Friday, December 23, 2011

Shame on the British Journal of Midwifery

I was just about to submit an article for publication in the British Journal of Midwifery when I  found out that it has gone into partnership with the milk formula company, Cow and Gate, to sponsor the "Innovating for life" awards. This is the only midwifery journal in the UK to continue an association with a milk formula company, and causes ethical problems for midwives. Milk companies have one reason for working with midwives and that is to get us to promote bottle feeding. If women choose to bottle feed, that's their choice. But it is my professional role as a midwife to promote and support breastfeeding which has been proven to be the more beneficial method of infant feeding. For those of you who don't get it...it's like AA being sponsored by Guinness.

I have now decided not to publish in the BJM, and submit the article somewhere else. I for one do not want to be associated with practices that cause such conflict of interest in relation to infant feeding. In the meantime, you can find out more from the Facebook page "British Journal of Midwifery- You can't be Serious!"


References

Policy on infant formula industry funding, support or sponsorship of articles submitted for publication. Annette Beasley and Lisa H Amir. International Breastfeeding Journal 2007, 2:5 doi:10.1186/1746-4358-2-5

15 tricks of formula companies.  Ange13. http://www.rollercoaster.ie/Discussions/tabid/119/ForumThread/141259013/Default.aspx


Image: ''
http://www.flickr.com/photos/64014075@N00/3265005500

13 comments:

Sheena Byrom said...

Well said Sarah, I wrote a letter once to the BJM with my views on their association with formula companies. The predictable response left me just as frustrated, but at least I had put my point across. Interestingly, their sister journal (a Mark Allen publication) the African Journal of Midwifery does NOT advertise formula..I wonder why?!
Thanks for sharing,

Carolyn Hastie said...

Agree 100% Sarah. So hard to understand a midwifery journal going against our ethics like this.

hallmum said...

why carolyn? its 'big bucks'!!!

Tracie R said...

great to see ethics prevail here Sarah - well done!

Sarah Stewart said...

Can I just point out that I am not criticizing women who bottle feed. This is not a discussion about breast vs bottle. However, we know advertising and sponsorship works...that's why companies spend so much money doing it. Therefore, as a midwife, I should not put in a position whereby I am influenced to promote a practice that I know if not as beneficial as another. I am sorry that some women cannot breastfeed and I would support them as much as possible in their choice to bottlefeed.

Kirsty said...

As a non midwife I guess my question would be has this particular brand of formula got objective proof to show it as 'better than other brands'.
If it does and is seen as 'second best' for when breast feeding is not effective then I guess I could understand it. If they are all pretty much the same I see this as money related. Though in these hard times money may be required to keep getting the breast is best message out there through disseminating research that supports this. If these type of articles were less likely to be published because of the association then this is also not ethical.
Sarah it's also good to hear you say you would support a woman with bottle feeding when it is clear that breast feeding will not be successful, sadly I have heard of many women being made to feel horrible by the pressure they get from health professionals to keep trying when it is making them extremely anxious and they are concerned about their baby getting any nutrition. I fear that sometimes evidence based practice can make us all forget that we are dealing with people (obviously I am referring to other health professionals too - OTs included - my biggest bugbear at the moment is that every health problem is put down to weight and eating - maybe try to find out why not just tell people that fasting for 24 hrs every now and again and taking protein powder is Ok!!).

Kirsty said...

Ps. Obviously well done for sticking by your principles though when equally there is pressure to publish all the time.

enableot said...

Argh?! What? I am genuinely shocked! What a conflicting message to be sending out. As you say C7G would not be doing it unless they felt there was a financial benefit to them. If they as a company really felt strongly about supporting research they could have made a donation, but not "sponsorship" (i.e. no advertising) - but I still think this would be wrong.

Kerry said...

well said sarah!

Lesley Ann Page said...

Agree and had thought that Milk company sponsorship was against the code?

Lesley Page

Lesley Ann Page said...

Agree and had thought that Milk company sponsorship was against the code?

Lesley Page

Jessica said...

Well said. That is quite a conflicting message to promote formula feeding when Midwives are to promote and support breastfeeding.
If breastfeeding for some reason is an issue for the mother then to help support in bottle feeding and help the mother feel good about that option too, especially when mothers are very keen to breastfeed and cannot.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you all for your comments. I urge you all to contact the BJM and let them know how you feel...hopefully if we campaign about this, changes will be made.