Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Milk and Cookies: Breastfeeding and Oreos



If you're in North America you'd almost have to be hiding under a rock somewhere to have missed the hoopla that is rumbling across the U.S. and Canada this week as Oreo released its Korean advertisement for the little brown-and-white cookies.

The ad was created by the Cheil Worldwide agency in South Korea and has stirred quite a ruckus online and in Facebookland. (It's an advertisement we are not even able to post on the peaceful parenting page because of the repeated flags, blocks and bans for anything - photo, text, question or otherwise - that slightly resembles something breastfeeding-positive).

There seem to be five primary reactions to the ad:

a) Cute ad! Go Oreo! Go Breastfeeding!

b) Yeah Breastfeeding! But why does that baby have a cookie in his hand? Way too young for all that processed sugar and artificial dye/color/additives/flavors...

c) Love Oreos! But far too much 'exposure'. Put those things away - you're going to attract perverts. [Note: you won't find any nipplephobics among the peaceful parenting directors - we support human milk for human babies in any and all forms and strive to abolish nipplephobia by normalizing breastfeeding anytime, anyplace - even in cookie advertisements.]

d) That baby's latch needs a little help... But he is distracted by the threat of a photographer stealing his cookie!

e) Fun! But way too photoshopped. What postpartum, nursing mother's breasts look like that?

We aren't big fans of photoshopped breasts. And plead with parents not to give over processed, heavy sugar items to their babies. We are very much in favor of exclusive human milk for human babies (exclusive = nothing but human milk to consume) until at least the second half of the first year of life (as is recommended by most pediatric societies the world over, and the time at which the human gut closes). But if a cookie's going to come with milk - and be consumed via advertisement by a little human - then human milk is certainly the way to go.

What is shocking here is not the advertisement itself, but the distain and fear that is coming from within the U.S. blogosphere.


The Huffington Post covered the breastfeeding babe's mouth and writes:
[E]ven Oreo can push boundaries [...] Perhaps the company has found reason to target breastfeeding women, or Mayim Bialik fans. (Or those that enjoy watching a woman breastfeed, we suppose).
Those who enjoy watching a woman breastfeed? Why does something normal and necessary for human health and livelihood like the simple act of feeding a baby as he is designed to eat, always bring on the sexualized comments when presented to North American audiences? It's no wonder ads like this are never released in the United States, and rarely make their way out in Canada. In almost every nation around the world (including many Arab nations where groups of women are often otherwise covered head to toe) breastfeeding is such a normal part of everyday life that babies are fed wherever they are hungry, and toddlers are nursed whenever they are in need of comfort. But such normalcy has somehow disintegrated to such a degree in North America that we aren't even able to recognize it for what it is. The fact that this advertisement is news here says more about our cultural ills than anything else.

The Business Insider didn't censor the nursing Oreo babe (thank you!) but they did discuss the ad with a slight aura of disgust: "in bizarre branding news" "Oreo has been going a little marketing crazy..."


Foodbeast Food News blocked out the happy nursling with a big ol' black box. Something we're accustomed to seeing on sexually explicit photos: but breastfeeding is not sexually explicit! Foodbeast's Eli writes:
Scratch that kid-friendly vibe you’ve been accustomed to from OREO. A recent ad emerging from South Korea pictures a young baby getting breastfed, mother’s nipple exposed, and OREO cookie in hand. [...] Not sure [of] the target audience expected out of this campaign — pregnant women? Horny snack junkies? Super advanced grocery decision-making infants? Our web developer Rudy?
Speaking of Rudy, he responds to Foodbeast's post of the ad labeled "Not Suitable for Work" on Twitter by saying, "I GOT A FOODBEAST GAG ORDER ON THIS"

It seems we aren't the only ones rolling eyes at all the sexualized ridiculousness and "NSFW" reposts of this ad. Sara McGinnis at Babycenter responded, "[Not Suitable For Work.] Seriously?? This kind of stuff IS work around these parts." "[T]he Oreo breastfeeding ad is pure awesomesauce! It’s about time we get over any remaining breastfeeding squeamishness (*ahem* Mark Zuckerberg) and let the tata pride run wild."

And life would be a whole lot better (and breastfeeding relationships much more successful) if this very scene were played out in every office building where every nursing momma worked with her baby at her side - maybe without the Oreo cookie.

In another Huffington Post bit on the ad, a poll question asks, "Are you offended by this ad featuring breastfeeding?" (You can vote here.) What a silly question to ask. What other mammal would be offended by the normal feeding of its own species? Or even think that being offended was within the realm of possibilities?

At the end of the day, we're looking back over Oreo's official slogan:

Oreo. Milk's favorite cookie. 

And if this is the case - then this cookie's found a good home. Because there is no milk like momma milk!



 4/19/12 UPDATE: 


Anna, director of Peaceful Parenting Network Oahu, created this fun spin on the Oreo ad. After all, breastfeeding mommas do deserve a cookie! A lactation cookie, maybe? 



In other news - as expected, Facebook has started removing the Korean Oreo ad from their pages, and issuing warnings to those who share the advertisement.

Hygeia Halfmoon (author of Primal Mothering in a Modern World, developer of Cozy Cradle Baby Slings) had her image removed this morning; Kate Gulbransen, admin at FB! Stop Harassing...All Breastfeeding Women was issued a warning from Facebook, "We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities." Several others have reported their image of the ad was removed today by Facebook as well, and still more report they are not able to upload the image to their breastfeeding support pages at all. 



4/23/12 UPDATE:

Peaceful parenting momma, Argentina Coy, snapped a real milk and cookie photo today with her sweet two year old. We just had to share. In her daughter's hand is a WhoNu? cookie. 


"At 2, I don't often have cookies, but when I do, I prefer them with Dos Boobies!"


~~~~

51 comments:

  1. i thought it was clever! maybe this will help a few more people realize breastfeeding is normal.

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  2. Most of us will agree that a baby shouldn't be eating an Oreo, but it's cute all the same. Nabisco better not ever post it on FB. Nabisco might have all their accounts suspended. LOL!

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  3. The ad should've featured a nursing 2-3 year old. ;)
    They're more likely to have a cookie.

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  4. I don't really get how that makes us want to buy oreos, but it just goes to show how culturally specific our discrimination against breastfeeding is. So much is censored or taboo in Korea, yet somehow breastfeeding is normal enough for mainstream commercialism and in a positive light too! They could have had baby drinking from a bottle, but no, this is more normal and definitely more amusing.

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  5. I think its awesome. Junk food or not, normalizing breastfeeding is important and however and whoever wants to help the cause deserves a high five in my opinion.

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  6. He's not fully latched on cause he's turned to look at the camera. All my kids do this. And that cookie........is for MOMMA!!!! :D

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  7. just left dinner with the family @ max and ermas where they have free cookies on wednesday. My little man took a bite and dove straight for the boobs. I have chocolaty paw prints all over my shirt. LOL. (Little man is old enough for cookies....and guess what? Still young enough to breastfeed. ;) Boo-yah!)

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  8. How have babies been fed all throughout human history? Right up till the past few generations in the West? It's all natural. That's where God put the dinner table!

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  9. Exactly how is this "provocative" or "not safe for work" on all the posts popping up with the ad?

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  10. What's more kid friendly and work friendly than breastfeeding?

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  11. This reminds me of when my first son was 8 months old, I was at my best friend's house, nursing him and he was holding an oatmeal raisin cookie. My friend was giggling so hard, I asked her why and she pointed out "milk and cookies". That's all I see here, "milk and cookies"

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  12. I think it was supercute! I do enjoy seeing women breastfeed but not in a sexual way but as a picture of harmony and unity between woman and child. It is also what is best for the child and I hope to breastfeed the little one in my tummy when it arrives.

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  13. I personally think it's just fine for a man to see a woman breastfeeding as sexy. It's not like he thinks the child is sexy. He just thinks that the natural woman is sexy. I think the problem lies within us trying to separate breasts into two functions. They are both the same. The only reason men think women's breasts are sexy is because of a natural urge to propagate the species, whether he realizes it or not. There is no difference between a sexy breast and a nursing breast. It's just a breast with ONE function, and that ONE function, on an instinctual level is what makes them sexy to us as a species. At least that's what I think.

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    Replies
    1. So true! My hubby always thought I was sexy when I breastfed my 3 kids :-D

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    2. My husband keeps threatening to buy a t-shirt he saw that on the front reads "What's similar between toy trains and breasts?" and on the back reads "They're both there for the kids but Dad gets to play with them too." He says me pregnant and/or nursing is sexy because I'm obviously fertile and womanly. I think this is a much healthier view of sexy than the skinny teenage or teen-wanna-be models.

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  14. I think it's cute. I mean, you see kind of "jokes" being made around babies/using the cuteness of babies all the time. And I think anything that makes breastfeeding more mainstream is good. No, babies shouldn't eat cookies but a baby holding a cookie is cute. I doubt people will see this and think "oh, I should feed my kid Oreos" but on the other hand this can help people see how normal it is to breastfeed. Yeah maybe if it were a 2 year old it would seem more appropriate for the baby to be holding an Oreo but people are way more freaked out seeing a 2 year old nurse. The baby's expression is so cute. My son looks the same whenever he is distracted while nursing.

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  15. I agree with what a few others are saying, make it modern, make it FUN, make it NORMAL! I think the ad is adorable!

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  16. Yeah! The subtitle for this ad should be "Hey mom, I got you this cookie as a thank you for breastfeeding me!" Of course, then we'd have to type "b***stfeeding me" because we don't want a sexualized word like "breastfeeding" to be circulated ;)

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    Replies
    1. Love this! "Hey Mom - Here's a Cookie! Thank you for nursing me!" :)
      Right on.

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  17. I think that this add is showing that Oreo's company supports breast feeding and that is so normal that why not using it on a picture!
    Is open to think what YOU want to think. The baby is NOT eating the cookie. We don't know what is he going to do with it!
    Breast? Is a part of the body that God created like any other part. And breastfeeding is THE BEST thing in the world!

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  18. my 1.5 year old did that with chocolate chip cookie once or twice, I thought it was hysterical.

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  19. I like the photo and think it is really clever! My almost three year old saw it on my computer screen and, "Look mama, baby's having a bite (his word for nursing. And a cookie!"

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  20. my 15 month old signed "milk" (he uses the milk sign for nursing) and then said "oooh, bite!" I do agree that the baby may seem a little young for oreos.... but I love the ad nonetheless! It DOES make me want to buy oreos now! I'll support a company that is pro breastfeeding :)

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  21. Hmmm... the power of marketing. I hate to admit this, but the more I see this ad, the more it does actually make me want to buy/support Oreos! Yikes. And this coming from a mother of 5 who strives to only feed her family REAL food.

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  22. *sigh* Facebook, we need to talk.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. People report a cookie ad and its removed by FB, but I can't do anything about the half naked chick trying to sell me shoes to the right of my screen? FB is such a hypocrite.

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  23. I like Oreos. I love breastfeeding my baby. If she wants to give me a cookie for it then I'll take it in a heartbeat! In the meantime.. I guess I'll have to get my own cookie, lol. ;)

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  24. The people who are publicly against this ad are helping oreos advertise without extra spending! I think that it is one of the best ads I have ever seen! Breastfeeding needs to be used in ads more and bottles less! I love it!!!

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  25. Wow I just don't understand how society can block the picture out or refuse to allow it on facebook. It's so normal and healthy to breastfeed and society is trying to cover it up like its wrong. Yet all doctors and pedietricians recommend breastfeeding. Frick like if its ok to sexualize everything even music and people dont bitch than why bitch over something not sexual and a means of keepingna child healthy and happy. It really makes me so mad that people have to be so childish. Oh dont show how you feed your child keep that indoors out of the publics eye. Oh its so gross to feed your baby. Like wtf.......than turn around and post barely dressed women on billboards eating a burger. Ohhh sexxy burger... .lame...anywho i breastfeed my baby and always will until hes old enough to eat food. And will feed him where i choose to..dont like it well dont look. At least im using a cover. But that is still bad cause you dont use a damn cover when you eat.

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  26. Another reason I miss Korea so much!

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  27. I've seen this removed from 3 Facebook pages already today.

    What is ridiculous is Facebook has mentioned they support breastfeeding and doesn't advocate the reporting of breastfeeding photos, yet they would take this down.

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  28. The fact that this is considered "obscene" in society, while string bikinis and lingerie are not, is exactly why breastfeeding continues to be taboo or not supported here.

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    Replies
    1. "obscene". awesome. but lord knows budweiser can still have mostly naked, faked boobed girls in string bikinis in commercials played during the day on tv. excellent.

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  29. What killed me was the one comment "it's not kid friendly". Seriously???? I have a two year old and a four month old, the 2yo sees me nursing all the time. I don't hide in the bathroom to nurse my baby! Good grief. I have 24 nephews and neices (large family) and they've ALL seen me breastfeeding. For normal people, in normal families, it's a normal part of life! Not obscene or gross. These people are idiots. That's just about the nicest thing I can say! Idiots!

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  30. It's such a cute ad. I agree, it would be better if the breast wasn't photoshopped... and as for the cookie, I'm not sure this is going to inspire legions of moms to start feeding their nursing babies Oreos. It's adorable and I like it.

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  31. Communist Facebook.
    And for the record, Rudy's *face* gags me.
    And yes Huffington Post, as an 8 month pregnant woman, I do *like* seeing BF'ing photos. Thanks!
    ~Kat

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  32. I posted this on Facebook yesterday, and it hasn't been removed. But it does have plenty of Likes!

    I love this ad. I think I'll buy a package of Oreos this weekend as a "thank you" to Nabisco. :)

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  33. The only thing offensive about that ad is the cookie- and Facebook, really?? I am bombarded night and day with cursing and otherwise sexually suggestive posts that I have no way of curbing no matter how many I flag. They really don't even have an appropriate category to complain in. Her's something offensive, children eating at McDonalds, brushing their teeth with toxic waste laden Crest toothpaste... neon blue jello colored with coal tar by-products. Now that's offensive.

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  34. Gah, why are people so weird about breasts!?

    I think the add is cute, and also really like the added text "Breastfeeding? Then you deserve a cookie!"

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  35. I was out to dinner with my 21-month-old tonight and I let her have a bit of chocolate cake. She alternated between boob and cake. Doesn't everyone need milk with chocolate cake?

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  36. I love this. So cute!!! I feel regret everyday that I was "unable" to breastfeed... I truly believe If my son wasn't in the nicu I'd still be bf :)) I had a breast reduction 3 years before my son was born and had to leave the hospital every night due to having an older child. So I had to pump. I do think if I got to bf 24/7 I would have produced :( Then baby started talkin more than I could pump!!! It still bothers me to this day.

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    1. Brittany, I'm sorry you feel bad abt having your nursing cut short with your son, but I am happy to hear he quickly gained. Clearly you did the best you could do by your son. You pumped to get him started and he prospered. What a Mama! You deserve a cookie too! ;)

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  37. Maybe they're just trying to say that oreo's good with milk. Even babies know that. LOL

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  38. I love this ad! I must say, though, those of you commenting that this baby is too young to be eating an Oreo (that (s)he is holding, not eating... May I please inquire as to where I find the eTrade babies to do all of my investments for me, or the dancing Pepsi Next baby to be at my next party as entertainment.... I mean come on, really? I'm sure this child's "payment" wasn't an all-you-can-eat Oreo buffet.

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  39. Huh. I bet an add with a mum nursing a baby with a bottle of milk while the baby holds an Oreo cookie in his hand would have been a hit. Or, at least, not been worthy of any indignant flap. Similarly, a woman pushing her barely concealed breasts at the camera, with a glass of milk in one hand and a cookie in the other would have caused nary a raised eyebrow. Hell, a woman nursing a baby with a bottle of milk, cuddled against her chest, while wearing a very low cut shirt and exposing an evocative amount of cleavage, while the baby grasps an Orea cookie in his little fist, would have failed to bring anyone to even comment.

    <<<<>>>>

    There are days when I wonder if there really is any hope for western society.

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  40. I LOVED this add! I wanted to do my own yesterday, but my little man didn't feel up to it. I went out over the weekend and bought some oreos because this add spoke to me and I love how it supported breastfeeding!

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  41. Isn't it funny what's important to the child? It is either the camera or the cookie, I can't tell which. Amazing how things change with age. I think the picture is calming.

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  42. The baby really does look suspicious of the camera. Love the ad. I agree with a couple comments above that all the negativity surrounding the ad is just free advertising. Honestly, I believe any time the discussion is started it gives those of us who know that breastfeeding is normal an opportunity to say so.

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