Image By Gap
Breastfeeding is something that is natural, and breastmilk is considered one of the most optimal sources of food for infants. Health experts are even realizing how important “extended breastfeeding”-- providing breast milk beyond a year old into toddlerhood-- is.
Eating a meal shouldn’t be considered taboo unless you’re a cannibal. We have restaurants where people can go out to eat a meal in the presence of others, and that’s not considered taboo, unusual, or forbidden. However, there are those who believe a baby eating in the most natural way possible is taboo anywhere but in the privacy of the mother’s own home, hidden away from the world as if what she is doing is some forbidden act.
This is such a huge topic that laws have been passed to prevent mothers from being discriminated against due to their chosen method of feeding. Still, it’s a topic that has caused multiple headlines when mothers are asked to leave places they are otherwise allowed to be because their babies are hungry and they’re using their breasts to feed them.
The Gap recently posted a new ad that is making headlines, and for once, breastfeeding is not being villainized as the equivalent of exposing genitals in public. The Gap ad features a beautiful young mother breastfeeding her child in one of Gap’s Pima cotton sleep shirt. The ad doesn’t actually have any text promoting breastfeeding, which only cements the implication that breastfeeding is normal and needs no hashtag or caption.
The ad reads, "Love your forever favorite. Pima cotton and a secret soft wash make these sleep shirts the ones you’ll want to wear, keep, and love. Tap to shop. #LoveByGapBody." View Ad Here
The wording of the ad is a simple plug meant to entice people to buy Gap’s soft nightshirt, but the image is one that is winning the hearts of mothers everywhere. The ad captures the lovely bond that breastfeeding mothers across the world can relate to. We often aren’t wearing special nightgowns and shirts. We usually wear the most comfortable clothes we can find, and the fact that this mother is breastfeeding in a “normal” nightshirt as opposed to some special shirt just further embraces the normalcy of breastfeeding.
People, Adweek, Cosmopolitan, Fox News, the Chicago Tribune, and more all have articles about the positive backlash this advertisement is gaining. The best part of this is, the mother wasn’t even posing for this! This image was not a staged, calculated ad as most ads are. The model, Adaora Akubilo, had to nurse her 20 month old cutie during the shoot, and the photographer took advantage of a beautiful scene. As a breastfeeding mother who breastfed my firstborn until she was 3 and is currently nursing my 10 month old, the fact that a major clothing company was brave enough to post an ad that depicts a toddler breastfeeding is something that just warms my heart. Mothers who breastfeed past whatever point society deems acceptable often complain of dirty looks, repeated questions, and negative comments, and the Gap’s ad serves to normalize this natural act.
In Lait de la Vie’s VIP Facebook Group, mothers are gushing praise over the ad with multiple comments expressing how much mothers love how the ad normalizes breastfeeding.
Brandi Albert, Lait de la Vie’s owner and premiere crafter states,
"I love the fact that she's not only nursing her toddler, but she's not even advertising a breastfeeding shirt. This is such a relatable photo. This is real life of a breastfeeding mom!"
Natalia Milla Enciso commented,
“This is beyond beautiful and bring tears to my eyes. This simple add touches so many important topics and taboos all at once. I breastfeed my toddler and I have gotten a few looks and now with my new baby I am tandem feeding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Lauren E Tapp’s comment addresses the fact that the model is a member of a minority group known for having low breastfeeding rates. She states,
“Love that not only is it promoting breastfeeding but specifically a woman of color breastfeeding, it's awesome. I forget the exact stats but bf rates are lowest for black women, this is a great positive image.” I love the fact that people are recognizing and encouraging mothers of all ethnicities and statuses to breastfeed.
Kaleena DeSerio captures the essence of all that is awesome about this ad.
“ What is there NOT to love about this?
First and foremost, Gap has captured one of, if not THE most beautiful and natural moments in a mother’s life. In America where normalizing breastfeeding is no easy task, and many women are shamed for it, Gap has said “THIS IS NORMAL. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!”
Second, this is a sweet toddler nursing! Extended nursing for the win! I love that not only are they normalizing breastfeeding in this photo, but they are normalizing extended breastfeeding. How amazing!
It’s a beautiful thing to see a gorgeous black woman nursing her sweet baby, natural in all ways. Natural beauty, natural hair, you name it! It’s pure perfection!
And of course, the easy access of this sleep shirt is a plus! 😊
After reading the story behind this photo, it’s even more incredible. Reading that it was an organic moment and the powerful message behind this photo just exaggerates the beauty! 😍”
As a breastfeeding mother, the overwhelmingly positive response to this ad makes me beam with pride. We are the reason our babies are growing and fed, and although formula is not by any means horrible, it is refreshing to see such positivity that can further reduce the stigma around breastfeeding. I’m sure there will be some “negative Nancies” out there who dislike the ad, but overall, the response has been positive.
So Gap, I applaud you, and here is one of photos from the ad that captures the beauty that is a mother breastfeeding her child.
Written By: Jerrica Cheramie