Open letter from NOW to HHS about ad council ads - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love y'alls thoughts on this. I have mixed feelings.

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http://www.now.org/issues/mothers/06...stfeeding.html

Open Letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt

To Secretary Leavitt:

Recent commercials produced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accuse women who don't breastfeed their newborns exclusively for six months of irresponsible parenting.

The harsh commercials ignore the real barriers for women who want to breastfeed.

Equating a woman's decision not to breastfeed with log-rolling or mechanical bull riding while pregnant insults the millions of women who are physically unable to breastfeed, are advised not to breastfeed due to illness medical treatment, or are unable to breastfeed for six months because of inadequate workplace accommodations.

CONTINUED AT http://www.now.org/issues/mothers/06...stfeeding.html

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#2 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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nak...i dig it! i wish, however, that her statements were more strongly projected ... not exactly sure how right now, but i think parts are wimpy. i, too, have to think on it some more...
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#3 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:01 PM
 
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I think NOW is barking up the wrong tree. The Ad Council ads are targeted to mothers. Rather than NOW asking the HHS to change the ads and petition the federal governement for those needed changes, perhaps NOW should ask the federal government itself.

I think the ad council ads are great.

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#4 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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I think it's excellent.
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#5 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:12 PM
 
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nak.

i don't like the letter.

Judy, wife to my Catholic deacon husband ... homeschooling mother to my four girls and now a rainbow1284.gif BOY!!! Forever remembering our loss (8/11) angel3.gif .

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#6 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:32 PM
 
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So essentially they don't like talk about the consequences of not breastfeeding because it's "insulting" to a small percentage of the intended audience?? Insulting??? Interesting. Rather similar in tone to the "don't make women feel guilty" argument. Bleh.

I'm all for better information and support for women who are low supply, on meds or are working + breastfeeding, all bf women, and I'd like to see them take on some of those issues as a better use of their energy instead of opposing these ads which comprise only a small part of the picture of where lactivism needs to be applied. Have they issued an "open letter" to US businesses taking them to task for not implementing bf friendly employment practises?? Or one to support NIP, or to hold accountable the medical professions that so often sabotage breastfeeding with bad advice? What are they doing to push those items they feel the HHS should be addressing? Anything?

I don't think "oh, stop, you are making *some* women feel bad!" is ever a legitimate argument against bringing urgent, accurate information to *all* women. Especially since in this country it has already been shown that until you specifically point out consequences in an attention getting manner, the general public has a strong tendency to respond more to marketing than they do to facts.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 08:44 PM
 
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still nak...
i guess i didnt focus my reading on the first, anti-the-commercials part because i've already heard all that blah blah before. i really don't know what the hhs can do about this situation, but i like that now is addressing the other issues it does. a lot of them really hit home for me and people i know. it might be the wrong audience, but i like that they're saying it (the list part.)
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#8 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 09:14 PM
 
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I don't like the commercials at all, because they cause women to become defensive instead of consider nursing.

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#9 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 11:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frontierpsych
I don't like the commercials at all, because they cause women to become defensive instead of consider nursing.
See I disagree. In my experience they cause women who are already FFing to become defensive because the commercials strike a nerve, they cause moms-to-be and women who haven't been PG or had babies to consider nursing.

I know that there's a lot of mommas and lactivists who disagree with me (and that's okay ), but I really think the message needs to move from "Breast is best" to "Formula carries health risks" and that's what I see in those ads and why I like them so much.

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#10 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my issue with the ads is that they do seem to make it all about women's choice when as NOW pointed out, many women don't have many choices.

I do think the new ads are neutered by taking out the stats. I personally think better ads would have been focused on the stats about how harmful ff is compared with bfing, and comparing the feeding decision to buying a car seat or wearing a helmet.

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#11 of 21 Old 08-16-2006, 11:40 PM
 
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I think they need to target the docs and such who give out false information which robs moms of nursing unnecessarily.

They need to target the formula companies which damn with faint praise breastfeeding and all but state outright that their manufactured product is either the equal of or better than human milk.

I think the same is true of the ads. Factual ads directed at ignorant docs should be in all the medical journals, and not just the pediatric ones.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#12 of 21 Old 08-17-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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I agree with the last half of the letter (talking about better support for lactating mothers, etc. -- maternity leaves and all that) --- I disagree with the beginning.

First, she lists the "medical reasons" mothers can't bf first which implies that those are the largest reasons that mothers don't bf, and that is simply untrue. It's a very small group of women who are medically UTBF. There's a far larger group whose bf is sabotaged by others, and/or who have inadequate support at work.

Second - I too am of the opinion that as long as "Breast is best," it's like extra-credit, and there's no reason for employers to choose to provide pumping rooms; no reason for legislation to protect or support bf; and no reason for many moms to consider bf. Once we start thinking of "breast is normal, and ff carries risk," then we're going to get somewhere.

IIRC they did focus groups with bf, ff, bf/ff mothers with those commercials (the real ones, that had the % risk for ff'd babies) -- and found that the ff mothers weren't guilty. They were MAD. And they weren't mad at lactivists. They were mad at their doctors and their support system for not informing them better and supporting them better in bf.

I think women feel guilty about this issue, in part because we're taught as women that it's better to feel guilty (take the onus onto oneself) than to express anger. And women shouldn't be feeling guilty about UTBF, or about having to bf/ff or switch to straight ff due to poor support/advice. They should feel ANGRY. : How is it *their* fault that they weren't able to pump at work? How is it *their* fault that the doc was incorrect about how their meds would impact breastmilk/breastfeeding (whether they diminished the supply, or didn't really pass through to baby after all and were safe)? It's not. And they should be MAD.

So, no, I don't agree with her stance vs. the ads, but I do agree with the latter half about the need for more support for bf moms. But (and I say this often) - I don't know that the support will materialize 'til we as a society recognize that breastmilk is what all babies should have if possible, and that formula carries risks.

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#13 of 21 Old 08-17-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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I can't get behind ad's attacking women for FF. I think they are the last on the list of 'guilty' parties that have conspired to bring about FF epidemic in this country. It's silly to make FF tantamount to abuse - if it's abuse - then take it off the shelves - close down the companies providing the product - don't attack the woman buying the product because as far as she's concerned it's the best choice for her baby. She needs to know better, she needs education and support. If she's had all of that and still chooses to FF her baby - even if she COULD have breast fed is it really a case of abuse? Is she a criminal? Only if the product she's buying is illegal.
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#14 of 21 Old 08-17-2006, 06:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang
my issue with the ads is that they do seem to make it all about women's choice when as NOW pointed out, many women don't have many choices.

I do think the new ads are neutered by taking out the stats. I personally think better ads would have been focused on the stats about how harmful ff is compared with bfing, and comparing the feeding decision to buying a car seat or wearing a helmet.
I agree with you!! I personally think the ads are a little abrasive. I think if they were to paint a beautiful picture of a mother nursing, and then list some of the benefits to nursing, it'd be recieved much better. Also, if they were to do a side by side comparison of formula to breastmilk PSA, it'd be very effective.
I alos think that breastfeeding is something that should be introduced in health class....it should be a mandatory part of the cirriculum.
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#15 of 21 Old 08-17-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by frenchie
I personally think the ads are a little abrasive. I think if they were to paint a beautiful picture of a mother nursing, and then list some of the benefits to nursing, it'd be recieved much better.

That sounds really nice and I wish the public did actually respond to that kind of thing. It's abundantly clear however that in order to get taken seriously, a more attention-getting angle is what is necessary. Think about how it took some pretty assertive anti-smoking campaigns to get the public to seriously consider the consequences of smoking. For decades, it was general knowledge that it was probably better not to smoke, but no one paid a lot of attention to the "be healthier, don't smoke" message. Finally it got to where pictures of blackened lungs and ads with people speaking through holes in their throat started showing up.

If that's what it takes to get the attention of the public - or even part of the public - I say, go for it. Get their attention and once they realize there are actually consequences to ff, give them the accurate info that they are not receiving now, offer them real support they can reach out to,then show them the pretty pictures of beautiful nurslings.
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#16 of 21 Old 08-17-2006, 09:06 PM
 
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I couldn't read the whole thread, frankly you'll lost me with all the big word aimed at my too-tired brain
Maybe there should be some sort of legislation that dictates how much breastfeeding info should be aired by the media. Bear with me.
In Canada, we have a law that basically says that the media must allot so much time to Canadian programming/content. Since breastfeeding IS actually being pushed by the government, maybe it should promoted in the same manner? The more it is seen, the more accepted it is. Does this make sense?
I mean, they did it with smoking, and seatbelts, why not breastfeeding?

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#17 of 21 Old 08-18-2006, 01:28 AM
 
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I hated those ads. More effort to provide support for pumping mamas, more effort to make doctors and nurses STOP sabotaging bf, more limits on the hideously aggressive marketing of ABM- that's what we need. Not more guilt, shame and accusation for moms who really didn't have as much of a choice as we might like to think.

Julia
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#18 of 21 Old 08-18-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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I think the ads are kind of harsh as well, but if that's what it takes to change the course of breastfeeding in this country then so be it. Personally I thought an ad with a kind of humorous tone would be effective. For instance, show one mom getting up in the middle of the night to get her baby a bottle, on her way to the kitchen she trips over the dog, accidentally turns the oven on and sets the place on fire, etc... you know really ridiculous but you get the point- then show another mom who is breastfeeding her baby comfortably in bed, everything is quiet and peaceful in her house. Just my idea though- maybe someone would find that offensive too......You know I'm sick of all the catering done to the minority in this country. There is always going to be someone, even if its just ONE person that will be offended by what you do, think, say, feel,...but this is NOT a reason to just shut everything down like these advertisements : Bah....
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#19 of 21 Old 08-18-2006, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalirush
More effort to provide support for pumping mamas, more effort to make doctors and nurses STOP sabotaging bf, more limits on the hideously aggressive marketing of ABM- that's what we need. Not more guilt, shame and accusation for moms who really didn't have as much of a choice as we might like to think.

Julia
I agree. I am getting plumb sick and tired of approaches which put most of the responsibility on individuals with little power to function excellently against all odds of a sick and wrong system. Rolling our eyes and making snide comments at the other mommies at the playground (looking back at myself as a new mom here, though I've certainly seen and hear others do this too) is not going to fix the situations that these women are in and the establishments that work to keep them there.

Better to work with the state's department of health to demand accurate and appropriate education for health care providers (and how about some clear standards for prescribing the feeding of anything but human milk for infants? and some oversight?) and state legislatures for appropriate legislation and enforcement of laws that leave working parents with the time and tools they need to nurture their families. Work to say NO to the societal urges to keep up materially that keeps us at work 60 hours a week.

I don't know. Just some of the thoughts I've had while being railroaded into birthing choices that I didn't want to make and choosing between breastfeeding and returning to work (I chose breastfeeding, but I've had cause to question that decision after experiencing how devastating the loss of economic independence can be for a woman in this society).

I erased the part about "I hate the ads" because I wanted to say "I agree" and I haven't seen them.
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#20 of 21 Old 08-18-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowbunny
I think NOW is barking up the wrong tree. The Ad Council ads are targeted to mothers. Rather than NOW asking the HHS to change the ads and petition the federal governement for those needed changes, perhaps NOW should ask the federal government itself.

I think the ad council ads are great.
I agree! I would say that women who are physically unable (really unable) are smart enough to know the difference and wise enough to realize that, in some small instances, we make choices that are against what we want for our safety and/or the safety of our babies. Women are not idiots that are easily made to feel bad. The root of guilt starts deeper than a telvision commercial. It usually starts because we inherently know the truth.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-18-2006, 04:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pamamidwife
I agree! I would say that women who are physically unable (really unable) are smart enough to know the difference and wise enough to realize that, in some small instances, we make choices that are against what we want for our safety and/or the safety of our babies. Women are not idiots that are easily made to feel bad. The root of guilt starts deeper than a telvision commercial. It usually starts because we inherently know the truth.
:

(that's exactly what i wanted to say, but the words were elusive)

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