Monday, September 13, 2010

The Latest Weight Loss Craze: Breastfeeding Your Way to a Slimmer You!

Over at Work It, Mom!, there's a link to this ad from the NYC WIC program:

This woman, in the standard, annoying, ultra-upbeat weight loss voice, discusses how she became "40 pounds thinner!" She holds up a pair of (obviously) maternity pants and tells us, "Yep. These were my pants." (So maybe squeezing a child out had something to do with that 40-pound loss. . .) But this woman didn't starve herself or use a fad diet. No. This woman lost her weight simply by breastfeeding her baby!

I know that the speedy loss of pregnancy weight is one of the benefits of breastfeeding, but I've always thought of it as an afterthough benefit. Certainly not as a primary motivation.

I'm curious about the motivation behind this ad, and I'm even more curious about its effectiveness. Maybe I'm idealizing, but breastfeeding seems like it should be a very giving act, one that is not mired in the overtones of vanity and selfishness that this ad promotes.

Now, don't get me wrong, wanting to be healthy isn't inherently vain or selfish, but this ad doesn't seem to focus on breastfeeding as a way for the mother to get healthy. It's a way for her to get beautiful, to get--above all--thin.

In the promotional voice over, the narrator even says "So while it's good for your baby, it's also great for your body!" So, providing life-sustaining sustenance and nutrious growth for your baby is merely "good." Getting thin, however, is "great."

1 comment:

  1. I am breastfeeding, and doing it for weight-loss is flawed logic. Why would they expect these women to continuing breastfeeding once they lose the baby weight?

    I can think of many better reasons for breastfeeding. High on my list right now is it's an easy way to calm and relax my baby!