Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baby on Passport Application?

 I recently sent this letter to our government...

"Hello Mr. Layton,

I was recently informed by INFACT Canada that the new child's application package for a canadian passport has an image of a baby bottle on it.  I find this alarming for many reasons:

- it's portrays that in Canada the norm for feeding babies is by formula; when in contrary Public Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months and there after for breastfeeding relationship to continue as a compliment to solid foods until the child out grows the need.

-any image of a bottles can help sway a mother that is having difficulties getting breastfeeding off to a good start to turn to formula instead of seeking help to establish her breastfeeding relationship with her child.

- Passport are for one to be able to travel outside of this country and should not be associated in any shape with baby bottles, formula or breast-feeding.  

-Baby bottles are typically linked in ones mind to formula (not pumped breast milk); by putting this image on our Passport Application the government ends up promoting (for free to the large formula companies) formula feeding.

To finish here is are a few points I am highlighting from the International Code of Marketing of
Breast-milk Substitutes by the WHO.

 "Appreciating that there are a number of social and economic factors affecting
breast-feeding, and that, accordingly, governments should develop social support
systems to protect, facilitate and encourage it, and that they should create an
environment that fosters breast-feeding, provides appropriate family and community
support, and protects mothers from factors that inhibit breast-feeding; "

"Affirming the need for governments, organizations of the United Nations
system, nongovernmental organizations, experts in various related disciplines,
consumer groups and industry to cooperate in activities aimed at the improvement of
maternal, infant and young child health and nutrition; "

I would also like to point out article 5.1 of the code:

"5.1 There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public
of products within the scope of this Code. "

The products the code talk about are breastmilk and bottle-feeding - I believe placing an image of a baby bottle on an application for a passport becomes a direct violation of this code and the WHO.  I encourage you take the time to read the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and come to your own decision on this subject.

Thank you.

from a concerned member of your contingency,

Pierrette Wiseman
mom to Christophe

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