And with their newest app, moms can know everything there is to know about their babies – including, “predict a daily feeding schedule, and can instantly connect you with feeding tips and a live feeding expert” (quoted directly from the Similac app site)
When a company creates their own app, it is obvious why they are doing it – to advertise! So we know that Similac hopes this app will increase sales of Similac brand infant formula.
Let’s look at what this app offers:
*Sleep – jot down when baby goes to sleep and when baby wakes up. Look at a graph to see at a glance what the baby’s routine is and how long baby normally sleeps.
*Diapers – keep track of every single diaper. Record the type of diaper and see how often baby is going to see if baby is healthy.
*Growth – record every weigh in and measurement from the pediatrician.
*Feeding – there are two different ways to monitor the feedings. Moms using formula can keep track of when baby eats and how many ounces baby consumed. Breastfeeding moms can keep track of which side baby nursed on and for how long. All this information is kept in the app and then mom can look at all the information to predict when the next feeding will be.
All this information can be easily emailed to other people, including the pediatrician. And if there is ever a problem, there is a nifty little phone button that will instantly connect the mom to a Similac Feeding Expert!
Here is what I have a problem with:
Babies are not predictable
One of my biggest frustrations with Lizzie when she was an infant was her lack of routine! I could never predict when she was going to eat next. When she was 2 months old I’d sit down and nurse her for 30 minutes, then put her down so I could eat. 20 minutes later bam! She was crying and the only consolation was more nursing. Then the next day she would go 3 entire hours at a time without nursing. It changed day to day and I just had to be flexible and go with it. I have spoken with other moms who have similar babies.
It gets so frustrating in those first few months that you feel like you are always nursing and if you keep track of how often you are nursing you will have proof. See! She eats every hour for 30 minutes at a time! She must not be getting enough milk, I better supplement. Hmm…what with? How about Similac?
Nursing is not always about hunger
Some breastfed babies don’t need to nurse very often, and other seem to need to nurse around the clock. Nursing is not always about the hunger level of the baby but can also be a baby expressing the need to be comforted and close to mom. This app makes breastfeeding seem to be only a way to meet a baby’s nutritional needs. It is so much more than that and you really don’t need to record the length and time of breastfeeding. One of my favorite quotes is, “Watch the baby, not the clock!” The use of pacifiers to meet that extra sucking need is a personal choice, and if a mom chooses not to use one that is ok and she shouldn’t have the stress of seeing on paper how much she is breastfeeding. In fact, scheduling a breastfeeding baby is “clearly harmful and ineffective” according to WHO. Babies eat when they eat, you don’t need an app to tell you that.
The “Feeding Experts”
Let’s say it is late at night and a mom peeks at her Baby Journal app. She sees a graph that shouts “Look how much you are nursing! Every 30 minutes at some points! Are you making enough milk?” Then, there is that nifty little grey button. All she has to do is click it and a feeding “expert” is there to answer her questions. But what this mom does not know is that this expert is not a certified lactation consultant or affiliated with La Leche League. Both of those organizations – the Board of Lactation Consultants and La Leche League – forbid their highly trained individuals to work for formula companies. It is a blatant conflict of interest.
You know what would be better?
If formula companies didn’t advertise! Ok, I know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon in the USA (who cares what the World Health Organization says) so if they are going to advertise, at least stop advertising specifically to breastfeeding moms. That is where my issues lie. If Similac just has to make an app, then make it only for formula users. Don’t have “feeding experts” ready to answer breastfeeding questions. If a mom has a breastfeeding question, I hope she can seek answers from highly trained La Leche League leaders or a lactation consultant.