New Breastfeeding Campaign Shames Moms For Eating Junk Food
As if the act of breastfeeding wasn't stressful enough, a new ad campaign is aiming to add a hefty dose of shame to the experience — at least for those moms who dare to eat something other than a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain.
The three-image campaign — commissioned by Brazil's Pediatric Society of Rio Grande (SPRS) — highlights the impact a mother's diet has on her baby. In one image, an infant is nursing on a breast painted like a cheeseburger. In the others, it's a sprinkled doughnut and a cup of soda. The tag line? "Your child is what you eat."
And although it clearly makes it seem as though it's targeting just breastfeeding moms, it's actually focused on the eating choices of all pregnant women. As the ad's fine-print warning states, "Your habits in the first 1,000 days of gestation can prevent your child from developing serious diseases." (Broken down, the thousand-day benchmark includes the first weeks of pregnancy until the child is 2 years old.)
The message is based on a recent study by Robert Waterland, an associate professor of pediatrics and molecular and human genetics, which found a mom's healthy diet can result in her babies developing a gene variant that suppresses cancer growth.
But even if a healthy diet is preferable, the campaign's approach — to shame breastfeeding moms for snacking on that potato chip or sipping on that Sprite — isn't helpful. Instead of inspiring women to eat perfectly nutritious meals 100 percent of the time, which is all but impossible for those struggling to care for a newborn while juggling other responsibilities, it is more likely to encourage them to avoid nursing altogether.
And not only is the campaign demeaning, but it isn't even accurate. In actuality, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that "the mammary glands that produce your milk are able to provide your baby with highly nutritious milk even if your diet isn't perfect every day" and "milk-producing cells help regulate how much of what you eat and drink actually reaches your baby."
So, moms, please remember that your babies aren't, in fact, what you eat. And for goodness sake, enjoy your burger and fries — you created life, you've earned it!