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"Breast Milk Satisfies" Billboards Appear in Northern Ohio

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?

The Ohio Department of Health is being praised and criticized by citizens.  AdFreak reports:

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.

Photo by cleveland leaderCleveland billboard promotes breastfeeding.

Cleveland billboard promotes breastfeeding.

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.


  1. Bill Henning says:

    People seem outraged because of the milk slobber on the black baby’s chin. Not mentioned anywhere else is the fact that there is a white baby too. The white baby foes not have the slobber all over it’s chin like it’s black counterpart – and the white baby is not place in as many spots. Why? because they are trying to reach the target market – unemployed black women who don’t take care of their kids. The slobber is on the kids mouth so the the black women who can’t read will be able to figure it out.

  2. Bill, I did not address the race issue in my post, but you are correct, the other billboard features a white baby with no dribble. I don’t agree with you that it is to address illiterate women, as they would just assume it was regular cow’s milk, but the more I think about it, the more it is rooted in deeper prejudices. There are plenty of unemployed white women who also don’t take care of their children, and not just in Ohio.

  3. Wow…I am just as shocked about Bill´s comment as I am about someone saying brest milk is disgusting.

    Any kind of advertising that gets people talking about the “product” is good advertising. Maybe now that it´s on the news mom´s who first didn´t plan to nurse or were unsure look more into the advantages of breastfeeding. And if it´s only one mom, well then there is at least one more baby out there thanks to this ad.

  4. I find the dribble cute, but then my toddler does that pretty often when she’s had a pretty good feed. It’s silly to show it, though, on the black baby and not the white one. How hard is it to just have the same ad with the race being the only difference?

    It should be interesting to see if these billboards do help. They don’t exactly provide much information, even for a billboard. But sometimes less is more.

  5. I think that if I were to do some *major* peeling away of the many layers of this ad, I’m not sure that the “breast milk satisfies” line *is* irrelevant to lactation success. Just think of how much media literacy it takes to decode those formula feeding ads which promote things like “comfort proteins.” Just think of easy it is for *so many mothers* of all socio-economic and educational levels to infer that the relative frequency of early nursing means somehow that breast milk *doesn’t* satisfy infants.

    I guess it would just be interesting to see what sort of audience the ad was targeting–and what sorts of particular *local* misunderstandings the ad may have been targeting.

  6. Very interesting topics.I am looking this type of topics, I need more informations because everyone knows “Health is wealth” is very much known to all and everyone wants good health.That means no one wants to leave this wealth. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

  7. I think we need to educated Mothers on the health benefits of breast feeding instead of a formula brought from the grocery store. The baby being satisified could mean that they are getting better nurtrients from mom.

  8. Cleveland Mom says:

    I love the ads and don’t find them offensive at all. I am a black woman with a couple college degrees and the black baby caught my attention and made me laugh because that is exactly how my son would look after nursing. I guess it depends on your own experiences and education level. Everything isn’t meant to be offensive, though i can see how some things get misunderstood to be.

  9. Forget black, white, milk dribble, non-milk dribble. The problem is the word “satisfies”. If they would have replaced “satisfies” with “nourishes”, the ad would be better received and far more effective.

  10. I think the problem african americans have with the ad is not with dribble but that it looks like chocolate milk. As if african-american women make chocolate breast milk.

  11. Interesting, the boy is cute though.. whatever is it that you’re thinking, it already got our attention right?..


  1. […] Breastfeed. And don’t stop until baby is done. Yes, I know that the working world is often at odds with those who both have and are nourished by breasts, but do your best. That’s all any of us can do as parents overall, breastfeeders especially. […]

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