Television advertising costs a lot of money.
Advertisers target new and expectant parents mercilessly, hoping to convince them to buy their products and become loyal to their brand.
Our screens are filled with adverts offering everything from nappy rash creams to toddler formula milk (baby formula is not allowed to be advertised in Australia).
Sadly, however, we don’t see so many adverts for the things that new parents really need, like breastfeeding support.
Breastfeeding adverts serve many purposes. Sometimes they aim to educate and inform expectant mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Other times, they are designed to build breastfeeding confidence. Some adverts aim to raise awareness of a woman’s right to breastfeed her baby in public.
BellyBelly’s resident IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), Renee Kam, says: “Television commercials about breastfeeding help to normalise breastfeeding in public. They educate about the importance of breastfeeding (for the health of the mother and her child), and acknowledge that it might take a little while to get the hang of breastfeeding. Depending on what time they are screened, television commercials have the potential to reach a large target audience. This could mean more women of childbearing age (and their families and support people) can see them. We can only hope that television commercials will help more mothers to be able to reach their own breastfeeding goals.”
Despite recent and troubling research which found 50% of Australian babies are partially or fully formula fed at two months of age, Australians have not seen any breastfeeding adverts on their television screens for a long time.
Here are a few of our favourite breastfeeding television commercials from around the world:
#1: Unicef Says ‘Yes' To Breastfeeding – From Hong Kong
A mother breastfeeding her baby is one of the most natural sights in the world. And yet, many women feel worried about breastfeeding in public. Fear of judgement leads many women to breastfeed their babies in toilets or at home, simply because they are too scared to breastfeed in public. Some mothers even choose not to breastfeed at all for this reason.
In Hong Kong, Unicef created this great advert, encouraging the public to welcome breastfeeding mothers and to help them feel comfortable. Something like this would be great in the UK, US and Australia too, where, unfortunately, so many people are unaware of a mother’s right to breastfeed her child in public.
#2: WHO Breastfeeding Advert – From South East Asia
This beautifully shot TV advert highlights the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. Filmed in black and white, the advert features a mother discussing the benefits of breastfeeding while feeding her baby.
#3: Breastfeeding – Language Advert From Nova Scotia
Many women begin by breastfeeding but switch to formula when they encounter a breastfeeding barrier. This could be anything from improper latch to mastitis. This great television advert from Nova Scotia aims to reduce the number of women who give up breastfeeding, by explaining that it’s practice that makes breastfeeding natural. It takes a while to learn a new language, it tells us, why would breastfeeding be any different?
#4: ‘Other People May Not Notice’ – From Scotland
This great advert from Scotland not only lists the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child, it also points out that people probably won’t even notice you’re breastfeeding. Many new mothers worry about breastfeeding in public, and this advert does a great job of showing that it’s not always that easy to tell when someone is breastfeeding.
#5: Ladies Night From The US
This humorous advert shows that even breastfeeding information can be presented in a fun way. As a heavily pregnant woman rides a rodeo bull, the advert points out that you wouldn’t take risks before your baby was born, so why do it after?
Breastfeeding might not have the advertising dollars that big corporations have, but these ads are invaluable. Thanks to the internet, they are reaching even more expectant mothers and their support people in an effort to spread education and support, and to help normalise breastfeeding. If you'd like to see more breastfeeding ads on television, lobby your local members of parliament and let them know why it would be important to you as a woman or man.