Only 58.5% of Ohio’s mothers breastfeed; however, a new campaign aims to change that by advertising on billboards in the Cleveland and Toledo area. The ad consists of this cute little boy with breast milk dripping down his chin stating “Breast milk satisfies”, but is that really the best way to encourage moms to breastfeed? Is satisfaction really going to make moms breastfeed more?
Sure, there’s the implication that formula doesn’t satisfy—but the bigger issue here seems to be just what the heck is upwith that baby? One local tells Toledo’s Fox affiliate: “When I first saw it, I thought, you know, I agree with breast milk, it’s fine, but then I saw it with the milk around its mouth and I thought that was so unappealing. The baby’s cute, but I did not like the milk coming out of his mouth.”
The Cleveland Leader states:
With so many Ohioans unemployed, and more women undoubtedly applying for WIC to help pay for their formula, the state could save a lot of money if women would instead utilize the milk their body provides…
There are no bare breasts in sight, so what’s everyone finding so offensive about this ad?
Never mind how cute or attractive people find the “Got Milk” campaigns and the trademark milk mustaches. A baby with breast milk on its chin is disgusting, you know, because it came from a woman and not a cow.
Personally, I find that last statement more offensive than a little breast milk on a child’s chin. Really, breast milk is more disgusting than cow’s milk? Have you ever milked a cow?
Ironically, this ad campaign does not fit the standards of the Ohio Department of Health’s Guidelines for Evaluating Breastfeeding Educational Materials. The guidelines state:
Materials for breastfeeding education or promotion should INCLUDE factors that are necessary for breastfeeding success, and EXCLUDE factors that contribute to breastfeeding failure or are irrelevant to lactation success. The proportion of space for a topic should correspond to its relative importance to the breastfeeding relationship.
“Breast milk satisfies” seems to fit the criteria of “irrelevant to lactation success” in my opinion. Fox Toledo explains, “The purpose of the ad? Health officials said it’s to show that breast milk is the perfect food for infants and it’s promoting the bond between a mother and a child,” however, I simply don’t see it from this ad. I don’t have a problem with the billboards, but I do think they fall short of their goal.
I hope these billboards do encourage more women to breastfeed, as well as help other Ohioans examine why they find breast milk “disgusting” compared to cow’s milk.