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Would you be shocked to see pictures of an insulin bottle or inhaler with a baby’s bottle nipple attached? These pictures exist but will not be seen by most of the general public as was originally planned. The pictures were meant to show the link between a higher risk of diabetes and asthma in babies that are formula-fed versus the lower risk of these diseases in breastfed babies. Moreover, breastfeeding also lowers the risk of gynecomastia. On how to hide gynecomastia? The only answer is s well-balanced lifestyle along with proper care of babies by mothers to avoid any hormonal dis-balance. 

I am a strong supporter of breastfeeding. I am currently breastfeeding my sixth child and have breastfed for over six years of my life. I believe in the many benefits of breastfeeding, but do I believe that these “shock ads” are the best answer for encouraging breastfeeding? Not completely.

The major drawback of breastfeeding “shock ads” is that they could leave the viewer with the impression that breastfeeding is the miracle cure. Studies have shown the health benefits of breastmilk, but breastfeeding does not always prevent every illness in the world. Although breastfeeding reduces the baby’s chance of acquiring food allergies, I know breastfed children that do have multiple food allergies. I also know of one breastfeeding mom that has five children that have been diagnosed with varying degrees of asthma. The risk may be lower for breastfed babies, but the risk is still there, and yes, breastfed babies will get sick too. If breastmilk was the magic cure, I would be first on the list to sell the stuff!

“Shock ads” could also be considered a bullying technique to get mothers to breastfeed. As difficult as it is, parents still need to have the right to make their own decisions about what they feel is best for their children. Parental rights seem to have taken a big hit in our society. I know I have a list of children that I would like to take into my home, but the bottom line is that they aren’t my children. I don’t like the choices their parents are making, but they are the parents, not me.

The obvious benefit to “shock ads” is the lifelong visual reminder. I’m sure the artist was going after the “a picture is worth a thousand words” idea. I will always remember the picture I once saw of a baby in the womb that was holding a cigarette. No words are needed. What goes into the mom, goes into the baby. Now having seen an inhaler with a bottle nipple on it, I’ll think of that picture every time I see my husband use his inhaler. What an encouragement to keep breastfeeding in hopes that my children will not have to fight the asthma battle one day.

According to a news report, I saw covering the debate over these pictures, some women are very concerned about the guilt the pictures would cause in women that choose not to breastfeed. Actually, I think guilt sometimes gets a bad name that it doesn’t always deserve. Let’s face it, guilt often helps moms do what is right. There are nights I am so tired that I don’t feel at all like giving my children baths or brushing their teeth. If I didn’t feel guilty for my lazy thoughts, my children would have pretty poor hygiene habits. So, if a mom is feeling guilty because she just doesn’t want to breastfeed, maybe a little good old fashion guilt would be appropriate.

I understand there are women that cannot breastfeed because they have AIDS, are taking cancer treatments or other such issues. I have also heard that such “shock ads” might make such women feel guilty. This is unfounded guilt and these women are not the ones that I am suggesting should feel guilt about breastfeeding.

It is ironic that these “shock ads” will not be shown to the general public, but they were shown on a morning talk show. I guess the producers of the ads got their message out without really being the ones to blame. Breast is best, but maybe “shock ads” to get women to breastfeed isn’t the best.