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Public Breastfeeding Ad Leads to Controversy

Is This Breastfeeding Ad Really That Controversial?

For one of the most natural things you can do, it's unbelievable how controversial breastfeeding seems to be. And when moms try to feed their babies in public, the claws really come out! So it is no surprise that nursing advocates are striking back.

The state of Texas is considering bill HB1706, which would protect breastfeeding moms from harassment, so when two graphic design students at the University of North Texas were given an assignment to "complete a project as if they were working for real clients" they designed an ad campaign supporting the passage of the bill. The campaign features three ads, including one with 21-year-old Monica Young nursing her baby in a public bathroom stall with the words "Private dining" printed above her. The body copy for all three ads reads:

"Would you eat here? By law, breastfeeding mothers are not protected from harassment and refusal of service in public, often forcing them to feed in secluded spaces such as public bathrooms. To help take a stand, visit, because a baby should never be nurtured where nature calls."

The duo researched La Leche League, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, and Borden before creating the ads and made them part of a larger plan that would also include a website and app showing women where they could comfortably nurse. But though the campaign is only a classroom project, the designers and the star of one of their ads are running into a few bumps in the road. Critics are blasting the images (and the bill) for encouraging "public nudity" and, at it's worst, teen pregnancy. Comments on Facebook posts about the campaign are turning into virtual brawls leading Young to write:

"My point in participating in this ad wasn't just for the legislation, but to shed light on a problem that most people don't even realize is an actual problem. And just because you've never been harassed while NIP [nursing in public] doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Nursing your child in a bathroom, car, anywhere but where he mother is comfortable for fear of anything is a problem . . .

"Whether I was a too young or not, what does it matter what age I am? Teen moms breastfeed, too. I'm 21, so yeah I'm pretty young, and younger mothers are less likely to breastfeed. So hopefully it will encourage younger mothers to breastfeed, breastfeed in public and to not be ashamed to do any of it. (Plus I think my expression and the colors used in the ads depict how I feel about nursing in a bathroom, but that's just my opinion)"

What do you think?

Join The Conversation
YasapKoliwan YasapKoliwan 3 years

In Papua New Guinea we have a healthy respect for mothers who breast feed in public. In fact even the most liberal minded of you I think would react rather conservatively once walking around PNG's Capital, Port Moresby. Women here do not feel the need to run away and hide so their babies can be fed, in fact you could walk down a street and see a mother sitting in the shade of a tree feeding her infant, I've even seen women in line at the bank breast feeding. In my society a nursing mother is a beautiful thing and breast feeding is encouraged by doctors and midwives throughout the country as the healthiest option for a child. I would dare anyone to go up to a breastfeeding mother in my country and tell them to go to the toilets and feed their child! More likely than not the person would be on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich provided for by the woman's husband!

SheriPinnixGeorge SheriPinnixGeorge 3 years

what? off topic rant? really. I responded to a post about the age. How is that off topic, when I didn't even start the thread.

SheriPinnixGeorge SheriPinnixGeorge 3 years

The woman I was responding with deleted all her comments, so you have no idea what I was referring to or speaking about.

SheriPinnixGeorge SheriPinnixGeorge 3 years

The woman deleted her comment, so don't tell me to chill when you can't even see what was posted there prior.

SheriPinnixGeorge SheriPinnixGeorge 3 years

I replied to a comment about the picture! HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!

SheriPinnixGeorge SheriPinnixGeorge 3 years

LOL That is exactly what I did! My opinion. My comment. It is what I think. I have no idea why you would think otherwise. I didn't say the public thinks this way. I said the general public of teenagers shouldn't be mothers. I don't understand where you are coming from...

RenataAzevedo RenataAzevedo 3 years

have you ever tried to eat with a blanket over your head? during the summer? go tried that them come back to say what you think

RenataAzevedo RenataAzevedo 3 years

Can we not make this into a war between woman? let´s just say that Women are owners of their own body, maybe they feel good showing cleavage, maybe they fell good about covering themselves up. it doesn't matter to the topic being discuss, if it would meter i would mention that in my experience, religious, covered up woman are the first ones to throw stones when i was breastfeeding

about the ad, it was brilliant executed, this kids have a future in advertising.

marilyngeorge24807 marilyngeorge24807 3 years

If a waiter had asked me to nurse my baby in a toilet stall, I'd have asked, "Do YOU like to eat among toilets?"
Defend mothers!

Vanessa-KayBostwick1384145449 Vanessa-KayBostwick1384145449 3 years

I feel terrible. I accidentally hit "yes". I totally support breast feeding, anywhere! Also, I was 19 when I got married and could have easily had a baby by 21. I've seen more breast showing on women who were not breast feeding, but just walking around in public.

KristiAdmonis KristiAdmonis 3 years

Being a mother of two that breastfeed both this add hits home. I have spent many nursing sessions in public restrooms for fear of the stares and judgmental comments. I applaud this mom (young or old, age doesn't matter) for taking a stand. we as nursing mothers need to take a stand. my daughter is 20 months an I get criticized by family and friends for still nursing her. My child my body mind your business. it makes me cringe that people are offended by such a natural and beautiful thing.

KathleenRoland691 KathleenRoland691 3 years

I'm a DD cup too, and nursed whenever the twins needed to. It's not like you pull them out and shake them around (i'd knock myself out with them if I did) you see a flash. I nursed the twins together and they covered more of my breast than many clothes do.

KathleenRoland691 KathleenRoland691 3 years

I would much rather my kids seeing nursing mother and baby than some tramp showing more skin that the mom's do.

KathleenRoland691 KathleenRoland691 3 years

My twins were born in July in south Florida. Until the first cool front, that you actually feel a temperature change comes in late November or early December it's hot and humid! My twins would sweat under the cover and once they realized they could take it off there was no keeping it on. I realized it was stupid to try and cover them when a woman sat down next to me and gave me a disgusted look. She then took powdered stuff mixed it with water and shoved the bottle in her babies mouth. After she got up I saw her top and you saw more breast with her dressed than you saw of mine while nursing two babies. How is it that men can drool over and women can show a lot of cleavage without anyone saying anything but put a baby to your breast and everyone freaks and claims they are disgusted? I got tired of the looks. I never had a problem with formula feeders. I knew I didn't want to feed my kids cow's milk that was processed with chemicals to make it more like human milk, but that was me. It wasn't til I got nasty looks and comments that I became wary of formula feeders and what they would say or do.

RowenaMarshall RowenaMarshall 3 years

Yup, Sheri seems to have missed the pointy of the article......

RowenaMarshall RowenaMarshall 3 years

bully for you!!! you prove that age is but a number.

RowenaMarshall RowenaMarshall 3 years

i honestly think you need to chill.

RowenaMarshall RowenaMarshall 3 years

i am not a fan of nursing in public...HOWEVER - i understand the necessity and would NEVER expect a mom to nurse in a public toilet..
All i expect is a little discretion - as i did when i nursed... simply put a towel over the shoulder and over the nursing baby / breast... making it 'comfortable' for those around you.
i'm not a prude, not lesbian, and not a sex crazed male.. I am just a normal person who, like many others, is uncomfortable seeing any form of public nudity.

matthewpeake matthewpeake 3 years

it may be natural but so is menstruating masturbating nudity and sex and i dont want to see that in public EITHER!

AshleyGriffin8728 AshleyGriffin8728 3 years

It seems like the people who have the most complaints about public breast feeding is other women. It makes me kinda sad that we don't get more mad about sex trafficking or other exploits instead of a mother trying to provide the best nutrition for her child. Things really need to be put into perspective. There is so much sex on prime time TV that I try to shield my children from and we are putting shame on mothers taking care of their children. It just doesn't sit well with me.

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