Anti-smoking ad turns into breastfeeding battle

A New Zealand rugby player was featured in an ad about not smoking around kids. Piri Weepu posed feeding his infant daughter a bottle.

Well the La Leche League in New Zealand didn’t like this because they said the ad didn’t send the message that breastfeeding was best.

From Bob Trott on MSNBC:

“Weepu found himself in a breastfeeding firestorm recently when the New Zealand government put him in an anti-smoking public service announcement. The ad initially included an endearing two-second shot of him feeding his 6-month-old daughter from a bottle. However, the country’s Health Sponsorship Council bowed to pressure from La Leche League and other motherhood advocacy groups, which claimed that the image didn’t mesh with its core message: that breastfeeding is best for children. ‘It’s really important that those messages are consistent across the board,’ New Zealand La Leche League director Alison Stanton said.”

Here, you can see both the anti-smoking ad and the image of Weepu giving his daughter a bottle that was edited out of the spot. I must warn you, though: Click on that link only if you have the stomach to see something as alien, evil and corrupt as A FATHER FEEDING HIS CHILD. I hope you can fight off the urge to wail uncontrollably and smash any furniture within reach.”

Trott goes onto say that in this particular case the baby had difficulty breastfeeding and that is why she is taking a bottle, but that isn’t really the point. Trott feels that the La Leche League has lost sight of bigger issues facing the promotion of breastfeeding.

“The saddest thing is that the real breastfeeding issue of the day is whether moms should be able to pump and feed in public or at work. Bans on public breastfeeding are ridiculous – the idea that a woman feeding her child is offensive or indecent or inappropriate is, I think, offensive, indecent and inappropriate.  And new mothers should have spots in their workplaces where they can pump or feed in privacy.”

“There’s a lot of work to do in those areas, and La Leche League shouldn’t lose focus of that by being shrill and overreaching. How can anyone keep a straight face while arguing that, on the one hand, women should be seen breastfeeding in public, and that there’s no shame or indecency in it, yet men shouldn’t be seen bottle-feeding their children?”

What do you think: Has the New Zealand La Leche League missed the point on this? Should they be working toward other goals? Do they have a fair complaint about the ad? Does a protest like this hurt their other work?

34 comments Add your comment


February 29th, 2012
11:22 am

1. Do you want fathers to take a bigger role in raising the child?
2. How do you know the milk wasn’t breastmilk?
3. So this group would only allow the ads if women are shown while nursing?

And we wonder why more and more men are throwing up their hands and walking away, or not having relationships at all.

I don’t think it’s this extreme here in the US. But sadly, there are some extremists that are ok with the idea.

usually lurking

February 29th, 2012
11:50 am

@Jeff – you beat me to it :-)


February 29th, 2012
11:56 am

The Leche League = the New P.E.T.A.

Everything isn’t about YOU.


February 29th, 2012
11:59 am

DUMB! The La Leche League has turned into a bunch of quacks who have lost all respect from average people. I put them in the same boat as the PETA. Quit being extremists and maybe people will take your original message to heart.


February 29th, 2012
12:00 pm

Jarvis apparently we think alike.


February 29th, 2012
12:15 pm

Unbelievable. It’s a beautiful picture of a father with his child.

Jack Mehoff

February 29th, 2012
12:24 pm

Before I decide on breastfeeding righteousness I need to see pics and have some privacy to come to a decision.


February 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

So tired of being beat over the head with ‘breast is best.’ Everyone knows that, but it just doesn’t work out for everyone. Until both women and men can breastfeed 100% of the time, there will be bottles. Can we censor La Leche?


February 29th, 2012
12:43 pm

You just cannot make everyone happy. You can post a beautiful picture like this, and there’s going to be some idiot who takes offense to it. Very sad if you ask me…..

Voice of Reason

February 29th, 2012
12:45 pm

How does someone even become an advocate for the Le Leche League? Is there an initiation? I mean I understand what M.A.A.D. and P.E.T.A., and even those Westboro Baptist Church idiots stand for but being an advocate for breastfeeding vs not breastfeeding seems like such a stretch to belong to something nobody really gives a crap about.

It’s like saying, “hey have we solved all of the worlds other problems that now all we have to focus on is whether a mother breastfeeds her kid or not.”

I have absolutely no love for those in the Le Leche League. Those people made my wife feel like complete crap when she just couldn’t breastfeed our little girl after she was born. They made her feel like she was less of a woman because of it.


February 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

Thank you, Jeff!

I breastfed all of my children for as long as I could. I think this group would prefer that I only stop when they go off to college. Even then, my care packages should include a few bottles of the good stuff.


February 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

And just how else is a man supposed to feed his child?!? Utter nonsense.


February 29th, 2012
12:54 pm

Don’t these idiots know that mothers can and do pump their milk so that fathers can do a late night feeding. We did that so I could get more than 2 hours of sleep at a stretch when we had a newborn. It was still breast milk. And what about moms that aren’t able to nurse? Or babies who are adopted? Sheesh.


February 29th, 2012
1:09 pm

@Figment – AMEN!!!


February 29th, 2012
1:11 pm

I’m a new mom who’s balancing pumping at work with my regular work load. It’s wonderful when my husband can help out by feeding my baby whether that’s breast milk or formula. Pumping and feeding my child by bottle allows him to go to day care and interact with other children, allows me to have personal time while another family member watches him, among other benefits. While my mother was an active La Leche League member, you have to have balance and act rationally when supporting any cause. Is is reasonable that the mother should be the only person to feed a child and can only feed them via the breast? Absolutely not. It takes a village. And as a sleep deprived mother, I’ll take help from anyone who will offer it and definitely don’t need La Leche League representatives making me feel like less of a mother for doing so.


February 29th, 2012
1:12 pm

I had breast cancer in my 20s. I could NOT breastfeed my children when they were born in my 30s. I was berated by one of these loons who encountered me in the store buying formula.

Way to spread your message–shaming people who are physically unable to conform to your “perfect world.”

I wish they would classify La Leche League as a terrorist organization!!!!


February 29th, 2012
1:14 pm

What do they expect him to do, breastfeed the kid?

Now why didn’t I think of that when I had mine? Shove the job off on the dad!


February 29th, 2012
1:16 pm

” wish they would classify La Leche League as a terrorist organization!!!!



February 29th, 2012
1:28 pm

This isn’t all that different from the teacher in NC taking the lunch that the parents had chosen and packed for that child and effectively declaring that they know what’s best.

Can’t help but wonder if LL and others would be so militant if the mother’s milk came from, say, an elbow. I’ve always thought there was way too much defiant “we’ll show ‘em wherever we want to” not on the part of the mothers (well, there are some mothers that seem to go out of their way to create confrontations), but on the part of LL and the organizations that make the big bucks off keeping people divided and unhappy.


February 29th, 2012
1:30 pm

Yes, I agree. The advertisement would have been MUCH better if the athlete would have been pictured holding his wife’s (heck, I guess he is married) uuuuuhhhhh…udder for the lucky kid and all of New Zealand to see.
By the way, I really, really, really, really, really, really want to go to New Zealand. Beautiful beaches, rainforest, great untamed rivers, rolling countryside, and most of all, Alpine mountains…all within 75 miles. Plus, they speak English and know how to drink beer.
reallly, really, really, really, really, really, really do.


February 29th, 2012
1:43 pm

What a bunch of idiots! After dealing with Le Leche League zealots after the birth if my two and all the insanity they put forth, I no longer give them creedence. They’ve entered yhe “frothing at the mouth” nutjob category for me. I think some of these breastfeeding nazis have deep emotional issues.


February 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

Hijacking the blog for a minute – Davy Jones passed away this morning. 66 years old. Heart attack.

I used to LOVE to watch The Monkees. I still to this day love them and their music! RIP Davy.


February 29th, 2012
2:00 pm

LOL, Shaggy. So stupid that they would have a problem with this ad. Did it need to have a disclaimer at the bottom stating “Baby being fed breast milk pumped by his mother into this bottle.”

I agree about New Zealand. I want to go there, too. But just a looooooooong flight!!

[...] promoting it as the best way to feed a baby. But, they are raising a stink in New Zealand over an ad featuring a male rugby player bottle feeding his 6-month-old baby. The ad isn’t for formula, rather it’s an anti-smoking ad aimed at keeping parents from [...]

Jack Mehoff

February 29th, 2012
3:11 pm

I think breast feeding is dependent on the mom. If we are talking MILF then by all means but someone with areolas bigger then the babues head needs o get a room!


February 29th, 2012
3:16 pm


I want to go sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad that if I ever get there, I might buck the silly little visa thing and stay there…paint kiwi disguises on me and the family, make some beer drinking/mountain climbing buddies, and kiss the USA goodbye.
Did I say that I really want to go?


February 29th, 2012
3:20 pm

revision on the kiwi disguise…I would rather be disguised as one of those huge carnivorous parrots that live there….way cooler.

K's Mom

February 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

@Sara, I have friend who experienced the same thing following a double mastectomy. I have let my thoughts on this subject be known before, so I will refrain from an all out rant. I think Jeff summed it up beautifully as did the rest of the posters…


February 29th, 2012
4:00 pm

They are being ridiculous! I breastfeed, pump at work and supplement with formula. Guess they’d hate me too! Boo-hoo, who really cares what these nutballs think!


February 29th, 2012
6:34 pm

This is ridiculous. I’m not even a parent and I’m sick of being talked to about breastfeeding “just in case” I have children. Breastfeeding is not the ONLY indicator of a child’s future health and wholeness and guess what? Some people don’t give a flip about it and it’s okay.

Jack Mehoff

February 29th, 2012
7:41 pm

I think is okay to publically nurse as long as the mom is hot….and the nursee is a hot lesbian


February 29th, 2012
9:12 pm

Weepu, being male, would have a tough time nursing any child. And his wife isn’t well-known enough to be much use on the ad.

LLL needs to get a grip! I am a big breastfeeding proponent, but it doesn’t have to be worked into EVERY conversation!


February 29th, 2012
9:19 pm

Simple question: “When are you going to the store?”

LLL: “Well, I will either go before or AFTER I BREASTFEED! Or maybe I will sit in the MILK aisle and BREASTFEED there! Because BREASTFEEDING is the answer to any question!”

Thank God they are not so shrill on promoting going poo-poo!


March 2nd, 2012
11:10 am

Ummm…….the picture is of a father – he can’t breastfeed! And…maybe the bottle is filled with breast milk?…………Just sayin”