Old Navy tee shirts and baby gear often sport cute puns and funny faux brands – it’s part of what makes the line as fun as it is budget friendly. But one particular pun-driven onesie that is on shelves right now has hit a sore spot in the long running breast-feeding vs. formula controversy.
The onesie is features a bottle with wings and the slogan “formula powered.” Breast feeding advocates feel that the onesies send a bad message to parents.
“We all know breastfeeding is best for baby…and mama. Formula simply isn’t the healthy option. So, why doesn’t Old Navy know it?” writes Cate Nelson at Eco Child’s Play. Now Nelson and a score of other mommy bloggers who promote breast feeding are calling for a boycott of the chain because of the onesies that they see as a propaganda tool for the formula industry.
While it’s true that breast feeding, though widely acknowledged by medical professionals as the best option for babies, still doesn’t get enough support, comparing a baby wearing this onesie to a breast feeding mother wearing a tee-shirt that reads “CIGARETTE POWERED,” as one commenter on Eco Child’s Play did, seems like something of an over reaction.
As Paula Bernstein of Stroller Derby points out, some mothers have a hard time breast feeding and need formula to keep their kids healthy. And what about single fathers who have no choice but to bottle feed? Treating formula using parents as though they were purposefully endangering their children isn’t really any better than castigating breast feeding mothers for feeding their children in public. Perhaps Old Navy should, as Bernstein suggests, produce a matching “Mom Powered” onesie for breast fed babies so that all kids can celebrate the fact that they have a parent who provides them with the food they need, no matter where it comes from.
Old Navy has since apologized for offending customers and the onesies seem to have disappeared from the Old Navy website.