I’d never heard of this before… 😮
Physicians and other health-care providers in the developing world were influenced by formula manufacturers to steer patients away from breastfeeding and toward a particular brand of synthetic infant nutrition. Age-old cultural norms of exclusive and extended breastfeeding were disrupted as huge advertising campaigns convinced women that commercial infant-formula was the „modern, sterile, western“ way to feed babies. New mothers were lured into giving birth in hospitals funded by infant formula manufacturers. There, these women were encouraged to offer bottles of artificial breast milk substitutes–a practice proven to disrupt breastfeeding.
Mothers and babies were then sent home with a small „free“ supply of infant formula. By the time the supply ran out, baby was refusing the breast, mother’s own milk supply was diminished, and the typical, impoverished family was unable to pay for any more infant formula. These practices, combined with an unsanitary water supply, lack of sterilization and refrigeration facilities, and poor access to medical care, conspired to kill millions of Third-World babies each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
That is why, in 1977, a world-wide boycott was launched against Nestle Corporation, determined to be the most egregiously unethical actor in this sad drama. Consumers all over the world stopped purchasing Nestle products, and WHO convened a meeting to discuss what could be done to influence corporations marketing breast milk substitutes in the Third World. At the time, the acting World Health Director stated, „In my opinion, the campaign against bottle-feed advertising is unbelievably more important than the fight against smoking advertisements.“