Today I went shopping for maternity clothing…a painful experience, at best, and one I thankfully mostly avoid by reusing from the previous pregnancies and buying online. This time, though, I needed a new pair of jeans.
Of course, the affordable clothes are ugly and made of cheap material, that goes without saying. And, for some reason, you either have to be an XS or an XL to buy maternity clothing. And the medium size jeans are so long…I guess if you are a size 8 you are supposed to be 5’8″.
Now, a warning, this is a breastfeeding-related rant. That’s pretty much what I use this spot for at this point–talking about breastfeeding and blogging–since I have other sites for talking about volunteering, parenting products, education, and military family issues.
I want to make clear that isn’t about the existence of formula or about moms who formula feed. It is only about the marketing of formula.
Back to the story. I’m checking out and they ask my address. I was immediately wary but they reminded me it was for something out of stock I asked to have shipped. I explained that I didn’t want any additional mailings or coupons.
Then, they asked me my due date. I tell them that I’d rather not share that information. They pressed the issue, just a month, an approximate. I asked why they needed that. “For coupons!” they responded.
But I just said I don’t want any coupons.
I told them that I don’t think it is the business of any company when my baby is due and that I don’t need formula coupons or samples–I always end up trying to figure out where to donate things and then when I don’t figure it out before the samples expire, I feel guilty.
“But they’ll send you diapers! Why wouldn’t you want it? There are $400 worth of coupons in there! You can save $400!”
At this point I was tempted to tell them I cloth diaper but I don’t lie, even if it could be fun sometimes. So, I just responded that I use the chlorine-free types and they aren’t sending $400 worth of diaper discounts and freebies anyway.
“No it is for stuff like…” at this point she indicates a poster that has Enfamil or Similac on there, can’t remember which one.
But that’s exactly what I don’t want! Every time I am pregnant, I get a bunch of coupons and it is all landfill and waste. I swear you get a mailing the day after you find out you’re pregnant. How do they know? It is freaky.
“Your doctor probably signs you up anyway.”
I told them I don’t go to a doctor.
By this point, they clearly think I’m a freak.
And this is what bothers me about the marketing in this country. Lives may not be at risk they way they are in other countries but it is so pervasive and invasive and persistent that anyone who wants to opt out of the formula marketing is pestered until they feel like they are weird…weird for feeding their babies the way mothers have fed their babies since the dawn of humanity.
I’m a third time mom so I just merely feel annoyed–but I suspect the effect is more insidious for all the first time moms.
I run a small business and people have to double-opt-in before I contact them yet giant formula companies are able to grab my name and address without my permission and send me junkmail just because I went shopping for some clothes.
Of course, if you opted-in, that means you are already considering or have decided on formula feeding. They’re not interested in you, especially once you’ve decided on your brand. They’ll reach you through your pediatrician or wherever else you go for “unbiased” advice about feeding your baby.
The formula companies are interested in the moms who want to breastfeed because that’s where there is the biggest potential for the growth of their market share.