There’s this video going around and being shared on social media. I am sure you have seen it. I am not going to paste it in here or even mention the name of the company because it’s easy to find on your own. It’s a major formula company’s ad.
First let me say, that I have hardly ever mentioned formula or formula feeding in my blog. This blog was born out of my passion for breastfeeding. It is a place for support and tips for breastfeeding moms. I never wanted it to be a place where I tell other women what they should do or what is best. It is not a place for me to judge. My brother and I were formula fed, my husband was formula fed, my first baby received formula in the NICU and many of my friends formula feed. So I am not going there. I love breastfeeding and I think it is the biological norm and that is my stance.
So why does this ad/viral video bother me?
The video portrays all the different mommy war stereotypes. The bottle feeding moms, the breastfeeding moms, the baby wearing moms, the baby wearing in a sling doing yoga moms, the cloth diaper vs disposable diaper moms, the crunchy granola mom, the dads, the stroller pushing moms, the working moms and the stay at home moms. They are hurling insults at each other until one of the strollers with a baby inside starts to roll away. Then everyone panics and comes to their senses that we are all parents who care about the same thing. The end of the video says “no matter what our beliefs, we are parents first.”
Well it is a funny video and it made me giggle but lets face it, it was put out by a formula company. It’s an ad, the whole sisterhood of the motherhood slogan is an ad campaign. And what are they selling? Oh yeah, that’s right, they are selling formula.
This video appears to be a great message about not judging other parents and how we are all in this together. I see many moms posting it and discussing the wonderful message. The company has us talking and is getting tons of exposure. I have seen women defending it saying, it’s not an ad for formula it’s just a great message. No, it is an ad for formula. They are master marketers and know what they are doing. The less women breastfeed, the more money that lines their pockets. It bugs me that so many people are watching and not realizing that it’s an ad.
Whats wrong with the video?
For starters, there may be judgment between moms and there may be mommy wars but in our day to day lives I doubt most mothers experience this much. I am part of several mom groups where we all respect each other and our different choices. I am not going to be pigeonholed into one stereotype as a parent. I wear my baby and I use strollers. I cosleep and I use cribs. I breastfeed and I sometimes pump and use a bottle. I have worked full time, part time and have stayed home while raising my children. I also had medicated births! Maybe I am lucky but I have not faced much judgment for my choices from any of my mom friends. While the judgment may exist; most women keep it themselves. Because even if a mom does not understand the choice another parent makes, they do understand that we are all doing the best we can. The judgment that does occur usually comes in the comments section on articles on the internet but for most of us that is not our day to day experience.
Another thing that bothers me about this video – the breastfeeding mothers are portrayed as holier than thou lactivists. They are bragging about how their babies are fed and come off very preachy and judgy. Do the bottle (we assume formula feeding) moms do the same? No, actually they don’t. Besides saying “here come the breast police” there is nothing said about their feeding choice. This gives the impression that the breastfeeding mothers are judgmental. In fact all of the “crunchy or green” parents in the video, ya know the ones less likely to formula feed, are presented as negative and judgmental. The cloth diapering mom makes a judgmental comment, the unmedicated birth mom makes a comment, and the baby wearers do too. It is so subtle but it is there.
The breastfeeding moms are also all wearing nursing covers? Why? I am not sure what the reason for this is other than to show that breastfeeding involves needing things or supplies too? Or maybe it is to just really distinguish them in the video, but what’s wrong with showing a baby breastfeeding uncovered? Are they implying that it’s bad or that you need something to breastfeed in public unlike the bottle moms just walking around squirting their bottle milk everywhere?
I don’t know, these are just my opinions but something about this video is off to me. Considering that it was put out by a formula company I am sure my instincts are right on. I doubt it was by accident to make one group of moms seem more judgmental or critical than the other. As I said the more they can undermine breastfeeding the better for their goal. And the slogan at the end about us all being parents despite our beliefs implies that breastfeeding is just another parenting belief/choice the same as or equal to stroller vs sling. According to the AAP breastfeeding is a public health issue and it is not just a lifestyle choice.
Formula fulfills a purpose. I know many mothers who breastfeed and formula feed or mothers who cannot breastfeed. I am not judging them. I am criticizing the formula company and their marketing tactics. I know it is a funny video with a seemingly innocent message. I just don’t love it and you won’t find me sharing it.