Breastfeeding rates in the UK are the lowest in the world, despite its know health benefits. Public attitudes are a huge part of the issue, and now Dove has weighed in.
A new Dove advert says: "75% say breastfeeding in public is fine, 25% say put them away. What's your way?" Dove has received over 150 complaints about the advert, which seems to lend support to criticism of publicly breastfeeding mums.
Another advert states, next to a picture of a baby crying: "36% are for feeding him when he cries, 64% are passionately against it. What's your way?" Dove says that the series is to express support for "different approaches and opinions". But the adverts do not draw a distinction between personal parenting choices and judging others.
Negative attitudes around breastfeeding can lead to mums being shamed for feeding their babies. It can make trips out needlessly difficult and stressful, and force mums to feed their babies in smelly, cramped toilet cubicles.
"Unmumsy Mum" blogger Sarah Turner said in an open letter to Dove that supporting the "dangerous" view that it was acceptable to criticise breastfeeding in public could put mums off. She wrote: "No woman should be made to feel ashamed for feeding their baby in public."
Please sign this petition to demand that Dove withdraw the adverts and apologise to breastfeeding mums. If enough people sign, Dove will have to recognise the importance of putting this right and expressing their public support for mums who wish to breastfeed in public.
You are a beloved household name that has done some great work around body confidence for women. However, your recent advertising campaign aiming to celebrate the diversity of approaches to parenting is a real blow to mums who want to breastfeed in public. It goes beyond celebrating choice and seems to support criticising others for their choices.
The UK has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the world and many mums face being shamed for breastfeeding in public. This can have a negative impact on both mum and baby.
Please retract the adverts and apologise to breastfeeding mums who want to feed their babies in public. Let them know you support them, so we can continue supporting you.