That formula commercial…you know the one. It’s being posted all over Facebook, instructing moms to stop judging, and usually issuing a “tissue warning” along with it. A hyperbolic representation of the different parenting stereotypes, but then a grande finale that puts an end to the mommy wars. What’s not to love, right?
What if I told you that instead of establishing mommy-world peace (by ending mommy wars…see what I did there?), the commercial just ignites further conflict?
Don’t believe me? Watch it again. But this time, lay aside the warm and fuzzies and really pay attention.
What did you see? Ridiculous caricatures of different parenting styles…but nothing we haven’t all heard before. So then why do I have my panties all up in a bunch? Because apparently, since I advocate for breastfeeding over formula, I’m a badge-wearing officer of the Breast Police. Reporting for duty!
Who made this commercial? A formula company. Not a stroller company, or a baby wearing company (though both of those stereotypes are in the commercial too). A formula company.
What do formula companies want to do? Sell formula!
Now before everyone puts their hater-hats on, let me stop you right there. I am very adamantly pro-breastfeeding, but I’m decidedly NOT anti-formula. In fact, I think formula is AWESOME. We have the ability to create a nutritionally excellent substance for babies who don’t have access to breast milk? AWESOME. Moms who don’t breastfeed can still raise healthy and flourishing babies because of formula? AWESOME. Please, formula companies, don’t ever go out of business. We NEED you!
But please formula companies, let us put breastfeeding first. Give us a chance! By perpetuating this notion of the “Breast Police”, you are, in fact, hampering the advocacy of breastfeeding. Dare anyone speak out in favor of breastfeeding over formula, well she must be a member of the (judgy) force.
You must know that breast milk is superior to formula…so why am I a judgy mom for advocating for it? Formula is great, but breast milk is and always will be superior. That’s just inarguable, science-based fact. We should all be thankful that formula exists, but formula should not be the default….and yet it is. By 6 months of age, only 45% of babies are still breastfed (source), which means that the rest are formula fed. How you feed should not be downplayed to a matter of preference, it’s a matter of public health — of the well being of our babies. Yes, we are all parents first, so why wouldn’t we want what’s best for our babies?
Formula companies have one primary agenda: To sell as much formula as they can. The more people buy into terms like the “Breast Police”, the less people will have the courage to confidently promote breastfeeding for fear of being labeled judgy. And if we don’t promote breastfeeding…well you know what happens next. Formula.
This commercial does the opposite of what everyone is claiming. It does not end the mummy wars, but rather gives moms an ultimatum: Silence yourself, or be labeled an intolerant mother. No one wants to be that obnoxious judgy mom that won’t stop talking about breastfeeding. But this is dangerous, my friends, because again, how you feed your baby should not just be a matter of preference. There IS an optimal way, and it needs to be endorsed.
I do agree with the premise of their video. Formula feeding moms? Good on you for feeding your babies. Working moms? I’m in awe at your ability to juggle it all. Don’t judge other moms…I get it, but also don’t paint me as the disdainful mom for advocating for breastfeeding. Because then who’s judging? If I’m the breast police, are you a hooter hater?
I will unabashedly call myself a lactivist, and I will not be shamed into refraining from advocating for breastfeeding. Yes to not judging other moms. But no to perpetuating the Breast Police stereotype. No to making moms shy away from speaking truth out of fear of being labeled intolerant. Breastfeeding NEEDS to be advocated for, even at the risk of sound “judgy”. Yes we are moms first, and that’s exactly why — our babies deserve it.