Mexico City Just Launched The Worst Breastfeeding Campaign You’ve Ever Seen
In the best case scenarios, breastfeeding campaigns exist to educate women about their options and can also serve to destigmatize hang-ups many people have with seeing women breastfeed in public. In the worst case scenarios, they become something akin to what Mexico City produced this month – a campaign using gorgeous, skinny celebrities to shame women into choosing breast over formula. Major fail.
First of all, how many breastfeeding mothers look like this? The banner that covers their breasts reads, “No les des la espalda, dale pecho” which translates to,Â “Don’t turn you back on them, give them your breast.” Great. That’s all postpartum women need; aÂ skinny model with a six pack telling them not to turn their back on their child by feeding them formula. Who thought of this idea? It had to be a man, right? Please tell me it was a man.
Breast-feeding rates in Mexico are among the lowest in Latin America. Only 14 percent of women breast-feed their children exclusively in the first six months, the recommended standard set by the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, childhood obesity and breast cancer in Mexico are on the rise. Studies show breast-feeding might help lower the risk for both diseases.
NPR interviewedÂ Regina Tames, of the reproductive rights group GIRE. She attributed the low breastfeeding rates to poverty, poor nutrition, and more women entering the workforce. Anyone who has ever tried to maintain breastfeeding while working full time will tell you how hard it is.
So someone thought taking famous models and slapping a guilt-ridden message across their breasts would encourage women to breastfeed? Terrible. In all of these campaigns, it is important to remember to support a woman’s decision first. Women need to tools to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, in an environment of support – not shame.
Mexico City’s health director declined several requests for interviews. He told local radio that now the campaign will focus on opening 92 lactation rooms throughout the city and two milk banks. And those pictures of the topless actresses are no longer on the city’s website.