Strong Moms Empowered

Similac (a company that makes formula) has come out with a new advertising campaign. It is called “Strong Moms Empower”, and is a call to remove the stigma and judgement associated with formula feeding. This is how the company describes it:

It’s time for moms to feel good about the decisions they make for their children and their families. The StrongMoms Empower campaign, brought to you by Similac, is a call-to-action to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment, online and off.

You can go online, “sign” a pledge, and then add a badge to your blog or website to show your solidarity with the cause. There is also a discussion on twitter under the hashtag #strongmomsempower.

I have so many mixed feelings about this campaign. Regular readers of my blog know that I am a strong advocate for infant feeding choice. I actively fight to dispel the misconceptions that surround formula feeding. Any support that I can get in spreading that message is more than welcome.

I’m concerned that it’s a formula company who is initiating this message. I’d like to think that they are doing this out of an altruistic concern for our mental health, but I suspect that it has more to do with the bottom line. Formula feeding moms already take so much crap for being “in the back pocket of the formula companies”. It’s commonly assumed that our decision to formula feed is influenced (or solely decided) by advertising. It takes away from the power and autonomy that we used to make our decisions. I know that this campaign will be wielded as a weapon by those who choose to condemn us for our choice. I’m also worried that the validity of the message will be challenged due to where it originated. There will be those who ignore it altogether; the thinking being that because it came from a formula manufacturer, it must be wrong.

Strong Moms EmpowerOn the other hand, I do use formula (not Similac, but another national brand). Why not have the industry that I have entrusted to provide my baby with nutrition stand up for me and my rights? Regardless of their motivation, the message is an important one. Although formula companies have a shady past when it comes to their marketing practices, I don’t think that they are all inherently evil.

I’ve written posts about the massive amounts of judgement that moms receive in regards to every parenting choice they make. It’s ridiculous. We all complain about it, but we do it to each other. The day that I wrote my post about being nice to each other, I took a personal pledge to support other moms more and judge less. I encouraged others to share my post and to take some time to say something nice to a mom every day. I think that Similac has the same idea, just on a much larger scale.

Do I think that this campaign will make a difference? I don’t know if it will make anyone judge less, but perhaps it will make moms who have been judged feel more validated in their choices. Regardless of where the message is coming from, that will be a good thing. And, like it or hate it, this marketing initiative has people talking. It is a concept that resonates deeply with parents. Do I like it that Similac is exploiting that for financial gain? Maybe this is a case where the ends do justify the means. So, for now, I will display the badge on my blog in solidarity. I will align myself not with a corporation, but with the idea of a judgement-free parenting community where everyone can feel accepted.

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4 thoughts on “Strong Moms Empowered

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: What's Wrong With a Campaign To End Mom Bullying? - School of Smock

  2. I enjoyed your take on the Strong Moms Campaign. I think you make a lot of good points about Similac’s conflict of interest. I am curious to see how the campaign evolves to support not just formula feeding moms, but also breastfeeding moms. As of yet, I have never seen a blog by a formula feeder by choice who wrestles with how to support her breastfeeding friend who want to breastfeed but is struggling. It is easier to just share personal experience, acknowledge the difficulties some people have with breastfeeding, encourage her not to feel guilty and share the merits of formula feeding. It can be much harder to try to share the feelings the moms is having, to honor HER belief in breastfeeding, to put aside personal experience and to offer the pros of both the familiar (formula) and the unfamiliar (breastfeeding). It may be tough, but a good friendship is worth the effort. It’s what a strong mom can do.

    • That’s very true. A lot of the focus of my blog currently is on formula feeding, because that’s the eventual choice that I made. When I was breast feeding, I definitely could have used more support than I got. When my breast feeding friends are struggling I can empathize, and I know that just because I formula feed my baby, it’s not the right choice for every mom.

      I think that all moms need and deserve support about every decision that they make, not just how they feed their babies but also the thousands of other decisions that we have to make for our children. I think that is the spirit of the Strong Moms Campaign and I hope that it makes a difference in helping moms feel less judged and alone.

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

  3. Hi there,

    Thank you for writing about similac! We always like reading what our customers are saying and how they are feeling, as we truly value your feedback.

    I wanted to let you know about out some of our offers including free gifts, and information. Just visit https://similac.com/registration signup for free and that’s it!

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