Friday, July 16, 2010

Breastfeeding Advertising and Public Image

There's a new ad campaign by Best for Babies which describes breastfeeding as a miracle. "According to the ad, the real miracle isn’t the bra, but mothers, and their ability to make milk for their own and others’ babies."

The Best for Babes Foundation was established in 2007 to fight the barriers to breastfeeding, and to give breastfeeding a makeover by using mainstream marketing and branding.

I think this is much needed, and I'm really glad that breastfeeding advertising has had a makeover. The "Breast is Best" campaign wasn't able to really shift infant feeding mentality in the United States.

However, while I love the depiction of breastfeeding as a miracle, I can't help but wonder if it will have the desired impact in shifting views of breastfeeding. One potential problem I see is that it doesn't necessarily normalize breastfeeding. Afterall, if we want all mothers to breastfeed their babies, doesn't this mean we need to normalize breastfeeding for the public? If we tout breast as being best or being a miracle, are we successfully normalizing this amazing, beautiful, natural, NORMAL process?

What do you think? Does the new ad campaign portray the right image of breastfeeding? Do you think it will help normalize breastfeeding and shift public images about infant feeding? Is there anything that can be done to counteract the mass advertising by formula companies?

Do you know why breastfeeding is essential and formula is bad for babies? The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Dr. Jack Newman is an excellent resource. Dr. Newman explains why formula is bad, but the bulk of the book is dedicated to helping mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges and successfully nourish their babies the way their bodies were designed to.

There are real dangers of using infant formula, and this is something I think we should be advertising. Expose the risk of NOT breastfeeding, and then maybe we'll get the message across of how normal and essential breastfeeding really is. It may be controversial to come straight at formula as being bad for babies, but should we be walking on egg shells worrying about offending people, or should we be exposing the lies the formula companies have perpetuated?

Here is a video on the subject that I really like. What are your thoughts?

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