I’m one happy Gap customer. Not only do the company’s jeans fit me well, its ad posted online featuring a mother breast-feeding her child made me especially happy and proud.
During a recent photo shoot, Adaora Akubilo, the model in the photo, paused a moment during the shoot to breast-feed her son Arinze, who got hungry while she was working. The mother-and-son moment was posted on Instagram Feb. 22 with two photos and the hashtag #LoveByGapBody.
Some of the comments to the photos posted on Gap’s Instagram page include:
“Haven’t been to the Gap in a while, but now I definitely will. Thank you for normalizing breast-feeding, especially by a woman of color.”
“Best ad ever! So happy to see this!”
“Breast-feeding is natural. Thank you!”
“Such a beautiful bonding moment.”
“Love this! Three weeks postpartum, and this helps me feel more confident with breast-feeding.”
In its Feb. 26 article titled “Model for Gap paused to breast-feed toddler during shoot. The moment became the campaign,” Akubilo told Chicago Tribune the breast-feeding moment happened naturally. During the middle of the photo shoot, her son needed to nurse.
“I let them know,” she said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, my God, of course, it’s OK. Go ahead.’ And they said, ‘You can do it right here.’”
Akubilo said she feels comfortable nursing wherever she is and does so often. The photographer asked if it was all right to take a few shots, to which Akubilo said it was. What transpired was a brilliant ad campaign that focused on the beautiful, natural and ever-common moment between mother and child.
Not only is breast-feeding beautiful, natural and an everyday occurrence, the health benefits of providing breast milk for a baby are astonishing. According to womenshealth.gov, some of the benefits of providing breast milk to your little ones include lower risks of asthma, ear infections, respiratory infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and type 2 diabetes.
“The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk help protect babies from illness,” the site says.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a slam against mothers who use formula. Formula has many nutrients as well, and my son gets just as much formula as he does breast milk — if not more.
As a fellow breast-feeding mama, I give big kudos to Gap and Akubilo. As every nursing mother knows, breast-feeding is hard enough, especially in the beginning. We could do without harsh glares, whispers or comments when we nurse our children. When we breast-feed in public, we’re not doing it for attention — we’re feeding our child. Whether one chooses to nurse out in the open or behind closed doors or to use a cover or not, that decision is the mother’s choice — and hers alone.
Specific laws have been put in place to protect mothers who breast-feed. Almost all 50 states, except for three, have equal protection.
“South Dakota and Virginia exempt breast-feeding moms from public indecency or nudity laws, and Idaho is the only state that has yet to pass any similar laws,” a Dec. 6, 2017, Huffington Post article titled “These are all the states where it’s legal to breast-feed in public” said.
According to womenslawproject.org, “Under Pennsylvania’s Freedom to Breast-feed Act, a mother is permitted to breast-feed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise allowed to be present, irrespective of whether or not the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breast-feeding.
“The law also states that breast-feeding shall not be considered a crime of indecent exposure, open lewdness, obscenity or nuisance,” the site also says.
So the next time you see a mother breast-feeding in public, remember it could be her first time, which means she may be nervous; remember she is protected under the law to breast-feed wherever, however; remember the act of breast-feeding is not indecent or sexual; and remember she is simply feeding, comforting her hungry baby.
Thank you, Gap and Akubilo, for normalizing breast-feeding.