Many breastfeeding moms enjoy writing blogs, which usually do end up including breastfeeding related information at some point, even if their blog is not solely about breastfeeding. For instance, my blog is about my family life and parenting topics, but I also do an occasional breastfeeding post, as well.
Today, while browsing my blog and updating some items in my sidebar, I noticed a new ad appearing below one of my latest breastfeeding posts. The ad was for Enfamil, which is a brand of formula. I do have Google Adsense implemented on my blog. Really, I don't make much money through Google Adsense, but it does cost money to run this blog and it does take quite a bit of time and effort, so I do have it implemented to help monetize my blog.
What troubled me was that I fully support a woman's right to choose breastfeeding or formula, but I also believe in sharing information, knowledge, and tips regarding breastfeeding. I have found that numerous women would have breastfed longer, if only they had been given the correct information and advice. Many women have misconceptions about breastfeeding, such as their breasts are too small, etc. Other women start out breastfeeding, but they are sent home with formula samples and come home with a newborn that seems to nurse around the clock. Well meaning, but misinformed family members, friends, and even pediatricians may urge the new mama to just start topping off feeds with a little bit of formula, because it won't hurt and it will help the baby sleep better. I could go in to a long explanation of why giving just a little formula is usually the incorrect choice, in most cases. However, to keep it short, I will just say that it is normal for newborn babies to nurse very often, breast milk is easily digestible, formula destroys the virgin gut, and usually no formula is ever necessary.
Back to the point, I am trying to help share information about breastfeeding, but it feels like my efforts are a bit swayed when formula ads appear right next to my post about breastfeeding. It seems to make me hypocritical, as it seems like I endorse using formula when I have formula ads appearing on my blog.
I am not against formula, I do want to make that point clear. I did have a difficult time breastfeeding two of my children and one was given supplements with formula and another was fully formula fed by the age of six months. There are many reasons why those situations occurred, but they did occur and I was thankful to have formula there to use. I do think there are some situations when formula is necessary or the best choice, but in most cases, exclusive breastfeeding is the best choice for both the baby and the mom.
Regardless, I don't think formula should be promoted as much as it is or touted to be just as good as breast milk. Formula cannot compare to breast milk, even with everything they add into it to try and make it mimic a mother's milk. Some research even suggests that women who had seen formula ads were more likely to start using formula and stop breastfeeding.
Formula should be there as a back up for situations when it is not ideal for the mother or baby to breastfeed, but it does not need to be promoted to make it seem as though it is the best or ideal way to feed a baby. Formula manufacturers even specifically target breastfeeding keywords to use for where their ads are placed, and they also use deceptive ads that are worded to sound like they are about breastfeeding, but take you to a page that is promoting formula.
I do not want it to seem like I am promoting formula at the same time I am trying to promote awareness about breastfeeding, so I decided to do a search today to see how I could block these ads from appearing on my blog. I found Lauren Wayne's writing blog. She is also the author of Hobo Mama. She offers an excellent explanation on how to block formula ads from appearing on your blog from Google Adsense. Her list includes all sites that are not WHO compliant, which may or may not be something you agree with. If you choose to block all companies that are not WHO compliant or who are affiliated with formula, you can simply copy and paste the full list of URL's she shares. You can also be selective and choose to block only the ones you think you want to stop from appearing on your blog.
Do you write a blog? Do you choose to block certain advertisements from appearing on your blog if you use Google Adsense?
What do you think about formula ads? Do you agree with the research that states more ads may mean less breastfeeding? Do you think formula ads are OK or should they be eliminated?