For three months in Herkimer County in upstate New York, residents tuned into Deal or No Deal or Dr. Phil or drove down the highway and where exposed to breasts. OK, they were really exposed to breastfeeding, but I love the idea of giant boobies staring them down as they shuttled their kids to soccer practice and tuned into see Matt Lauer giggle over Giada’s pancakes. The real exposure came in the form of PSAs on TV, posters and billboards,
baring bearing the message that “Babies are born to be breastfed.“
The campaign’s educational mission to inform the public on the benefits of breastfeeding — especially the long-term impact on children’s health and obesity-prevention — was far more successful than anticipated and was part of an intervention by the Health Start Initiative to gain acceptance for breastfeeding babies. A survey of locals revealed that, after the campaign 69% of men and 46% of women would be comfortable with having their child breastfed in public, each up 10% from pre-campaign polling.
What I love is that the campaign just puts it out there. The slogan doesn’t include any diplomatic statements about “If you happen to use formula, that’s cool too,” which I don’t necessarily disagree with but also don’t need to hear while I am cheering on the mamas nursing in front God, the public and even (gasp) the paparazzi. I have to admit I’m not thrilled that one of the persuasive arguments is that it helps mothers drop pregnancy pounds (which I still think is a big La Leche League conspiracy ploy to the masses, but whatever). That little nit-picky point aside, I guess what really matters is that the campaign was a success. And if the breastfeeding billboards changed just one mind about nursing in public, especially that one mind who likened it to changing your tampon out in the open, then it was worth for the people of Herkimer County and for us all.