Past to Present: Breastfeeding Ads Through the Years (Images)

The culture of breastfeeding has ebbed and flowed over the years.

It’s popularity changes from year to year and place to place.

Right now, in the United States, there has been a kind of revolution regarding breastfeeding.  While misinformation and prejudice still abound, the number of moms who breastfeed are increasing, likely because of the increase in available lactation experts, La Leche League groups and hospitals encouraging breastfeeding.

It’s this ebb and flow in popularity that leads to breastfeeding advertisements.  Some decades have dozens of ads to promote breastfeeding and others do not.

Here then, is a variety of ads from the past century that relate to breastfeeding.  Some were designed specifically to promote breastfeeding while others aim to promote products touted as helping to make breastfeeding easier.

  • Beer for the Breastfeeding Mom 1 of 18
    Beer for the Breastfeeding Mom
    Okay, so technically this isn't an ad for breastfeeding, but it's related. I know as a new mom I always appreciated a case of beer in the house - but not for breastfeeding.
    Image: Hubpages.
  • The Beer is Nourishing! 2 of 18
    The Beer is Nourishing!
    My French is a leeetle rusty (un petite peu) but I'm thinking this says the beer is nourishing!
  • Avoid a Waldrobe Malfunction! 3 of 18
    Avoid a Waldrobe Malfunction!
    For those mothers who wanted to avoid a wardrobe malfunction while nursing there were "Ball's Corsets" by the Chicago Corset Company. According to, the print shown here was published about 1880 and promises "solid comfort" for the breastfeeding mother. "The woman to the left is a "young miss" admiring herself at her dressing table and stating "I breathe to live". The woman to the right is a nursing mother watching her baby who is apparently successfully breastfeeding due to the ease and support of the corset (evidenced by the mother's maternal affection and sense of security on her face)."
  • An Early Style Breast Pump 4 of 18
    An Early Style Breast Pump
    The small print says 75 cents for a breast pump. 75 cents? Get outta town!
  • Nurse the Baby! 5 of 18
    Nurse the Baby!
    A New York WPA poster from 1938 advising women to breastfeed.
    Image: Wikipedia
  • Breastfeeding Mamas Need Ovaltine for Energy! 6 of 18
    Breastfeeding Mamas Need Ovaltine for Energy!
    This one's a little tough to see (larger version here) but it's a 1928 French ad touting the benefits of Ovaltine for the breastfeeding mama, among others.
  • Color Blind 7 of 18
    Color Blind
    According to TheInspirationRoom, this ad from clothing line United Colors of Benetton caused critics to be "concerned that the breastfeeding poster in particular renewed the historical sense systemic abuse in the Americas in which slaves were required to breastfeed the children of white owners. Despite the criticism the breastfeeding poster won awards in France (Cannes) and Italy." I think it's beautiful.
  • You Could Be Breastfeeding a Future Business Entrepreneur 8 of 18
    You Could Be Breastfeeding a Future Business Entrepreneur
    I wasn't aware that New Zealand is quite the breastfeeding advocate. This ad is just one in a whole slew of ads promoting breastfeeding.
  • Join the Breastfeeding Union! 9 of 18
    Join the Breastfeeding Union!
    Part of a series of breastfeeding ads in Canada in the nineties.
    Image: NHS Brighton and Hove.
  • It’s Okay to Suck Up to the Boss! 10 of 18
    It's Okay to Suck Up to the Boss!
    Another one from the same series.
  • The Only Food Group Your Baby Needs 11 of 18
    The Only Food Group Your Baby Needs
    A third one from the series.
  • Free Hook-Up with Every Delivery 12 of 18
    Free Hook-Up with Every Delivery
    And a fourth! These are great. They should re-issue these
  • Please Give Generously 13 of 18
    Please Give Generously
    The Breast Cancer Institute of Australia runs a Mother's Day appeal in April/May each year. In 2004, the campaign was promoted with a magazine advertisement featuring a baby at its mother's breast, with the tagline, "Please Give Generously".
  • Outstandingly Healthy 14 of 18
    Outstandingly Healthy
  • Pardon Me Daahling, Whilst I Breastfeed. 15 of 18
    Pardon Me Daahling, Whilst I Breastfeed.
    I think this is an ad for high-end clothing? Still, quite the breastfeeding promotion, no?
  • Be a Star! 16 of 18
    Be a Star!
    I really like this series of ads from BeAStar.Org in the UK. There is a whole bunch of them on the site.
  • Wait for It… 17 of 18
    Wait for It...
    An ad about the timing and benefits of colostrum.
  • Look Closely 18 of 18
    Look Closely
    A Popular breastfeeding ad from Brazil in 2010.

Article Posted 5 years Ago

Videos You May Like