Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011

A Proformula Onesie?

A simple $5 Old Navy T-shirt for babies set off a firestorm in 2009, thanks to what the company thought was a clever illustration of a baby bottle and the words "Formula Powered." Breast-feeding advocates called for a boycott of the chain for encouraging baby formula over breast milk. "It was not meant to be anti–breast feeding," said Louise Callagy, spokeswoman of Gap Inc., Old Navy's parent company, who also pointed out that Old Navy also manufactures nursing bras and tops. The onesie was part of a fall clothing collection with a racing theme. Cate Nelson, a blogger at the green-parenting site Eco Child's Play wasn't convinced. In a statement sure to inflame bottle-feeding parents, she said, "Formula simply isn't the healthy option. So, why doesn't Old Navy know it?" Meanwhile, TIME's Bonnie Rochman asked whether bottle-feeding parents would have raised such a fuss if the company had come up with a T-shirt saying, "Breast Is Best." (For the record, while the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding as the "ideal nutrition" for the first year of life, citing a range of health advantages for both mother and child, the organization also offers guidelines on choosing the right formula for mothers who aren't breast feeding.)