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​Mexico City's Breastfeeding Campaign Sort of Missed The Point

Illustration for article titled ​Mexico Citys Breastfeeding Campaign Sort of Missed The Point

Women's health groups in Mexico City are understandably unimpressed by the city's new strategy to encourage and normalize breastfeeding with mothers. The series of posters, which has already been taken down from the city's website, feature a few very slender and toned female celebrities topless and braless. Censoring their breasts is a banner that reads "No les des la espalda, dale pecho" or in English, "Don't turn you back on them, give them your breast." Oh good.

Regina Tames, a reproductive rights advocate found the campaign rather disappointing on a number of levels. Carrie Kahn at NPR reports:

"It's not only a very terrible campaign in terms of how it looks, but it's also the message that if you don't breast-feed, you are a bad mother and you are the one to blame," Tames says.

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Encouraging breast feeding is crucial for Mexico, which has the one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Latin America. Tames attributes this to a whole intersection of issues including poverty and long work hours, as well as a huge stigma and even bans against breastfeeding and even pumping milk at work. Furthermore, using baby formula is very commonplace:

Heath advocates also point to Mexico's unwillingness to regulate companies that sell baby formula. Mexico has yet to sign on to the World Health Organization guidelines that restrict hospitals from handing out free baby formula and marketing their products to new mothers.

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But it looks like the City's taken the criticism to heart, working to draw up a new campaign. Hopefully one that's less focused on famous and beautiful and sexualized topless women while putting the blame on mothers and more on the importance of breastfeeding.

Image via Twitter.

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DISCUSSION

lostshrimp
lostshrimp

I am pregnant right now, and recently went for an appointment with my doctor. The nurse who came in to take my blood pressure, starting going over some information she had to give me. The usual stuff about aches and pains and upcoming things to expect, and then she pulled out a brochure on breastfeeding. I am planning on exclusively breastfeeding, bar any unforeseen circumstances, but I was made incredibly uncomfortable by a couple things in this interaction. There was no question of if I was planning to breastfeed. In her mind it was a given, and she rolled right into her spiel about how they are a breastfeeding encouraging hospital and no pacifiers or bottles in the labor ward, and barring any complications they encourage skin to skin contact immediately after birth. These aren't things that I am against. Not by a long shot. But I cannot fathom how a woman who was choosing not to breastfeed (for any number of reasons) would have felt. The whole thing felt so forced, that I can't imagine being confident enough to say "no, actually I am not planning to breastfeed" if I wasn't planning to breastfeed.

These choices are there to be made by the women whose bodies are being given to their children. I am realizing more and more how the "mommy wars" could be a truly traumatizing thing for the people who decide to go against the accepted mainstream norm. Since when is my parenting and bodily choices anyone else's to judge? I realize I have rambled but I am just feeling very steamrolled in this whole pregnancy experience. Everyone has an opinion, or a conflicting experience, and at some point enough is enough. Live and let live ladies.