Mums – particularly new ones – can be afraid of breastfeeding in public.
So an advert supporting those who believe publicly breastfeeding your baby is wrong isn’t going to go down too well.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received over 100 complaints about Baby Dove’s latest skincare adverts.
One ad contains the line: “75% say breastfeeding in public is fine, 25% say put them away. What’s your way?”
The other shows a crying baby and reads: “36% are for feeding him when he cries, 64% are passionately against it. What’s your way?”
Several parents have raised concerns on Facebook and Twitter after the adverts appeared to show encourage a “poor or neglectful” parenting style and a negative perception of breastfeeding in public.
— Lucy MacRae (@324_lucy) July 1, 2017
— // Duffy // (@Duffy_Louise) July 1, 2017
“Like thousands of others, I feel beyond saddened to see this campaign and cannot for the life of me understand how this was agreed,” Vanessa Christie posted on Facebook. “Your campaign is only fuelling the largely media-driven vulnerability women feel about feeding in public and the supposed ‘mummy wars’.
“This is not showing that you are a warm, nurturing, inclusive or understanding brand in the slightest. This is divisive and damaging on numerous levels. I hope that this campaign is pulled swiftly.”
Another commenter, Kelly Anne, also expressed dismay at the campaign, writing: “I cannot continue purchasing from a company that condones people who ignore a child crying for hunger, or shame a mother for feeding her child in public no matter her method. The first is abuse and the second is damaging to an already low breastfeeding rate in our country and illegal to boot.”
Parenting blogger Sarah Turner posted an open letter to Baby Dove on Facebook, explaining how showing support for those who criticise public breastfeeding could put mums off of the feeding technique.
“No woman should be made to feel ashamed for feeding their baby in public,” she wrote.
“If you are standing with people who think breastfeeding in public is not okay, are you also with them if they ask a breastfeeding mum to cover up, or if they think she would be better off sat feeding in a restaurant toilet?”
Unliever – the company behind Baby Dove – said the adverts aimed to celebrate a range of parenting styles rather than favouring one over the other.
“We believe there are many ways to be a great mum or dad,” a spokesperson commented.
“Our campaign simply aims to celebrate the different approaches and opinions around parenting, including whether or not mums choose to breastfeed in public, recognising that it’s ultimately what works for you and your baby that matters the most.”
The law surrounding breastfeeding in public is clear. In England and Wales, it is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place.
However, the stigma still exists with a 2016 survey revealing that breastfeeding rates in the UK were among the lowest in the world.
The ASA are investigating the complaints and will reach a decision on whether the adverts need to be modified or removed.
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