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Joint Statement on the Upcoming Pregnancy & Baby Fairs

We, Amanda Glynn IBCLC (www.lactation.ie), Carol Smyth IBCLC (www.carolsmyth.co.uk) and Nicola O’Byrne IBCLC (www.breastfeedingsupport.ie ) have come together to make the following statement re International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) attending non-WHO Code compliant baby fairs.

The adoption of and adherence to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes is a *minimum* requirement and only one of several important actions required in order to protect health practices of infant and young child feeding. (Resolution WHA34.22) http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/WHA34.22_iycn_en.pdf

Why would a formula company invite a breastfeeding advocate and/or healthcare expert, such as an IBCLC, to attend its Pregnancy and Baby fair? Having an expert such as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant associated with a Code violating company, lends credibility to its products and activities. It’s a clever marketing ploy that achieves endorsement by association, whether or not that was the IBCLC’s intended outcome. When an IBCLC has an association with a formula manufacturer, directly or indirectly, we believe that the IBCLC is not meeting his or her responsibilities under the spirit of the Code. It is our contention that lending support to such events not only serves to undermine the professional integrity of the IBCLC credential and profession but also threatens future breastfeeding advocacy efforts.

Stand holders and presenters at baby fairs are there to increase sales through discounts and complimentary gifts, which in turn builds brand awareness and loyalty. Some of the stand holders and presenters have chosen to further promote this non-Code compliant Pregnancy and Baby fair by offering mothers “free” attendance tickets. It is worth noting that even when a company offers free tickets to an event, the cost of providing those free tickets is simply absorbed by the marketing department of the formula company and added to the price of the products that fall within the scope of the Code. We do realise that the two upcoming Pregnancy and Baby fairs are being run by an event company. However, we believe the main sponsors are funding the bulk of the costs.

Recognising the complexity and susceptibility of the Code as a minimum standards document which is open to interpretation, we further our commitment to upholding the spirit and intention of the Code by declaring that we will not accept, or offer to the public, any inducements (such as free tickets, samples, gifts, material items containing logos etc.) relating to products or entities which fall within the scope of the Code. To strengthen our adherence to the provisions and obligations of the Code and to avoid any conflict of interest, we further declare that we will not offer nor accept any invitation to speak at non-Code compliant events.


Amanda Glynn - www.lactation.ie
Carol Smyth - www.carolsmyth.co.uk
Nicola O’Byrne - www.breastfeedingsupport.ie

If you have any questions about a consultation or would like to arrange to meet, please get in touch.

About the author

Carol Smyth

I am an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) in private practice in Northern Ireland as well as volunteering as a breastfeeding counsellor with my local voluntary organisation. 

Important Information

All material on this website is provided for educational purposes only. Online information cannot replace an in-person consultation with a qualified, independent International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or your health care provider. If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.