September 6, 2011 4:23 pm

Hey Evenflo – That’s not what I call support.

This morning, I saw a link to an Evenflo ad from somebody I follow on Facebook. I watched the whole video in horror as it perpetuated a ton of the most common breastfeeding myths and stereotypes while attempting to sell a product to breastfeeding mothers.

evenflo-video

The ad has since been marked as “private” on YouTube and is no longer available for viewing, but let me recap:

1. Obnoxious in-laws arrive and gawk at mother holding her baby, Mother-in-law says derisively, “Breastfeeding AGAIN?” (Despite the fact that it doesn’t even look like the mom is breastfeeding!)

2. Husband tries to usher his parents out of the room, claiming mom and baby’s need for privacy. (As though nursing in front of your in-laws is a total impossibility.)

3. Mother-in-law makes a comment about “them” (mom’s breasts) being “so small” and wonders if Mom can make enough milk. (Breast size is not a good indicator of milk supply. Women with small breasts can have oversupply, just as women with large breasts can have undersupply.)

4. Mom and baby sneak around the house trying to breastfeed in private while Father-in-law searches vainly for half & half for his coffee. (Again, as though you must be sequestered to nurse).

5. Mother-in-law whines that no one else gets to feed the baby. (It’s not their job to feed the baby – it’s Mom’s! They can do any number of other things, like change baby’s diaper, do laundry, do dishes, give baby a bath, make dinner, etc.)

6. Mom asks husband to pass her her purse, and they exchange a knowing glance. They run to their bedroom where the mom pulls a hand pump out of her purse and says to give her a few minutes. (As though pumping a bottle is going to solve the problem of mom and dad’s complete lack of boundaries regarding their obnoxious, unsupportive in-laws?)

7. Mom returns from the bedroom carrying a bottle of milk, which Father-in-law then mistakes for half & half for his coffee. Time slows down (“Nooooooo!”) as he pours the pumped milk into his coffee and takes a big gulp. (As though breastmilk is so gross, it’s not to be ingested.)

8. Father-in-law makes a comment about the milk definitely being 2%. (Implying her milk is “less than whole” when really, it is her infant’s source of complete nutrition.)

My reaction to the video was one of irritation and anger. The in-laws undermined the breastfeeding relationship at every turn, and instead of standing up for her baby’s best interests and telling the in-laws to screw off, the mom caves and hides in the bedroom to pump. I know there are probably some women who find pumping empowering, but I really, really did not enjoy it and cannot imagine purposely pumping when I didn’t have to do so, especially if it was done to placate family members with a misguided sense of entitlement with regard to my baby’s eating habits.

The entire thing really squicked me out. Ostensibly, this ad was to promote Evenflo’s manual breast pump. Helping perpetuate the most damaging breastfeeding myths around is not a good way to win the support of breastfeeding mothers.

Evenflo attempted to placate the masses by posting the following on Twitter:

We hear you. We appreciate how passionate you are. We are equally passionate & fully support all moms & the personal choices they make.

…and then followed up with:

Our intent with the video was to spark a conversation through lively humor, but we have heard your concerns & have decided to take it down.

Somehow, with the last scene of the video highlighting the Evenflo pump, I don’t think that was their true intent. And I don’t think that showing breastfeeding as an inconsiderate and selfish act is “fully supporting” all moms.

This article sums up the timeline of events pretty well, but I think they get it wrong when they indicate it’s just “mommy bloggers” who are upset. It’s moms who use social media who are upset, and I’m willing to bet that many, if not most of them, do not maintain a blog.

The comments on the above article indicate that many people think nursing moms can’t take a joke. I can take a joke – it’s just that this video wasn’t funny. There is humor in obnoxious in-laws, in pumping, and yes, even in breastfeeding, but this video did not find that humor. Instead, they took cheap pot-shots at a mother doing what she felt was right for her baby, and offered their product as a way of capitulating to overbearing family members who clearly don’t have the baby’s best interests in mind. Not really a product I want to support.

(Plus, having anybody drink the breastmilk that I pumped for my baby would have been devastating (not funny!) to me, because of the time and effort it takes to get that amount of expressed milk.)

I have not purchased any Evenflo products in the past, but you can bet I will not be buying them in the future, and I suggest you don’t either.

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3 Comments

  • Caity says:

    Wow. You would think that a company would know better than this. I’m pretty upset by this and I don’t even have any first hand breastfeeding experiences.

  • Charlie says:

    Same as Caity, I’m disturbed by this and I don’t have any children. Glad they’ve taken it down!

  • Brianna says:

    Are you kidding me?! Who thought that would be a good idea? The whole thing is an absolute insult to breast feeding moms — making it seem so archaic where in reality, it’s what our bodies were designed to do — the most natural thing a mother can do for her child — 100 years ago AND today.

    In line at Fred Meyer the other day a woman started up a conversation with me (it was Piper’s fault ;) ). She gave me some “awesome” advice:
    1) If I want to get her to sleep through the night, just add cereal to her bottle! It will fill her right up.
    2) If I want to get her off the bottle quick, switch to a sippy cup around 5 months.
    I didn’t say a word. I figured if I told her my baby was exclusively breastfed and actually refuses to take a bottle, I’d get stared down as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

    Back to the ad….WTF!