Breastfeeding, the Nestle Boycott, and BlogHer 2010

by Dagmar Bleasdale on August 5, 2010

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I'm going If I don’t write this post now, BlogHer 2010 will be over before I get to it. It’s World Breastfeeding Week and the La Leche League’s World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations (WBWC) are in full force, and I haven’t even blogged about that.

I’m itching to write my BlogHer post after reading many interesting post from other bloggers who are going. I’ve been wanting to write it for weeks but can’t find the time — trip to Germany, three editing and social media clients that want to be kept happy, the normal momsense (motherhood and wifyhood and a bit of nonsense thrown in), now that McFlurry is born I of course have to keep up hourly with McKMama’s updates about her new addition, and then there’s that thing called sleep I need to fit in once in a while. Just once in a while.

So here is the compressed version of my BlogHer post:

I’m going. Bought the Early Bird ticket about six months ago when I learned BlogHer 2010 (August 6 & 7) was going to be in New York City. How could I miss this opportunity? BlogHer is the biggest conference geared toward blogging women, with about 2,300 attending. Since I only live an hour away, in Westchester, NY, there was no plane ticket to buy. Still, being the frugal one I decided to only go for one day, Saturday, so I don’t have to also book a hotel room. I also didn’t want to be away from Landon for the night, which frankly would have had the husband greet me with raised eyebrows and fear in his eyes, so I didn’t go there. Still breastfeeding Landon to sleep — no time to expound on that.

I’ll be in and out, it’ll be short and sweet and — exhausting. I’ll get on the train in Katonah very early to meet some blogging friends for breakfast at the Hilton and then intend to attend four sessions. I’m going to BlogHer 2010 to learn more about the business of blogging, not to socialize. I’ll be very happy to see a few mom bloggers I already know, and hope to meet a couple I adore and have never met (The Feminist Breeder, The Crunchy Goddess, and PhD in Parenting, among others), but the remaining time you’ll see me taking notes.

My ticket was paid for months before the news broke that one of the Nestle companies — Stouffers — is going to be a BlogHer ’10 sponsor. Now we know that Butterfinger, another Nestle product, is also a sponsor. As a fierce and outspoken breastfeeding advocate, I boycott Nestle and educate those who are interested about Nestle’s unethical practices, their non-compliance of the WHO Code, and the resulting boycott that has been going on for 30 years. Thirty years, people! This isn’t just a protest by a couple of hysterical housewives — Nestle is one of the most boycotted companies in the world, according to Heather from A Mama’s Blog. I specifically opt out of accepting any BlogHerAds advertising formula companies, such as Nestle.

Here is a very thorough post about the Nestle boycott from the Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and here is a list of all the companies Nestle owns and products they make. Annie from PhD in Parenting wrote this post, and Gina, the Feminist Breeder, had this to say. All three bloggers are amazing, eloquent writers on this topic and their stance against Nestle.

A few bloggers were so outraged that the powers at BlogHer would stoop so low and take money from Nestle so they can peddle their products that they decided not to go. I know of one such blogger, Jake Aryeh Marcus from Sustainable Mothering, who won’t even sell her ticket, which is in high demand because there are many bloggers who still want a ticket. I admire her steadfastness regarding this topic — here is her post on why she is now boycotting BlogHer.

I’m going. I’m not buying my favorite coffee anymore (hazelnut-flavored Nescafe) and just ate my last Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich after reading that they are also made by Nestle. You can have my coffee and ice cream, but Nestle is not going to prevent me from going to BlogHer.

My experience there is not going to be marred by them being there, they are only one of 20 or so sponsors and I have no intention to have anything to do with them. Just as I avoid and boycott their products in the store I’m going to run the other way if I see them at BlogHer ’10. I’m there to learn and will be sitting in sessions all day, so I doubt I even come in contact with Nestle.

That being said, I am appalled that the powers at BlogHer would even consider Nestle as a sponsor. It’s not only a bad business decision after the Nestle Family blogger debacle that happened last year, it will most certainly make me think twice about buying a ticket for BlogHer 2011 — now that I know that money is more important to them than taking a stance against a company with decades of proven, unethical business practices that hurt, and kill, children.

Onto more fun stuff: attire. For days, I couldn’t decide between this:

my “Yes, I’m STILL breastfeeding! T-shirt I wear so proudly that would make such a fitting statement at BlogHer ’10 . . .

and this: the dress I’m wearing in my “branded” picture (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that I love to wear to special occasions.

I had a hard time choosing between wanting to get dressed up and also wanting to make a statement against Nestle, but I decided to wear my favorite Ann Taylor dress I feel most comfortable in. If I had a hotel room I would have brought both outfits and switched them during the day, but since I also have a cool, non-BlogHer party to attend in the evening (the Nate Berkus Show launch party, gasp!), I’m going with the dress. I do plan on making myself a name badge that includes the Nestle boycott logo.

My hair is colored, I spent hours fielding through all the invitations I received regarding BlogHer, and I finally broke down and bought a Smart phone so I can tweet from there — BlogHer 2010, here I come!

It shouldn’t be too hard to notice me in that dress, so please say hi when you see me running by!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

The Blogtessa February 26, 2011 at 12:07 AM

I have to admit that once I read into this further when all the BlogHer-Nestle-Boycott talk was going on, I did understand -why- the boycott was happening. Did I participate though? No. Because while their products are all under the Nestle family, there are certain ones I quite like (props to you for giving up Skinny Cow— I could never! *guilty pleasure*) and reflecting, decided that I wouldn’t discontinue buying products I enjoy because of how the brand markets another separate product. I stayed out of the conversation, for the most part. The only time I got heated, per se, was coming home and going through the candy with another mom on Halloween night. “What the heck is this?!” I asked. “Where’s all the good stuff??” She chuckled and said “Nestle makes the good stuff, remember?” It upset me to know that I had bought Nestle chocolates to hand out, (I wasn’t really paying attention when I did, I just wanted to hand out tasty candy. Who wants to be that lady passing out crappy candy that’s left at the bottom of the bowl when everything else is gone?) and apparently there were moms who were going through and throwing away anything Nestle-made. I just thought the idea of throwing a Butterfinger away that my daughter couldn’t wait to dig into, and trying to explain to her that she can’t have it because of issues she couldn’t possibly understand, seemed cruel. You can’t take it out on the kids, ya know? Ya gotta let’em be kids.

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silicone baking molds October 10, 2010 at 4:46 AM

I have been on your site a few times and I always leave with a gem. I only thought it fair to drop my comment as a way of showing appreciation. I frankly think you know what you are talking about. Out of your passion, you have become an authority on blogging. Congratulations.

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Odie Langley August 9, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Hi I am a dad not a mom but think you are doing a wonderful thing and never realized that company owned so many names. I appreciate you getting all the names out so we can join you in the boycott. I found your site just looking around blogfrog but my site is at http://odielangley.blogspot.com and you are welcome any time. Have a great week.
Odie

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Cindy @ This Adventure, Our Life August 9, 2010 at 4:53 AM

Thank you for all the info! Dissapointing that BlogHer who has such an impact (or could) would choose Nestle… boo on them! Hope you had an awesome time! Totally Jealous that you got to meet Nate Berkus! Totally fun!

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