27 May Medela – Using latest technology and health professionals to influence consumers
Stretching the Rules
Medela AG Lättichstrasse 4b
6341 Baar, Switzerland
On the Medela US website, the company proclaims their MyMedela App as “Your breastfeeding partner”. By launching a mobile app under the guise of promoting breastfeeding, Medela is able to create a good image for the company especially among mothers. The app is also a powerful tool to increase brand exposure.
The MyMedela App apparently allows mothers to track their breastfeeding/pumping sessions and progress and receive personalised breastfeeding tips and educational information. The other “feature” of the app as advertised on the website is its connectivity to Sonata, which is said to be Medela’s “first smart breast pump”. Although breast pump is not covered under the scope of the International Code, the promotion of Sonata breast pump undermines breastfeeding nonetheless.
Additionally, with a 24/7 LC membership, mothers who use the MyMedela app are given instant access to live lactation consultants and real-time consultation using video chat. The participation of lactation consultants equals endorsement of the company as they could be perceived as interacting with mothers on behalf of the company through the app.
This affiliation also gives rise to conflicts of interest as the duty of a health worker is to protect and encourage breastfeeding, and so they should not in any way be associated with a notorious International Code violator like Medela. The company heavily promotes its feeding bottle and Calma teat which are products covered under the scope of the International Code.
Information solicited from mothers about their breastfeeding journey and their babies via the app could be utilised by Medela to tailor its promotion to match the different stages of development of these mother’s babies.