Alyssa Milano Calls Out Nestle’s Misleading Baby Formula Marketing Tactics

Actress and breastfeeding advocate Alyssa Milano is calling on Care2 activists to join her in demanding that Nestlé and Abbott Labs turn their attention to the welfare of babies, not profits: It’s time to start supporting breastfeeding, especially in the developing world.

And now is more important than ever, in light of the Trump Administration’s refusal to support breastfeeding. If the government won’t defend the health and welfare of parents and infants all over the world, companies “committed to enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future,” like Nestlé, need to step up. 

Take action now: Sign Alyssa Milano’s petition asking Nestlé and Abbott Labs to commit to the welfare of parents and children, not formula sales.

Nutritionally balanced formula prepared in the right conditions with sterile tools and water can be lifesaving. Some parents cannot breastfeed, for a variety of reasons, while others do not wish to. Safe, effective formula should always be available for those who need it — and Alyssa will be the first to tell you that!

But there’s a reason they say “breast is best.” Breastfeeding supports the health of both parent and child – and, bonus, it’s free.

Especially for parents living in poverty, that’s a big deal; formula can get extremely expensive, between the cost of formula itself, and the related supplies. It can also be challenging to maintain proper sterility, which introduces the risk that babies could get sick from contaminated water or feeding supplies. And if parents don’t have enough formula, they may start diluting it, exposing kids to the risk of malnutrition.

Recent research found that promoting breastfeeding could save the lives of over 800,000 children annually. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for the first six months of life — including pumping, for parents who can’t be present all the time — and then supplementing with other foods, but continuing to take advantage of breastmilk’s nutritious bonanza.

But companies like Nestlé have long used aggressive tactics to market formula –  including promoting falsehoods for scared new parents, providing free samples to encourage parents to start formula feeding before they’ve established breastfeeding and suggesting that breastmilk alone doesn’t provide sufficient nutrition. As far back as 1981, the international community was concerned enough about this issue to develop a code of ethical marketing practices – one these companies systematically ignore.

Breastmilk activists have been agitating around this issue for decades, as long-running Nestlé boycotts illustrate. But these companies refuse to budge — because formula is a $70 billion industry.

Advocates don’t want to strike formula from the face of the Earth; they know it’s incredibly valuable, when it’s needed. But they do want these companies to change their marketing practices and values. That includes a stop to the behaviors that violate the marketing code, including undermining breastfeeding, interfering with public health campaigns and using their clout to influence policy.

These companies, advocates argue, can and should support breastfeeding while also making formula available to those who may benefit from it. And with former public health heavyweights like the United States turning away from their obligation to protect parents and children, it’s up to corporations to police themselves — and to consider doing business more ethically, even if it costs them money in the short term.

Take Action!

Sign the petition: Nestlé & Abbott Labs, Protect Babies & Stop Undermining Breastfeeding Moms

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo credit: Tareq Salahuddin/Creative Commons


Ruth S
Ruth S11 days ago


Winn A
Winn Adams11 days ago


Margaret G
Margaret G11 days ago

Nestle is also notorious for taking water, even from drought stricken California, while paying little to nothing and/or not having a license.

Lesa D
Lesa D12 days ago

#57864 petition signed...

Lesa D
Lesa D12 days ago

thank you s.e. ...

Angela G
Angela G12 days ago

Nursing in public was commonplace until the 20th century, even the Puritans supported it. At the federal government level, Public Law 106-58, Section 647 states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location.”6 Laws vary by state and most states have have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location."

Sherri S
Sherri S12 days ago

I agree with Margie's comment below.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE12 days ago

Of course breast feeding is the ideal, but not in public. It is a special time between the baby and the mother.

Shirley S
Shirley S12 days ago

Petition signed

Past Member
Past Member 12 days ago

Is not nuclear physicist to see that breast milk is the best choice. Yes some mothers can't breast feed and they need to have the alternative. But 9 of 10 mothers do have the choice. The choice to breast feed.