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Formula Companies and the Medical Profession

H. WILLIAM FINK, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(10):1088-1089. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160100020010.
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Sir.—I enjoyed reading the article by Greer and Apple1 detailing the historical development of formulas and the previous adverse effect of advertising on the laity. However, I must take issue with the statement "direct public advertising... will once again remove the realm of infant feeding from the supervision of the physician and will likely have a negative impact on the incidence and duration of breastfeeding." This opinion (and it is strictly an opinion with no factual basis) has been expressed elsewhere. It implies that the pediatrician cannot effectively influence mothers and advise and guide them as to the advantages of breastfeeding.

In my experience, mothers either do not breastfeed initially or discontinue nursing early not because of free formula coupons but because they plan to return to full-time work. Continuation of adequate nursing then poses a real problem. Formula advertising may make it easier for mothers to

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