Thursday, September 3, 2009

Enfamil: Meeting Parent Demand or Enabling Abuse?

If you are a mom who likes to keep up on hot topics you have probably seen this new product by Enfamil, one of the world's leading formula companies:

New Enfamil® RestFull™

Specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better.

Give your baby a RestFull Night.

Your baby needs a proper amount of sleep to keep her healthy and happy. That's why we created new Enfamil RestFull, the formula specially designed to naturally encourage a good night's sleep.

•A natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied.

•Thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly.

Wait wait wait wait...NATURAL?  Nothing about any brand of formula is natural.  So let's see what they are really selling, shall we?  While it doesn't advertise it's ingredients after some research I found it is formula with rice starch added.  Babies' tummies aren't designed to digest non-human milk.  I can go on about how your baby will most likely have some distress from this constipating combination or about how it's not optimal nutrition, but this isn't really my main focus here.

Whether you formula or breastfeed you should be appalled at this.  Babies need night time parenting.  They wake frequently because it's one of their natural defenses against SIDS and they need help adjusting to the world.  Infant-mother/father bonding isn't important just during daytime hours, but at night as well.  Babies shouldn't be expected to sleep through the night just because they have gloppy formula sitting in their tummies.  It's not just ridiculous, it's dangerous.

But let's take it a step further...what really brought on this demand for a substance that promises us easier babies?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the average American mother. 

This mom watches tv and so she has an idea in her head about what her house should look like, even though she is watching a set and not an actual home she sees the shiny new appliances, the granite countertops and the hardwood floors all sparkling clean with a baby crawling across the floor in a diaper and she looks at her house and thinks "My house is a pigsty!  I need to have a nicer, cleaner home."  So she does more housework and thinks about upgrading her kitchen, which will cost more money.

The average American mother is expected to go back to work when her baby is no more than 8 weeks old.  At this point she still isn't getting good sleep and she has barely healed from her birth.  But she tearfully takes her baby to childcare and leaves him or her for 8-10 hours a day so she can bring home the bacon.

Most average American moms are born into a generation where their moms worked while they grew up and the new grandmas are still working so the average American mom has no support from her mom during this time.

The average American mom still does the majority of the shopping, cooking, cleaning.  That's not to say that the average American dad isn't involved, most are more involved than their fathers were.  But overall it seems that most moms run the house, contribute financially and do the majority of childcare.  With a brand new baby, hormonal shifts, and possibly other children to care for she is easily plagued with feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and even depression.  She compares herself to other moms and wonders how they do it.  She resents people who have the support she needs or whose babies sleep through the night.

Night time comes and she is exhausted but her baby hasn't seen her all day and he or she has plans to nurse all night long to make up for the bonding time they missed during the day.  So with about four hours of sleep total under her belt the new mom finds that 6:30am is here way before she is ready. 

So instead of the average American woman demanding that less be demanded of her, she demands that her baby be less demanding.  Enfamil answers the call with the promise of more sleep and the baby is left with glue in his or her tummy so that mom can get some sleep before she goes on a maniacal rampage from sleep deprivation and her husband runs for the hills.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that new moms need mothered, too?  Products like this wouldn't hit the shelves if America just figured this out.  Other cultures pamper their new mommies and some government programs even offer a free baby nurse while their mommies recover.  In other countries working moms are given a year of paid leave from work.  It is awful to see how moms are treated in this country.  If you don't believe me try dealing with a boss who acts like you having a baby is a personal attack on them or who refuse to make finding a place to use a breastpump easy, even though they are required to by law.  Try asking for longer than 6-8 weeks off of work.  I can't tell you how many moms I know have been laid off while on maternity leave or FMLA.

Our babies deserve better than this formula, but our moms also deserve better treatment.  They are raising our future presidents, CEOs, doctors, politicians, clergy, and other important leaders who will control our world when we are no longer able to.  How we treat our moms will reflect how they treat their children.   How we treat our children will reflect on our future.  It's as simple as that.

That being said, I hope this product is pulled of the shelves immediately.