Why this topless breastfeeding ad has upset some mothers

Posted at 9:14 AM, May 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-30 09:16:20-04

MEXICO CITY - An ad campaign aimed at promoting breast feeding among new mothers has stirred up some controversy.

The campaign featuring topless, physically beautiful women, targets mothers in Mexico with the message "Don't turn your back, give them your breast."

Breastfeeding ad

"Basically what the campaign does is say if you don't breastfeed your being a bad mother because you're giving them the back," GIRE director Regina Tames Noriega said. "I think that really stereotypes and discriminates against women and that's really a concern."

The Word Health Organization recommends babies be breast feed for their first six months of life. Mexico, the organization said, is a country of concern in that regard.

"Over the last 35 years what we've seen in Mexico is a decline in exclusive breast feeding from around 30 percent to 15 percent - its gone down by half," World Health Organization spokeswoman Chessa Lutter said. "And what we've seen in other similar countries like Brazil and Colombia are huge increases."

Mother Anna Pena said the ad campaign, while important, has missed the mark.

"I feel a little bit not very connected with the image because the models are very stylized are very skinny and looking very glamorous," Pena said. "And at the same time they're talking about a topic in which women don't feel that attractive."

Other critics of the campaign said it should have better connected with poor, less educated mothers. The World Health Organization said educating mothers on the benefits of breast feeding must begin in hospitals. They said health care workers need to be better trained.

The ad controversy has given reproductive rights groups a platform to highlight another key impediment to breast feeding - it's just more convenient for working mothers to choose formula.

"What we think would be ideal and uphold the human rights of women would be to have in the same working space a child center and of course inside the child center a place where you can actually breastfeed," Noriega said.