Products That Prey On Moms’ Fears

Remember last week when I wrote about my concerns that my body stopped producing enough milk? And it was actually just a broken breast pump? I was alarmed by my speedy jump to distrust my own body and its biological processes.

This week, there has been quite the hubub online regarding a product that claimed to measure/test mothers’ breastmilk supply. I hesitate to even link to the product, because I don’t want to give the parent company any more traffic! ┬áBasically, this product’s target audience was mothers doubting their milk supply. In this country, that pretty much refers to every single nursing mother.

The product asked mothers to pump their milk over the course of a few hours and enter data into a website, where it would be statistically analyzed and moms would find out if they were producing enough milk.

The lactivist community responded with resounding horror at the existence of such a product. Petitions were signed. Facebook walls were inundated. How could a company do such a thing? The problems inherent in this product are many.

For one thing, how could such a very individualized process as lactation and nursing be quantified by multiple-choice and short-answer questions? Each time I’ve visited an IBCLC, the appointment has lasted at least an hour. There are no fast answers when it comes to breastfeeding.

For another, how could we ask mothers of newborn babies to begin pumping before establishing supply/demand and then gage anything of significance from her output? For another, how dare someone take advantage of the very most vulnerable time in a woman’s life–the first few weeks after delivery–for financial gain?

To this company’s credit, they responded to the onslaught of anger. They discontinued sale of the product and encouraged retailers to pull it from shelves.

But. I took a look at their other merchandise. They sell special underwear for mothers recovering from cesarean sections. That’s cool–I might have liked such a garment. But they also sell shaping garments, underthings designed to help new mothers slim down and tighten up. As if the most important thing on our new-mom minds is our appearance!. Here’s where I start to feel a mite creeped out.

This company says they are a small group, run by moms looking to support other moms.

I disagree that preying on mothers’ insecurities about their bodies–in any capacity–is supportive.

It’s no wonder mothers around the country doubt their ability to produce enough milk for their babies. Everywhere we turn, we’re inundated by the message that our bodies are not adequate. This is the worst kind of subterfuge. These products sneak in on us when we’re at the most risk. And man! If you can get a mom doubting her body when she’s just had a baby, you can get her to doubt all sorts of things… and then sell her solutions.

I speak from experience here. What I wouldn’t give to have more confidence in myself and my body when I was a new mom.

Hopefully, our readers have a network in place who makes them feel proud of their mothering, proud of their bodies. And just in case our readers are wondering about their lactation, you DO have access to informed support at no cost to you.

La Leche League International has in-person support meetings worldwide and a telephone hotline where a trained, experienced breastfeeder will answer any questions.

A Mother’s Boutique’s Facebook page is managed by Amy West, a certified lactation counselor.

The Best for Babes foundation maintains a list of web resources that are evidence-based and WHO-compliant

What products have you seen on the market that support new moms and celebrate our changing bodies? Leave us a comment to tell us about your favorite support sources!

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