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Boost Your Code IQ, Get a Course Discount

LER is celebrating Code anniversary month with a special offer for you. Details inside!
LER is celebrating Code anniversary month with a special offer for you. Details inside!
May marks the anniversary of a landmark event in the lactation care community: the passage of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code).
At LER, we’re celebrating by encouraging you to learn more about the Code, with a special discount all month long.
How It Works
Get in on our Code Celebration Discount!
 Once you complete the course, email a copy of your UNICEF Course proof-of-completion certificate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request your one-time-use, 15% discount code
 Use your code to save on any course LER offers before midnight Eastern on May 31, 2024.
It’s a win-win: You brush up on your Code knowledge, and then you get to choose another lactation topic to study at a discount as well!
Remember: You’ll want to get the UNICEF course done with plenty of time left to get your coupon code from LER and enroll in your discounted LER course before midnight on Friday, May 31, 2024 (US eastern)!
Why the Code Matters Now
The Code is even more essential today than when the World Health Assembly signed it more than 40 years ago, and it’s really important for lactation care providers and others who support lactating families to understand why.
The Code is designed to stop commercial interests from predatory marketing that erodes parents’ feeding confidence, presents misinformation, and creates barriers to breastfeeding success.
The Code does not prevent families from choosing or buying infant formula, bar lactation consultants from recommending infant formula or mixed feeding, or judge any family’s individual feeding choices. Its goal is to protect families' right to make feeding choices based on accurate information and free from inappropriate commercial pressures.
And it works. In the decades since the Code’s inception, most countries around the world have enacted legislation to implement at least some of its provisions, and exclusive breastfeeding has gone up by 50%.
But there are new dangers on the horizon.
Recent analyses show that while Code advocates have been hard at work protecting families, the formula milk industry has been equally hard at work developing new and more powerful ways of marketing their products.
“Something is Wrong” Marketing
One very effective way: Creating advertising that preys on new parents’ fears by framing normal newborn behavior as a “problem” … and positioning formula as the solution.
This type of predatory marketing is particularly insidious and particularly persuasive.
What new parent isn’t concerned when their baby seems fussy and unable to settle, or refuses to sleep? But instead of offering accurate information on typical newborn behavior, formula marketers suggest that something is wrong, capitalizing on new parents’ fears and fatigue at the most vulnerable moments and monetizing doubt: “What if my baby isn’t getting enough milk? Maybe I’m not doing this right. Maybe my baby is at risk. Maybe … formula would help.”
In that vulnerable moment, a customer is created, and a lactation journey is threatened or cut short.
“Your Doctor Agrees” Marketing
Another form of predatory marketing occurs when commercial milk formula companies succeed in aligning themselves — or creating the appearance of alignment — with healthcare providers, facilities, and researchers.
“Free” samples bearing formula company logos, even neutral items like pens and notepaper, can feel like endorsements of formula when they show up in a place parents trust to know what’s best. And when companies succeed in getting hospitals to hand out gift bags containing formula samples at hospital discharge, the predatory marketing goes home with the family — research shows parents who leave with the samples reduce their chances of exclusive breastfeeding.
Digital Marketing: The Biggest Threat Yet
Perhaps the most important reason the Code matters now more than ever: Today’s digital marketing allows formula milk companies to target parents like never before — and they’re taking full advantage.
How do we know? A recent investigation by the World Health Organization reviewed the evidence demonstrating the scope and impact of digital marketing strategies for the promotion of breast milk substitutes. It sampled 4 million social media posts which reached 2.47 billion people.
Its findings are nothing short of shocking.
Formula milk companies post content on their social media accounts around 90 times a day, reaching 229 million users, representing three times as many people as are reached by informational posts about breastfeeding from non-commercial accounts.
And perhaps the most troubling aspect: The posts’ ability to zero in on a vulnerable new parent and send targeted, personalized marketing at just the right moment.
Imagine a parent of a newborn, scrolling social media late at night when their new baby is fussy. They post in their favorite parenting group, looking for answers. Marketing experts from commercial milk formula companies then use the post to send specific ads their way — some of which don’t even look like ads, but like legitimate, friendly help from an expert.
Apps, virtual support groups or “baby-clubs,” paid social media influencers, promotions and competitions, and advice forums or services are some of the other ways the WHO investigation discovered that formula milk companies are buying and collecting personal information and sending personalized promotions to pregnant women and mothers.
The Solution is You!
The bottom line: The marketing of commercial milk formula by industry is powerful, pervasive, and effective, and it derails parents from meeting their breastfeeding goals. The industry is constantly evolving new strategies to target parents, and digital marketing presents a grave new threat.
The Code is a crucial part of protecting families’ right to choose how to feed their babies, free from commercially motivated influence, and understanding it and advocating for it is the responsibility of each member of the lactation care community.
And, you help in another way as well.
When parents have access to skilled lactation help, evidence-based information, and ongoing, caring support, they are far less likely to fall prey to predatory marketing practices. So keep learning, keep practicing, and keep doing the amazing work you do! LER is here to help you all the way.
Take the Course, Get the Discount
Remember to take advantage of our Code Celebration Discount before the end of May!
 Take UNICEF’s free course. (Remember to leave plenty of time before May 31 to get your coupon code for your LER course!)
 Email a copy of your UNICEF Course proof-of-completion certificate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request 15% discount code.
 Redeem your coupon at LER by midnight on May 31 to save on any course LER offers.

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