The Psychology Of Prepared Parenting – Suck This!
Have you seen this ad? If you are like the eight women who responded to our survey, you probably haven’t seen this exact ad, but maybe something like it. New York City has posted similar ads in subways that promote breastfeeding. Like one respondent noted, “There is no question that breast milk is the healthiest option for mom and baby.” But, how is the message of these ads received by all mothers?
All eight mothers had breastfed at least one of their children, with all but one rating their experience as either “Excellent” or “Good.” One mother rated her experience as “Terrible” and commented that even her hired lactation consultant was no help. The mothers gave varied responses when answering the item: “Describe what you think you would feel if you saw this ad.”
There was a group of mothers who believed they would feel indifferent, mothers who believed it supported breastfeeding because it is the best, and mothers who felt its primary message was to make formula look really bad. However, when women were asked how other mothers might feel, they believed some mothers “might be offended,” “like they aren’t good enough if they cannot”, or that “breastfeeding fanatics are putting out propaganda.”
When discussing these findings with Joy Rose, founder of the Museum of Motherhood, she had this to say: “While I feel very tolerant and accepting of the many different choices many women make, I feel historically – recent history, big business – has pushed and imposed the idea of formula onto women, undermining one of the most easy and most natural acts for many people. These policies are largely greed-driven and are not based on scientific evidence and are ultimately not supportive of women. Part of the contemporary landscape of mothering in America makes it too easy to medicalize, and ‘formulize’ the mothering experience.”
This gives us something to think about… It’s great that there has been a city- and state-wide promotion of breastfeeding, but we can’t stop at posters. Mothers need to be supported with breastfeeding, especially when they are having a difficult time.
Interested in getting more information on the New York State Department of Health Breastfeeding Promotion Program? Click here:
Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC organizes La Leche League Support Groups for Moms at the Museum Of Motherhood, the 3rd Friday of each month. She is also a lactation consultant. You can write her: email@example.com