The "Your Child Eats What You Eat" ad campaign from Brazil's Pediatric Society of Rio Grande (SPRS) serves up a heaping dose of making moms feel bad.
I recently asked an OB-GYN friend for the advice she gives new moms about postnatal nutrition during breastfeeding. "I tell them that they should ideally get in their healthy fruits and vegetables, to stay away from junk, spicy foods and soda blah, blah, blah: all the normal stuff they say they'll do but won't when they've been up for hours and need a donut and coffee to function."
My friend was joking; she's a realist and knows moms are human and slip up from time to time. I can personally vouch for that fact as I watched her attack a plate of nachos and two glasses of diet soda during a rare night out after she gave birth and yes, she was still breastfeeding at the time. Even the most hardcore dietitians I've talked to over the years recommend we all eat by the 80/20 rule—80 percent healthy foods and 20 percent "cheat" foods—even new moms.
But apparently that's not good enough, according to a new mom-guilt-inducing ad campaign from Brazil's Pediatric Society of Rio Grande (SPRS) that chides moms with the ominous slogan: "Your child is what you eat." Each ad in the campaign shows an infant suckling on her mom's breast, which is painted to look like one of the bad foods she recently consumed, like a cheeseburger, donut or soda.
The message is a good one: All the good, bad and the ugly of what you eat can be transferred to your child through breast milk. But you know what? Eating a plate of cheeseburger and fries washed down with a large glass of Dr. Pepper once in a while isn't going to relegate your child toward a lifetime of obesity, just as maintaining an ultra-healthy, all-raw-food diet isn't going to guarantee your child a life free of health issues.
That's just not how it works.
There's something to be said for educating moms on the importance of nutrition, but we've created an atmosphere where moms can't win, no matter what they do. Breastfeed in public? "Oh, my god cover up, no one wants to see that." Choose not to breastfeed? "I guess you don't want to give your child the right nutrition." Eat a burger: "You're going to make your kid fat." Eat vegan: "Live a little." Enough already! Let's stop the constant competition and let moms do what they think is best for their children. The result will be happier moms with happier (and hopefully healthier) babies.
And isn't that the whole point?