Millennials differ greatly from other generations in countless ways, including how pediatricians and moms respond to the marketing tactics of nationally advertised brands of infant formula, according to the new Perrigo Nutritionals Pulse of Pediatricians1 survey. Perrigo Nutritionals manufactures much of the Private Brand formula in the U.S.. An overwhelming 96% of pediatricians say feeding is one of the top three questions they get from new moms. When it comes to infant formula, however, millennial moms and older pediatricians have vastly different viewpoints.
The survey found that 67% of older pediatricians provide free baby formula samples to moms and 39% are specifically recommending that brand to moms for continued use. Compare that to millennial pediatricians, where only 51% hand out free samples of infant formula and only 18% specifically recommend that brand. Product samples are distributed to doctors’ offices and hospitals from nationally advertised brands of infant formula such as Enfamil and Similac as part of their marketing programs.* Nationally advertised brands of infant formula cost up to 50% more than private brand infant formulas, which meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition.**
Interestingly, 41% of older moms view free samples as an implied endorsement of that brand by the pediatrician compared to only 26% of millennial moms. Millennials, known for being less brand-loyal than older generations, are also less likely than older moms to stick to that brand post-sample. The survey found 40% of older moms said they used that same brand throughout their baby’s first year, versus only 25% of millennial moms.
“While all doctors would agree that breastfeeding is best for a baby, the reality is that it’s just not always possible or what’s in the best interest of every family,” said Dr. Jamie Wells, board-certified pediatrician and child expert named among America’s Top Pediatricians. “It’s refreshing to see the change in approach from millennial doctors when it comes to formula samples from nationally advertised brands, especially since store brand infant formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands of formula and offers families significant savings.”**
Millennial moms make up 83% of all new moms, as well as 15% of all doctors.
The survey found that 79% of millennial pediatricians agree that heavily marketed, nationally advertised brands of infant formula (such as Similac and Enfamil) are nutritionally comparable to store brand infant formulas, a figure that drops to 63% when the question was asked of older pediatricians.
The survey also found different responses to the pediatrician/mom relationship. A majority of pediatricians (53%) feel that moms can be reluctant to ask questions during checkups, but moms wholeheartedly disagreed, with only 18% feeling reluctant to do so. Interestingly, millennial moms are three times more likely to ask a question of an older pediatrician than a pediatrician their age or younger (75% vs 25% of respondents).
Pediatricians also have plenty of sound advice to share. When asked for the best question they wish new moms would ask, many pediatricians simply want moms to worry less, trust their instincts more and enjoy their newborn. They want moms to ask about anything that concerns them so they can provide the best care for their baby. As one pediatrician replied when asked what she’d wish moms would ask, “Anything that begins with ‘I know this may sound crazy, but…'”
That being said, the survey found that all pediatricians get their share of strange questions from new moms. The most surreal include:
- Can I put ___ in my baby’s bottle? (including soda, camel milk, or even a Twinkie)
- Can I chew my baby’s food for him?
- Where is my baby’s birthmark? I can’t find it.
- Can I bring my baby to a tanning salon to get a base tan?
1 The Pulse of Pediatricians survey used SERMO, the largest online network exclusively for physicians, to survey 500 pediatricians representing 395 older doctors (ages 36+) and 105 millennial doctors (ages 35 years and younger) and queried 500 moms utilizing the Survey Sampling Institute (SSI). SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research.
*Enfamil® is a registered trademark of Mead Johnson & Co. Similac® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories.
Store Brand Infant Formulas are not made by or affiliated with Mead Johnson & Co. or Abbott Laboratories.
**Total savings with Store Brand Infant Formula calculations based on a price per fl. oz. comparison of Store Brand Infant Formulas and their comparable national brands. Retail prices are from a February 2016 retail price survey of assorted stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.