until the next time, know I love you all.