Presentation Information

Dr. Virginia Thorley

Marketing messages: bottles and teats across 160 years, 1851-2011

  • Speaker: Dr. Virginia Thorley , PhD, IBCLC, FILCA
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 30 Mins
  • Credits: .5 CERP, .5 Nursing CEU, .5 CME

During the 160 years 1851-2011, some designs of bottles and nipples appeared briefly; others were similar across brands and continued for years. Old and new designs often coexisted. A breast-shaped bottle briefly appeared in the mid-nineteenth century and has reappeared with different materials and modifications. Various valve systems have been tried. Complexity in bottle/nipple systems made some designs difficult to use, even unsafe. Old claims have repeatedly reappeared to market new products. These include: ‘anti-colic’, prevention of air swallowing, ‘natural’, ‘like mother’, ‘just like a mother’s breast’, ‘orthodontic’ and ‘slow’. As mothers commonly switched brands, some companies produced more than one design. Paying more is no guarantee that a product will be ‘better’. In practice, the more expensive bottles often resist attempts to ‘pace’ bottle-feeding when transitioning an infant to the breast. Marketing claims should be viewed with skepticism, as an evidence base from independent research is usually lacking.