The federal government's "Born to be Breast-fed" campaign is sparking controversy even as it winds down. Click here and prepare to be reviled. You'll see one of several public service television announcements prepared under the auspices of the Bush administration's Department of Health and Human Services. It shows a floridly pregnant woman bouncing and flailing about on a mechanical bull (a second ad shows two late-term preggers log-rolling). As the bull rider buffets wildly, belly and all, the message to women is, this type of risky behavior during pregnancy is as bad for fetuses as NOT breast-feeding is for newborns.
The ads are winding down a two-year run, but they are now sparking renewed criticism from women's groups who believe the administration isn't doing enough to promote breast-feeding, is caving into baby formula company censorship, or, at the other extreme, is portraying women as walking wombs.
In and of itself, promotion of breast-feeding is a good thing. Whether it's the province of the federal government is quite another matter. Promotion of breast-feeding is also not a new thing. Children's health experts have long touted breast-feeding as a major health benefit because breast-fed babies are less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea.
But critics say this campaign goes too far because it actually guilt-trips new mothers. It could make mothers who cannot or choose not to breast-feed feel guilty. Considering that 60 percent of new mothers work, breast-feeding is simply not feasible for all of them.
UP NEXT: Why all new mothers can't breast-feed, and Bush's HSS is strapped with a problematic message.