You have probably seen the latest mother-shaming campaign sponsored by, big surprise, Nestle. In case you don’t know, Nestle makes synthetic infant formula, and has gotten into trouble from the World Health Organization for its aggressive marketing tactics against breastfeeding.
The latest ad campaign put out by the Brazilian Paediatric Society of Rio Grande do Sul (SPRS) has gained world-wide condemnation from health experts for undermining breastfeeding. SPRS based this campaign on a recent research study by Robert Waterland, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular and Human Genetics, which found that a mom’s healthy diet can result in her babies developing a gene variant that suppresses cancer growth.
SPRS is making quite a nonsensical leap to turn these findings around and make the claim that eating a cheeseburger is going to turn mother’s milk “bad” and become detrimental or harmful to their babies. Those claims are NOT based on fact, and actually go against what we DO know about human milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics claims: “The mammary glands that produce your milk are able to provide your baby with highly nutritious milk even if your diet isn’t perfect every day.”
Now, the SPRS is trying to distance themselves from Nestle and edit their content to make it seem as though Nestle did not have anything to do with this mother-shaming campaign. However, the advocates over at Baby Milk Action are not letting them off the hook.
Motherhood is stressful. Breastfeeding our babies can be difficult. Mothers need to be supported and applauded for doing what they know is best for their babies – not be shamed if they don’t have a perfect diet. Yes, eating well is a great idea for mothers and babies. But eating a cheeseburger or having that donut is no reason to feel as though you’re harming your baby. The fact that this campaign was promoted by a formula maker only makes it that much more insidious.