Should We Boycott Motherhood Maternity?

As many of you know, I wasn’t married when I first got pregnant. We actually got married when I was about 4 months along, which was fine by me because we were planning on it anyway and had been dating for 3 years.

Anywho, that’s not the point of this post.

So before I got married, I didn’t really need maternity clothes and I didn’t buy any baby-related things. I only went to a maternity store once because I needed a swimsuit for my honeymoon and I refused to wear my bikinis of my pre-pregnancy years with my newly growing belly.

The store I went to was Motherhood Maternity.

When you’re checking out at this store, they ask for your info. A friend of mine told me that I should give it to them because they send you free baby magazines and what not, so I did. I did indeed get free baby magazines. I also got a ton of pregnancy and baby-related ads in the mail. And I got a big box of formula.

When I was pregnant and I received this box of formula, I was simply annoyed. This was before my Lactating Girl days and I was thoroughly planning on breastfeeding without supplementation, but I didn’t know much about Booby Traps. I went to immediately throw it away, but my mom said that she should give it to my sister-in-law who formula feeds. My mom rarely sees my sister-in-law (because it turns out that whole family is awful, but that’s an entirely different subject) so it sat in my mom’s pantry up until just recently when she threw it out because it was past its expiration date. She actually thinks it might have been part of the formula recalled for bug parts too.

In my annoyance, I called the company (I’m guessing it’s Similac since that’s the recalled bug parts company assuming my mom was right) and got taken off of their list. At the time I hadn’t connected Motherhood Maternity into it.

Then just recently, I started getting more baby stuff in the mail. I got a couple of magazines which I don’t hate getting even though I don’t really have much time for magazines. It was then that I made the connection that Motherhood Maternity must be giving away my information. How is it them and not any other company I bought maternity clothes, baby things, or anything else from? Everything was being sent to my mother’s house and to me with my maiden name.

So they’re giving me free baby magazines. Oh well? Since Peanut is closing on two, they probably figure I’m going to get pregnant again soon. I wonder if they have everyone on a two year clock in their system? Either way, I didn’t particularly mind.

Until I got another big box of formula.

This time, I was livid. How are you sending me, Lactating fricking Girl a big box of formula?!? After I specifically called and was taking off your list (assuming it was the same formula company as before which I think it was by the size/color of the box, but I’m not sure). Raaaaaaaaar!!!!!!

So I called Motherhood Maternity. They said that they do give information to “select partners”. Why exactly are they choosing to partner with a formula company? Why is this formula company trying to get as much actual formula in my house as possible? I mean, it’s one thing to send me coupons and let me choose whether or not I want it in my house, but to send me actual cans of formula is wrong. They’re hoping that I’ll be crying in the middle of the night as a new mother and decide to give my baby some of their formula. Then they’ll have me hooked! Then I can spend thousands of dollars on their formula over the next year. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

I am this close to boycotting Motherhood Maternity entirely for partnering with such a company. I realize all formula companies send out boxes of actual formula samples, but I think it should take signing up with the actual formula company for it. If you truly want the formula, sure, send samples. Don’t send samples to every unsuspecting woman who shops at the biggest maternity store in my area!

So internets, I ask you for your opinion on what I should do about this mess. Is this boycott worthy? Possibly just worth some strongly worded letters to Motherhood Maternity and/or formula companies? Whatever conclusion we all come to, will you join me in this fight?

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36 thoughts on “Should We Boycott Motherhood Maternity?

  1. Well, I think a letter is always a better place to start unless they’ve already said they don’t care, but are you sure it was them? They had all my info and I never ever got formula in the mail.

    • I’m certain it was them because the whole name and address thing, but also when I called to take my name off the list and I said something along the lines of “I got cans of formula in the mail” the lady responded something along the lines of “We partner with certain companies blah de blah.” To me, that sounds like she was saying that they do indeed partner with the formula companies and give them my information.

  2. Boycott maybe…definitely sone strongly worded letters! I’d be happy to send one myself. I’m not a big fan of Motherhood Maternity, the shop girls are rude & unhelpful in Omaha, anyhow so a boycott works for me. I’ll be sharing your discovery with everyone I know as well! Thanks for filling me in! I was wondering why I was sent formula too!

    • I think I am going to do the letter writing thing. Look forward to another post about it!

  3. I say organize a letter-writing campaign. Simply boycotting isn’t enough. Gather lactivits en mass to write letters and make phone calls to Motherhood Maternity asking them to rethink their partnership. Then if they don’t get the message by changing their policies, bring on the boycott!

    • Ooo how you put it makes letter writing definitely sound like the way to go. I think that I’ll do that. Look forward to another post about this later!

  4. I would definitely Boycott for that reason. Though strangely enough, I’ve shopped their in the past and have received NOTHING from them- and I have done the “give them your address” thing. So I don’t know what’s wrong with me. 🙂

    • You haven’t even received magazines and such in the mail? They’re American Baby and Parenting. Maybe some others? I doubt I would have even thought these things were from them if I didn’t know that’s the only place I signed up at with my maiden name and mother’s address.

  5. I can’t say anything of boycotting, because I’ve never shopped there, but I got something like four sample cans of Similac and four Enfamil in the course of my pregnancy/newborn days.

    I gave all but a can of it to moms who needed the formula, because I knew they were struggling to cover the costs. I’ve got no love for formula companies, but if I ever had samples or coupons, they were right to women I knew who needed them.

    • I would give them to someone that was already formula feeding, but I don’t know anyone who currently is. I thought about giving them to a shelter, but I just can’t get past the message I feel like I would be sending.

      • I generally agree that promoting breastfeeding in a shelter would be a very good thing, but at the same time — there are surely mothers there already formula feeding, and it would probably help them.

        Which is not to say that formula companies should be sending samples, and that MM should be partnering with them, but that there can be some good from it.

      • That definitely makes sense. If I get any more before I’m off the list, I’ll definitely take it into the shelter.

  6. I have stopped shopping there for the same reason. I gave them my info when I bought my first maternity top. Turns out they misspelled my name when they put it in their database so now I know whenever things are coming from that list. All the magazines I’ve received have been sponsored by formula companies (filled with their subtle booby trapping advice) and I received shipments to my home from two different formula companies. The worst was the second time, shortly after my son was born. Because the shipper required a signature it was sent to a post office outlet (not that close to our home). I was all excited, expecting an online order or maybe a gift. We schlepped all the way there with the baby only to find a backpack *full* of formula and bottles. I was so annoyed – that was the last straw for me. All that said, I have donated all the formula to a shelter because they have moms there who are using formal anyway and can’t afford it and I have a hard time throwing expensive things in the garbage.

  7. I had the same experience with Motherhood. As soon as I bought from them I got a ton of crap in the mail, and several samples of formula (which I donated to my MILs church food bank).

  8. I thought it was fairly well-known that Motherhood Maternity sign-ups resulted in formula at your door. I got a can of Enfamil in my mail back in May, and I called to find out where they got my info. They told me they got my name from a mailing list distributor called Take 5 Solutions. So then I called Take 5 and asked where *they* got my name, and they said that I had opted in on a website. I asked which one, and they said WhatToExpect.com back in February. I told them that I had certainly not and that I also dislike the WhatToExpect brand as well and had not even gone to their website, no less signed up for anything there. So, I don’t know where they really got my name. I was thinking maybe Parents magazine since my husband signed me up for a free subscription there. It’s the only thing I could think of.

    • Stupid formula companies are everywhere! It’s a stupid system in general that companies can just give your information to their “partners” without getting your permission first anyway.

  9. I am a very pro breastfeeding mom. I nursed my son for 20 months and am now into month 7 with my daughter. I have shopped at Motherhood often and have gotten formula samples in the mail as well as coupons and checks. Personally it is not my choice to use this formula so I sell it on Ebay to those who do use it. I have no need for it and I don’t know anyone currently who is formula feeding. I stay at home with my son and daughter so we need any form of extra income we can come by. This might not be the right thing to do, but if they want to send it to me for free then I am ok with making some cash out of it. 🙂

    • That actually makes sense. Not only are you making money, but you’re not forcing the formula onto moms who want to breastfeed.

  10. Actually, I think it happened to me, too!

    Enfamil sent me an email the other day – “Welcome to Enfamil Family Beginnings!” And I was like . . . . . um who do you think you ARE, infiltrating my inbox with your filth? LOL

    Needless to say, I unsubscribed immediately, but I couldn’t figure out how they got my email . . . until I realized that I signed up for coupons from Motherhood Maternity with that email address a few weeks back.

  11. I get so mad when I get formula samples in the mail. I also get all kinds of mailings from formula companies. The last one I got, I called and told them not to send me anything that I am a breastfeeding mama! I do donate my formula to our local breastfeeding center. The owner/lactation consultant distributes it to moms who are having supply issues.

    • It’s funny because I actually called the formula company the first time and was taken off their list, but I’m guessing that I was put back on it because Motherhood Maternity’s crap.

  12. I am a very pro breastfeeding mom. I nursed my son for 20 months and am now into month 7 with my daughter. I have shopped at Motherhood often and have gotten formula samples in the mail as well as coupons and checks. Personally it is not my choice to use this formula so I sell it on Ebay to those who do use it. I have no need for it and I don’t know anyone currently who is formula feeding. I stay at home with my son and daughter so we need any form of extra income we can come by. This might not be the right thing to do, but if they want to send it to me for free then I am ok with making some cash out of it. 🙂

  13. Motherhood definitely does this, although you can opt out at the time of checkout (online or in stores). They don’t make it clear that that’s what you’re signing up for (they say something vague like samples & free products or say nothing at all), and they don’t tell you you can opt out, so it is a booby trap for uninformed parents. I actually got formula in the mail right after I miscarried. Awesome.

    I had the same dilemma of what to do with the cans. One sat till it expired, so I tossed it. One I donated to a local women/children food bank, but I still don’t know if that was the “right” thing to do.

    I have mixed feelings about Motherhood. On the one hand, I’m wearing their maternity jeans at this very moment, and they are the bomb. Motherhood has a nice selection and the stores are easily accessible, being in most malls; not the cheapest store, but their sales can make things affordable. On the other hand, I think their marketing tactics are slimy, so I make sure to preface any recommendations I give for them with that info.

    Mostly, I’m mad at the formula companies for not following the WHO Code. But it’s true the fact that Motherhood allies itself with those WHO Code-busting companies isn’t the best thing ethically.

  14. Pingback: Friday Focus: The 2020 Healthy People Goals (awesome!), and an over-due “Amy the Lactivist” rant

  15. I’m in on the boycott! I KNOW it was Motherhood Maternity that sold my name. We don’t have any other maternity store in town. With my first kiddo, I had a homebirth. I am CERTAIN my midwife didn’t put me on the list to recieve Similac in the mail. Nor the Parenting magazine that I don’t agree with almost in it’s entirety. So baby #2 is in the oven, and I’m getting emails from Enfamil. WELL, this momma is studying to be LLL Leader, so I certainly didn’t put myself on any list. This email came a couple weeks after buying granny panties for my growing body. Motherhood Maternity is on my BAD list.

  16. I understand your wants and needs for breast feeding and that your passionate about the health and benefits. It sounds to me like motherhood is giving out free samples not discriminating to who they give them too. Some women this may be really helpful too. So I think you ladies should be adults about it, wake up and realize their are children out their starving in this world and dying every day even in the good ole USA. Get your head out of the sand and put forth your efforts to do good instead of cackling like hens.

    • I understand how some women would find this helpful, but many, many other women who are trying to breastfeed and struggling would be more tempted to give up with having samples in their house. Formula companies can still give out free formula by sending coupons, but they know that physically putting that formula in someone’s house makes them more likely to use it. They are violating the WHO code. And as for children who are starving, if we gave those moms better support for breastfeeding, they would have free food sitting right in front of them all the time.

  17. I am also FURIOUS with Motherhood Maternity. My mom bought me jeans there and when I went to exchange them for a different size they wouldn’t let me unless I gave them my personal info for them to sell. What a bunch of slimeballs.

  18. Wow. I’m really shocked that’s someone would take their time to complain this much (and this lengthy) about being sent free stuff instead of simply donating it or throwing it away. If you stress less about unimportant things, you will be happier.

    • It may seem inconsequential to you, but it’s the little things that undermine breastfeeding success. Yes, it’s just a free thing I could throw away if I don’t want to, but if these companies are sending out so many free products (that definitely aren’t free to make), doesn’t that say there’s a pretty good motive behind it? There’s a reason that the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative specifically says hospitals can not allow free formula samples to be certified and that is because having a can of formula sitting there waiting has been shown to decrease the duration of breastfeeding.

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