Will Advertisers Begin Targeting Moms Who Breastfeed in Public?
7 months ago
A new Luvs commercial may be the start of a trend
When moms breastfeed in public, they sometimes invite disparaging glances and unsolicited suggestions from any and all passersby. Despite the fact that more than 4 million babies are born each year, breastfeeding in public is a topic neither parents, politicians, nor passersby can agree upon.
In 2005, "The View" co-host Barbara Walters admitted to feeling uncomfortable at the sight of a woman breastfeeding on an airplane, sparking women to stage a "nurse-in" outside ABC's offices. In 2007, Facebook caught flack from self-described 'lactivists' for the company's decision to remove images of breastfeeding and ban the mothers for posting "obscene content." Last year, a controversial Time magazine cover featuring a 4-year-old boy suckling at his mother's breast was alternately described by even a parenting blog as, "Totally, totally hot. Or gross and weird. Or both."
Now Luvs, the diaper company that counts moms, breastfeeding or not, among its core customer base, has entered the fray. Luv's newest commercial is meant to encourage moms to rely on its disposable "Ultra Leakguards" collection for their babies' diapering needs. But the ad also may inadvertently inspire moms (and the general public) to rid themselves of any discomfort they may feel about breastfeeding in public.
The 30-second clip from Luvs shows a new mom struggling to nurse her infant while shielding both the baby and her breast with a blanket while seated in a restaurant. In the next frame, the same mom is an unashamed and unapologetic "expert" toting another newborn at her uncovered breast, her now-toddler by her side, shooting a shocked waiter a look that silently conveys, "You got a problem?" The pamper being promoted doesn't even make a cameo.
“The whole campaign is a humorous take on how different parents can be with the first kid and then the second kid,” Tricia Higgins, Luvs' communications manager told Baby Gooroo, a website that provides information about children's health. But Amy Spangler, the site's president and a world-renowned breastfeeding and child nutrition expert, hopes Luvs' influence exceeds its intentions.
"It takes a topic that many people still have a little bit of discomfort with and wraps it in enough humor to make it approachable and inviting," Spangler said. "I hope that other corporations step up to the plate and use breastfeeding, not so much as a means of promoting just that, but as an everyday behavior. But our biggest advocates for making it seem more normal are the mothers themselves. We need to encourage them, despite their own hesitation, to be more willing to breastfeed wherever they happen to be when their child indicates that they're hungry—whether that be in someone's home or Grand Central Station. Once something becomes common, it becomes the new norm."