• OUR MISSION: We are dedicated to fostering
  • the physical and emotional health of mothers
  • and babies during the CRUCIAL FIRST YEARS OF LIFE.
Breastfeeding protects mothers and infants from serious illnesses and diseases. The International Code protects breastfeeding against unethical practices of the breastmilk substitute industry. Breastmilk substitute marketing targets mostly women, but also our societal values. If you believe that this industry's main priority is our babies' and public health, or the "promotion" of breastfeeding, think again! It is an industry that rakes in several billion dollars per year, and spends millions to lobby governments and promote itself to health professionals, often with false representation or incomplete, unfounded information. Unfortunately, these days, money talks, so governments, health care systems and yes, certain health professionals are "bought", often without really being conscious of it. Some studies conducted with health professionals have revealed that a high percentage of them obtain their breastfeeding and infant nutrition "knowledge" from formula company literature!

The impact of the marketing of infant feeding products reaches into our homes. New mothers are given free samples of formula, babies are given bottles in hospitals, coupons or food samples arrive in the mail, and booklets and videotapes are distributed on formula feeding and weaning, often in places where women receive pre- and post-natal care. All this, wrapped up in beautiful "gifts", such as diaper bags, bottle warmers, scholarship funds, etc. If the industry spend this much money on "gifts", be sure it is because they know they will profit from it: it is easy for a mother to switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding, but if she regrets her decision, her decision is irreversible, and formula companies know this. A bit of doubt or insecurity well seeded is all they need to secure a long-term clientele. Even prices are adjusted according to each region's breastfeeding rates! (the higher the rate, the lower the prices...) And what of the mothers who turn to formula feeding without ever really having been given all the facts?

The Code prohibits marketing of these products in these ways. It covers all products that can replace breastmilk in part or in whole, such as artificial baby milks, cereals, teas and juices, as well as bottles and teats.

It is time to make this industry respect the rules of ethics that were ratified by 118 nations, including Canada.

The Code has 10 important provisions:

I. It is forbidden to advertise breastmilk substitutes to the public.

II. It is forbidden to give free samples of breastmilk substitutes to mothers.

III. It is forbidden to promote breastmilk substitutes in health care facilities, including the distribution of free or low-cost supplies.

IV. It is forbidden for company sales representatives to advise mothers on their products or on infant feeding.

V. It is forbidden to offer gifts or personal samples to health workers (physicians, nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, breastfeeding counsellors, etc.).

VI. It is forbidden to use words or pictures idealising artificial feeding, or pictures of infants on labels of infant milk containers.

VII. Information on infant feeding provided to health workers should be scientific and factual.

VIII. All information on artificial infant feeding, including that on labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and risks associated with artificial feeding.

IX. Unsuitable products, such as sweetened condensed milk, should not be promoted for babies.

X. Manufacturers and distributors should comply with the Code's provisions even if countries have not adopted laws or other legislative measures concerning the marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

Full text: www.who.int/

More Info: https://www.breastfeedingcanada.ca/