BMJ Breastfeeding

When you are breast feeding you get a little bit crazy, it’s the oxytocin rush and the subsequent addiction and the intense physical contact and the mad love you feel for these tiny people that you have made and are somehow growing bigger with milk from your breasts. It seems a miracle and it is, a wonderful lovely miracle. I slumped into a sort of depression when I gave up breast feeding on my return to work and missed the little hand resting on my breast and the sound of their greedy, snuffling, gulps. Anyway, you get the idea, I am pro-breast feeding. It is also the lazy woman’s first choice; I could never have been bothered with all that sterilising and faffing about, breast is best for everyone.

My Friday ritual is to read the BMJ whilst making dinner, TV being absolutely crap and not wanting to get grubby cooking smears on my iPad, I have found this habit an easy one to adopt. So just now, whilst making the family tea I came across an advert at the back of the BMA News (a supplement that comes each week with the BMJ). It is full of doctors moans and gripes, a trade union weekly round up of issues and news and it is read by most doctors.The back page features this advert, featuring the loveable Harry here.

20140502-204349.jpgIt is an advert for formula milk, albeit a lactose intolerant form, as poor little Harry has a cow’s milk allergy.

Here is the BMJ’s policy on formula feeding advertising:

(iv) Baby milks

All advertisements are to be submitted for editorial approval and have to comply with FMF Code of Practice for the Marketing of Infant Formulae in the UK, which states that “Information provided by manufacturers and distributors to health workers regarding infant formulae should be restricted to scientific and factual matters and such information should not imply or create a belief that bottle-feeding is equivalent or superior to breast feeding.” Such information “should accurately reflect current knowledge and responsible opinion.” All claims must be referenced to full length research papers published in peer reviewed scientific journals. (Abstracts won’t do.)

Because advertising is tightly regulated and because readers know it is different from editorial material, BMJ Group has a liberal policy on advertising. The group’s publications will carry virtually all advertisements that are “legal and decent.”

I disagree with this, they should not be advertising formula. I know they have to make money, I know the makers of formula milk have to advertise but they should not be doing it in the BMJ.

A liberal policy indeed, they don’t seem so liberal about bossing people about smoking, obesity, exercise and global fucking warming; just 4 weeks ago they were telling us that every doctor has a moral obligation to counteract global warming and we must do something as a profession. Sorry BMJ, I think you should reconsider your liberal policy on advertising, if we have a responsibility as a profession to address all the many, many issues you rally us to support, then the journal and the trade union weekly should walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

 

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