Feeding infants and toddlers: Is industry marketing undermining health?

What children eat in their first years lays the foundation for good health later in life. Breastfeeding in particular is important not only for children's health but also for the health of their mothers. But many women — especially low-income women and women of color — are unable to meet their breastfeeding goals, in part because they are bombarded by marketing for infant formula that may hinder their best efforts.

To that end, BMSG and the California WIC Association partnered to conduct and share research that advocates, practitioners, legislators, and others need to better understand infant formula marketing and what to do about it.

With support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and in conjunction with public health attorney Cara Wilking, we conducted legal research to discern the regulatory framework for direct-to-consumer infant formula marketing and identify potential legal strategies to challenge those tactics. BMSG also conducted a content analysis in which we explored the claims that major formula marketers make on social media. We shared our findings and recommendations with a select group of advocates, practitioners, and researchers working to promote breastfeeding, address the marketing of infant and toddler foods, and protect the health of mothers and children.

Related publications

Mother and child promotion: A preliminary analysis of social media marketing of infant formula

Preliminary review of consumer protection and self-regulation of infant formula marketing

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