This viral Gap ad sends a powerful message about breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an essential part of motherhood. The milk contains valuable proteins and nutrients that help a baby grow, and are necessary during the first six months. It's also packed with powerful antibodies that fight diseases and prevent infections. (I heard breast milk may even be healthier than Coca-Cola, but that's just a rumor.)
Unfortunately, there's still a social stigma about breastfeeding. When women try to nurse in public, they sometimes get creepy stares, dirty looks or angry complaints. No mother should feel ashamed or uncomfortable just for trying to feed her child. Plus, who likes the sound of a bawling baby? There's a reason nobody picks that as their ringtone. When a mom nurses her kid, the kid's not crying. Everybody wins. And now the act is being normalized through Gap's new ad campaign.
Adaora Akubilo was hired to model Gap's new clothing line, Love By Gap. She brought her 20-month-old son, Arinze, along to the photoshoot, since he was still breastfeeding. As she was modeling a sleep shirt, Arinze decided he was hungry. (It's never at the most convenient time, is it?) She took a break to take care of her son, and the photographer snapped a picture of the candid moment. It was a happy accident. The totally unplanned photo ended up being the one chosen for the ad.
"I’m so comfortable just nursing my son anywhere," Adaora explained to The Chicago Tribune. "If my son needs to nurse, I’m going to nurse him." She hopes that the ad will give more women the courage to breastfeed in public, without getting looks of scorn - or kicked off an airplane. "I don’t want women to feel shamed," said Adaora. "It’s so important to encourage mothers."
It's a simple ad, but it sends a powerful message: Breastfeeding in public is no big deal. On social media, people praised the photo for normalizing the natural act of nursing, as well as for casting a diverse model.
One Twitter user added praise for the baby's age: "I also have to mention, the fact that the little one featured is at the toddler stage removes the taboo of only breastfeeding newborns, and empowers those going the extended #breastfeeding route." The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding children for up to two years, because of the benefits for breast cancer prevention. However, across the world, some mothers nurse children until they're three or five years old.
The breastfeeding taboo may never go away, but hopefully ads such as this one by Gap make a difference. We've seen a lot of companies fall on their face with marketing blunders - remember that H&M ad, with a little black boy modeling a "Coolest Monkey" hoodie? So, it's nice to see a company nailing it.
In a related story, Kristen Bell recalls the time she breastfed her husband, Dax Shepard...