Thursday, April 22, 2010

Duped, Disconcerted & Disappointed

A little over a month ago, I accepted a Simplisse Manual Breast Pump for a review and giveaway on the blog. I was excited about this new company and the marketing manager I spoke to was such a nice guy. I congratulated him on this promising new company that seemed ready to make waves. I mean, a pump created by lactation consultants from a WHO Code compliant company that totally understands the importance and power of social media? A real winner, right? Well, not so much.

See, someone posted to a listserv I read frequently, saying she'd also been contacted by this pump company and had some concerns about who the parent company might be. I wrote her back to reassure her it was fine, this was a brand new company, and WHO Code compliant. I had done my due diligence and looked the company up in several databases. Everything seemed on the up and up.

But then a friend tipped me off to this thread on the forums. A search of Whois shows that the address for Simplisse matches the address for Dr. Brown's, a bottle company whose parent is Handi Craft. Of course they are nowhere near WHO Code compliant. So essentially it seems like Handi Craft is trying to hide their affiliation with Simplisse. In addition to this chicanery, a search of their website shows some really dubious breastfeeding information that sounds eerily like formula company speak

Can someone please point me to the scientific study that says stress can reduce the infection-fighting nutrients in breastmilk or that pain while nursing can reduce the nutritional quality of breastmilk? Sigh. This was posted under the "Breast Health" section which I didn't even look at because I figured it was about checking for lumps and breast cancer. 

So I got duped. Several other mom bloggers that I like a lot and respect also got duped. I'm trying to be easy on myself because it took a lot of investigating to piece this all together and I think I just liked the idea of this pump so much I missed some of the signs. To be honest with you, I am not even sure if the brand manager working with bloggers understands or realizes the implications of all of this. 

I'm disappointed but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. No, this is not on the level of Nestle, but it's still frustrating that so few companies are completely transparent and honest and forthcoming about who and what they are. 

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