Starting a focus group for how to improve LLL is all well and good - but it wasn't the topic of this thread. The only PR issue I see here is the one that New Zealand public health sidestepped by *listening* to LLL and the other organizations, whose opinions they specifically solicited, when they pointed out the potential conflict of interest in the image. Public health is public health, and good for them for maintaining consistency in their messaging, whether it's an add about smoking or anything else. That is smart PR, and good for public welfare.
Why is the focus even on LLL? Why not the public health folks? After all, they asked for and accepted the recommendation. I'm just not sure how this devolved into "my area LLL sucks", talk of Nazis (?!), and defending life circumstances that may have led to bottlefeeding breastmilk. I think most people agree here more than disagree. We all know that breastmilk from the breast is the best thing you can offer. Pumped milk second. Donor pumped milk third. Formula a distant fourth.
There will always be circumstances that cause people to fall in the second or third camp - but if we don't uphold the gold standard AS the gold standard, what are we doing??? So many people don't even KNOW that it's the gold standard! So many people are shamed or excluded for breastfeeding at the actual breast! Clearly, we need more imagery around this, and more information. Parents do the best they can do, and sometimes that's silver and bronze. I do think LLL should learn to provide support within those choices, once they are made. But I don't understand why anyone would expect a breastfeeding advocacy organization to "water down" an overall message that is already not getting through to people, or not try to normalize it culturally.
Hell, that's not even what they were doing - they were just giving a solicited opinion, that a picture of a dad feeding a bottle might be construed as promotion of formula feeding, and present a PR problem for public health. Even if you support bottlefeeding pumped milk, you have to admit it could be taken the wrong way, and perhaps it's best to avoid the risk.
Let's say the LLL's version of the story at face value and move on. And then what happened? Did you see the media coverage? Did you see the public's out cry against the organization? How could they not have seen that requesting an image of a father feeding his baby be edited would lead to such an uproar? THIS is where I say they should see the forest for the trees. There are many so called "gold standards" for a lot of things in life but not everything is so cut and dry. In this case it was a father (not an actor) feeding his own freaking baby. To object to that image sent the organization into its own PR mess.
You ask why women come here and defend their 'second, third, distant fourth' choices. Simply because they want their stories to be told. They want their perspective to be taken into consideration. No organization exists in a vacuum. It is a mistake to disregard the combination of choices women (parents) are most likely to make simply because one is trying to uphold a gold standard many are not able to uphold. I think the LLL approach needs to be more nuanced and I think seeing the long view picture is smarter for public health and the LLL.
I feel bad for my fellow women who have had unpleasant run ins with lactivists. I especially feel bad for women who do all the work of pumping and still get the "your choice is not the gold standard..." (implied or otherwise). In addition, while my children were breastfed from the tap until they weaned themselves, I feel uncomfortable with the idea that my choices were inherently better than fellow mothers who are also trying to figure out what works best for their family. This is why my brand of lactivism is the kind that gives info about breastfeeding and then supports to make it happen. If it doesn't and mama chooses something else, then oh well -- that is okay too. Such is life. And holy cow! I certainly don't go around telling pumping women it is better to have the babies feed directly from the breast! Sheesh.