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Old Navy Formula Onesie Triggers Boycott

By Bridget Tyler on September 23rd, 2010

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.

  • dad

    GET A LIFE! Honestly! You people have nothing better to do! I have 3 formula babies and they are they are some pretty big strong kids! And very healthy and smart. SO get a life!

  • Pat

    To “Dad”… I totally agree!

  • vikki

    really?????? I have boobie fed babies. They are healthy. That is just a shirt. I thought it was funny. People just need to learn to laugh. Only imagine what the boobie fed shirt would say. BREAST POWERED??? Now that’s funny.

  • Megan

    Yes, because all us parents take our parenting advice and cues from onesies they sell at Old Navy. Bunch of Idiots!

  • Candace

    Wow this is hysterical. I don’t know about any other parents but I’m usually too busy taking care of my child to boycott a onesie that most find humorous. If you don’t like it, excersise your right of choice and don’t buy it but do not force your opinion on others or take away their choice.

  • Buzz Bishop

    How about we empower moms with education about all options to feed their kids instead of hating on those who can’t do it the natural way.

    My wife tried for 6 months with each son and it didn’t work. The hate and preaching is just as bad as those who scorn others when breastfeeding in public. It’s just as hurtful.

    We’re just trying to feed our kids here – why must everyone be so judge judy about it?

    http://www.dad-camp.com/2010/09/breast-is-best-but/

  • xsiteable

    We will be new parents in just a few months – we are very excited. We plan to breastfeed for the obvious health benefits but there is no guarantee we will be able to.

    Regardless, I can’t imagine who has the time to get upset about a fun, little piece of clothing? It’s a baby-outfit, not a political statement.

    I’ve created this little onesie for the pro-breastfeeding moms out there.
    Would you rather see your baby in one of these?

    http://twitpic.com/2ric1a

  • Dee

    I am a breastfeeder and I think the boycott is totally ridiculous! It’s just a onsie for pete’s sake.

  • Lynnie

    Seriously, are people that bored? I could use some help around my house if they need something to do. Formula is better than starving your kid cause your breasts aren’t producing enough.

  • kristy

    YOU KNOW WHAT MY DAUGHTER IS 9 MONTHS OLD AND I AM SO SICK OF HEARING BREASTFED BABIES ARE SO MUCH BETTER OFF BOTH MY KIDS WERE FED FORMULA AND THEY TURNED OUT JUST FINE AND AS GOOD AS ANY KID FED A BOOB. SO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT ONESIE IS JUST FINE IT DONT SEND NO BAD MESSAGES YALL JUST NEED T GET A LIFE IF YOU THINK HARPING ON A ONESIE IS THAT IMPORTANT NO ONE IS TWISTING YOUR ARM TO BUY IT.

  • Tina

    I know some people think that all these cows complaining at the onsie actually won because the onsie isn’t on Old Navy’s website any longer. But in actuality, it’s sold out! YAY for formula feeders! Nice to see ONE thing out there since I’ve seen TONS of breastfeeding clothing out there. But hey, that’s cute right? Give me an eff’in break bf’ers. You ain’t all that!

  • elizabeth

    The woman who are boycotting this have way too much time in their hands they need to stop being so hormonal and sensitive get over it because at the end of the day its just a onesie

  • Kissalex

    My baby is 4 weeks old, I’m on the verge of being unable to continue to breastfeed as I’m no longer lactating to accomodate his needs. I need to feed him formula and am already supplementing with it more than breast feeding. Does that make me a bad mother because no matter what I try, or how well I take care of myself, I can physically no longer breastfeed. It’s how my body is! My childs doctor and lactation consultant have both agreed I’m not producing enough, so now what? Formula or starve him? Hmmm easy choice I say! Formula powered it is!

  • Steven

    I think the point is that this is encouraging formula-feeding as a positive thing. There are valid reasons to formula-feed, but it’s never going to be as good as the real thing. This shirt makes it seem like being formula-fed is a point of pride, which is not really a great message to send.

  • slj

    I have to say that it is a parent’s choice as to what they feed their child. I was unable to breast feed my older two children due to serious illness. They were given formula and are perfectly fine. With my youngest child, I was only able to breasfeed for 2 weeks because he wasn’t getting enough because I wasn’t producing enough for him. He is now a formula fed baby and doing well. Give it up people. It isn’t your choice as to how a child gets his/her nutrition. It is the parent’s choice, and for those that are unable to breastfeed, then the other option is formuls. More power to the maker of the onesie. If I can find it, I am going to purchase it. Grow up and stop judging other people for how the feed their children!!!

  • josh

    It is so sad that we have gotten this far off course. We live in a society that treats women in such dispicable ways and demonizes them for all sorts of things. Breast Feeding is a valid option for feeding your children, but so is formula. I saw so many breast feeding shirts when I was giving my daughter her bottle. My wife was unable to nurse, but the better question is why did she feel so forced to do it and such a failure when she was unable to… The answer is because of people who would boycot a shirt like this one. There is no excuse for the direction our society has gone down. We must come back to some sense of normality. We were never taught how to bottle feed, how to choose the right bottle, how to choose the right nipple, which formula to use… We were never given any classes about this… But breast feeding, that we had shoved down our throats. How about this for a class, and a way of acknowledging our shared desire for our babies to thrive… Nutrition is the bottom line. What ever it takes to provide it, that is what we will do. Oh, and by the way, I thank my wife all the time for allowing me to bottle feed our daughter and get some of that bonding in as well.

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