Our commitment to breastfeeding and the goals of the WHO code
Every baby deserves the best start in life
Human Milk is not only key to a good start in life; it also provides an abundance of lifelong benefits. Breastfeeding is a critical need for the health of the population and one of the most effective preventive health measures for children and mothers regardless of where they live. The WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months. Medela fully supports this recommendation.
In 1981, the World Health Assembly adopted as a recommendation the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Known as “the Code,” it is a set of recommendations designed to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats. It promotes safe and adequate infant nutrition, by protecting and promoting breastfeeding.
Committed to breastfeeding since 1961
Since Medela’s foundation in 1961, supporting breastfeeding mothers has been at the heart of everything we do. Our founder, Olle Larsson, made this the centre of Medela’s mission when he wrote our Pledge to support breastfeeding in 1981:
“We pledge our dedication to breastfeeding as the best nutrition for babies and families. We further pledge that our breastfeeding accessory products and literature shall never be used to influence mothers to switch from breastfeeding to infant formula feeding. Nor shall our breastfeeding accessory products and literature be used in any way to promote artificial baby milk”.
The same remains true today. Our approximately 1,800 employees around the globe pledge to honour our Destiny Statement, “We exist to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk,” and our Mission and Brand Promise “To be the world’s leading advocate and partner for human milk.”
Aligned with this Mission, we take a holistic approach that seeks to:
- Better understand human lactation through science and research
- Better support healthcare professionals (HCPs) worldwide with education
- Support mothers on their breastfeeding journey with education and services
- Provide the best products for pumping and feeding of breast milk
Giving mothers the support they urgently need
Over the past 50-plus years, we have gained a deep understanding of the mother’s journey and the practical difficulties and challenges she is faced with, that can lead to significant drops in breastfeeding rates early on. That is why we provide a range of solutions – from products and services to reaching mothers early with education and support – to support the seamless integration of breastfeeding into their lifestyles.
Medela has brought pumping technology to the forefront. However, we are about a lot more than breast pumps and provide a complete support system including the supplemental nursing system; the special needs feeder as well as our enteral feeding system that helps vulnerable and sick infants receive human milk.
For families who rely on breast pumps, these products are an important part of their breastfeeding plan. In this setting, also bottles and teats are an essential part of the complete system.
Therefore, to fully support mothers with a complete solution, we will continue to offer breast milk feeding bottles and teats in our range of Essentials. As a research-driven company, we will provide evidence-based information on the appropriate use of bottles and teats, as we do with our breast pumps and all of our product offerings. By dedicating resources to developing evidence-based practices, we stand united with researchers, healthcare professionals, mothers, families, and caregivers around the world who are doing everything they can to help mothers breastfeed and babies get their own mother’s milk.
Our commitment to the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding and the goals of the WHO Code
We are one of the biggest supporters of breastfeeding amongst commercial companies and support wholeheartedly the recommendations of the WHO on breastfeeding. Furthermore, we are fully committed to the goals of the WHO Code. We steadily and resolutely support mothers, babies and families along their breastfeeding journey and clearly refrain from the promotion of breast milk substitutes.
New Marketing Guidelines
In addition, we have developed new marketing guidelines for materials dealing with feeding of infants, i.e. bottles and teats to:
- Reinforce our support of the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding with a consistent and easily recognisable icon with a link to a dedicated webpage with detailed information for our customers
- Ensure there will be no idealisation of bottle feeding in any of the marketing materials dealing with feeding bottles and teats. This means that…
- we will not make any statement implying similarity with breastfeeding
- the materials related to teats and bottles will not show babies drinking from bottles
- storage bottles with milk will be shown in context with pumping.
Please refer to the detailed guidelines on our website as they clearly reflect our commitment to breastfeeding mothers and provide a framework for our communication activities.
We will continue to live up to our Destiny Statement to enhance mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of human milk and to do all we can to enable mothers to breastfeed their babies as long as possible.
Baar, Switzerland, 26 March 2020
Michael Larsson, President and Delegate of the Board of Directors
Annette Brüls, CEO Medela AG