Monthly Archives: December 2010

Formula Marketed to Moms–For Moms. Really???


This article was recently posted on  Birthing Beautiful Ideas:

[Recently] on Twitter, @heartsandhandss alerted me to a Similac product that has me wavering between disheartened disbelief and cynical outrage:


That’s right.  Formula for moms.

Or as the Similac Canada site specifically states, it’s a “nutritional beverage” designed “for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.”

Uh huh.  A formula for moms who may be planning to or who are already breastfeeding.

Not surprisingly, after glancing through the site’s information on Similac Mom, I’ve counted more than a few glaring problems with this (patently ridiculous) product.


A badge declaring that Similac Mom is “available in the infant aisle” (or, it suggests, “ask your pharmacist.”)

Riddle me this: why would a product targeted to pregnant women and breastfeeding moms be available in the infant aisle?

It couldn’t possibly be that the proximity of Similac Mom to formula canisters would lead pregnant women to associate their own “nutritional beverage” with Similac’s baby formula!

It certainly couldn’t be that each and every time a pregnant or breastfeeding mother went to pick up her Similac Mom, the Similac brand would become further entrenched in her mind, potentially leading her to think “Similac! Formula!” every time she went for her daily “nutritional beverage.”

And goodness me, it couldn’t be that this “nutritional beverage” for “breastfeeding moms” would thereby insert a well-known infant formula brand into the breastfeeding section of a grocery or pharmacy aisle!

Canadian moms: if you’ve seen Similac Mom in your grocery or pharmacy, is it located near the formula containers or near the breastfeeding products?  Or is it somewhere else entirely?


The product is described as “the first and only nutritional beverage for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.”

Formula-feeding moms are, it seems, not an important demographic for this particular product.  And why might that be?

It is true that pregnant and lactating women have different nutritional needs than women who aren’t pregnant or lactating.

But I think there’s another reason why Similac Mom isn’t targeted to formula-feeding moms: They’re already purchasing formula!

Similac Mom ensures that all women can be consumers of Similac-brand formulas–even the ones who aren’t buying it for their babies!  (And hey–Similac Mom might just “help” breastfeeding moms to choose Similac infant formula too!)


When combined with prenatal vitamins, Similac Mom could lead to potentially dangerous levels of Vitamin A.

Both pregnant and breastfeeding moms are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins in order to supplement their daily nutritional intake.  Typically, the daily dosage of these vitamins contains 5000 IU of Vitamin A.

But taking too much Vitamin A during pregnancy can lead to birth defects.

Similac Mom includes 1166 IU of Vitamin A.  When combined with a prenatal vitamin and food sources of Vitamin A–especially if one were to drink more than one serving of Similac Mom–this could lead to a potentially dangerous level of this vitamin.

(And this is why the site advises women to consult their doctors if they plan to drink more than one serving.  Yikes!)


The site describes Similac Mom as something women can drink “rather than skipping a meal” and as a “meal replacement.”

I can make this short and sweet: Don’t. View. Similac. Mom. As. A. Meal. Replacement.

Please.  Don’t.

A supplemental snack?  Sure.  But a meal?  No.

225 calories per serving does not a meal make for a pregnant or breastfeeding mom.  (And two Similac Moms is probably not an option for most women, especially if they are also taking a prenatal vitamin with the aforementioned dosage of Vitamin A.)

If you don’t have time to prepare quick meals or snacks as you need them, try and spend one or two mornings or evenings each week making turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread, or apple slices and peanut butter, or cheese and crackers, or bran muffins, or anything that you can store in the fridge during the week and then grab “on the go” when you need them.

If you forget to eat meals (and I never understood this until I had kids), try and store baskets of healthy snacks all around the house and/or on your desk at work.

If friends and/or family members have offered you help, ask them to bring you meals.  They don’t even have to be hot meals!  A basket filled with healthy snacks (that you can combine into a makeshift “meal”) for pregnant or breastfeeding moms is a wonderful treat!

Just make sure that none of those “meals” is Similac Mom.


As if this weren’t all bad enough, the second listed ingredient in Similac Mom is sugar.  And there’s no fiber in it to boot.

On behalf of pregnant and new mom’s bodies (and butts) everywhere, I say no thank you, Similac.



Filed under breastfeeding, From One Mother to Another, General Health, Mommy and Motherhood, prenatal health

Reflections on Advent

From a Facebook conversation I had with our priest this week…my reflections on the Advent Season:

The idea of treating Advent like an active waiting and preparing season makes me (of course!) liken it to the late stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy is one long waiting and preparing season. I think, too, of what it must have been like for Mary in those remaining days: full of excitement, trepidation, wonder…

In maternity care, we talk about the difference between “Expectant Management” of labor and “Active Management.” (Basically, it’s the difference between the more hands-off, gentle and expectant-presence approach midwives tend to take vs. active, interventive methods employed by most OBs.) When I think of the advent season, I can apply both of these ideas: waiting to celebrate Christ’s birthday, we ought to be expectant: watching, observing, contemplating, preparing. Is it fair to say this quiet, contemplative approach is better than the “active” approach of bustling around: shopping, wrapping gifts, stressing over holiday feast preparations and begrudged family obligations?

Another thought I had today is to contemplate what must have been going through Mary’s mind during the remaining month prior to Christ’s birth (the month which we now call “Advent.”) Can you imagine the anticipation of not only waiting to meet your child for the first time, but the Child King of the World? If only we could all approach the Advent Season with the same level of anticipation and wonder Mary likely felt.

Impatience is a common problem for women in the remaining weeks of pregnancy: physical exhaustion, poor sleep, stomach upset, joint aches and pains…these can all add to a woman’s excitement for pregnancy to be over. In terms of Christmas, these aches and pains are translated into those mentioned above: tired feet from long-winded shopping sprees, exasperated emotions over creating holiday plans, financial strain from too much gift buying, sleep disturbances due to the stress of trying to wrap up end-of-year work tasks and, again we see what ought to be a peaceful, contemplative time turned frazzled and pressured.

I don’t mean to entirely romanticize Mary’s journey, nor simplify the present-day Christmas season: Mary had to travel a great distance on a donkey’s back (or some other beast of burden; or on foot) while in the remaining days of pregnancy. Most women I know can hardly stand to ride in a car over a bumpy road during the last trimester of pregnancy. I can only imagine Mary’s exhaustion, paired with trepidation about the up-coming childbirth process–one that was extremely deadly for many women in that time period. Modern day women worry over how their babies will fair during the childbirth process; I can only imagine the burden Mary must have felt at the responsibility of bringing forth God’s Son into the world, safe and sound—and amidst significant travel and poor sleeping accommodations. And, yet, what a wonderful burden. What an honor: the chosen one to bring Emanuel into the world for the benefit of all humankind.

Perhaps the penitent part of Advent is our burden: preparing ourselves through complex thought and challenging core honesty, for the transformation that Advent has the ability to bring about in each one of us. Childbirth, too, has the power to bring about immense change in a woman’ life, psyche and self knowledge (not to mention the loving support person(s) present during the birth). As we prepare to celebrate the birth of The King, can we also celebrate our own birth (transformation) into Christianity…made possible by Emanuel, the Christ child, God Is With Us?

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Filed under From One Mother to Another, holidays

A Cordial Invitation: Join Me Over at Science & Sensibility

In case you’ve wondered where I have wandered off to recently, let me cordially invite you to Lamaze International’s Science & Sensibility  research blog site–which I am now managing.  I am thrilled, humbled and excited to be steering my writing and childbirth education work toward an actively (and internationally) accessed social media site where I gain the honored opportunity to interact with brilliant writers, researchers, maternity care clinicians and professionals and normal birth advocates.  Please drop on by, sign up for an RSS feed from Science & Sensibility and, most importantly, join the conversation!  (And invite your friends and colleagues to do the same!)

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Filed under Childbirth Issues, natural childbirth, pregnancy, prenatal health, Writing and Publishing