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The information displayed on the packages of feeding bottles and teats commercialised in Montevideo (Uruguay) was analysed using content analysis with the goal of identifying key marketing practices that may discourage breast-feeding.
The study was conducted as part of the periodic assessment performed by the Uruguayan government to monitor the marketing of breast milk substitutes. All the feeding bottles and teats sold in forty-four retail outlets selling breast milk substitutes were purchased. The information available on the packages was analysed using content analysis and descriptive statistics.
A total of 197 feeding bottles and 71 teats were found. The majority of the packages included information to enable caregivers to adequately use the products, including recommended age, instructions on how to use the products and instructions on the use of hygienic practices. However, the packages frequently included information that implied that bottle feeding was equivalent to breast-feeding, particularly from a physiological perspective, or that idealised product use. Idealisations included ability to reduce colic, improvements in the feeding experience and improvements in children’s health, well-being and development. Statements on the superiority of breast-feeding were infrequent.
The results from the present work showed the high prevalence of marketing practices on the packages of feeding bottles and teats that may discourage breast-feeding. Stricter and more detailed regulations seem necessary to enable caregivers to make informed feeding decisions for infants.
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