Breastfeeding social campaigns: a serious and honest analysis

World Breastfeeding Week

Year – Brazilian godmother of the campaign Slogan
1999 – Luiza Brunet (top model)amamentação Luiza Brunet cartaz1999 Breastfeeding is educating for life. Let’s re-learn!
2000 – Glória Pires (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Good for the mother. Better for the baby.
2001 – Isabel Fillardis (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. A very special way of communication.
2002 – Claudia Rodrigues (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding is giving your baby health in the form of love.
2003 – Luiza Thomé (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Health and peace for a better world.
2004 – Maria Paula (actress and writer)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Until your baby is six months old, the shift from the right breast to the left one must be the only change in his/her feeding.
2005 – Vera Viel e Maria Paula (actresses)Brazilian actresses breastfeeding Until your baby is six months old, he/she only needs breast milk. After this, offer other foods and keep breastfeeding.
2006 – Cássia Kiss (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Assuring this right is everybody’s responsibility.
2007 – Vanessa Lóes (with Thiago Lacerda) (actress and actor)Brazilian actress breastfeeding with her husband Breasfeeding in the first hour, protection without delay.
2008 – Dira Paes (and mother) – actressBrazilian actress breastfeeding Nothing is more natural than breastfeeding. Nothing is more important than supporting.
2009 – Claudia Leitte (singer)Brazilian singer breastfeeding Breastfeeding at all moments. More health, love and protection.
2010 – Wanessa Cristina and other mothersThree woman; two pregnant woman with another one breastfeeding Breastfeed. Give your child the best.

Social campaigns for donation of expressed breast milk – Ministry of Health Services – Brazilian Government

2008 – Camila Pitanga (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding and donating expressed milk Donate expressed milk, life thanks you.
2009 – Samara Fillipo (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Donate expressed breast milk, life thanks you.


The posters aim:

  • Valuing (and even glamourizing) breastfeeding;
  • Enlightening the benefits for both mother and child;
  • Emphasizing the advantages of breast milk;
  • Expressly recommending exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is six months old;
  • Calling for the responsibility of all of the people involved: father, other relatives, employer.

Important, worthy, opportune, necessary, amazing, inspiring: all of those things were more than revered in those campaigns. However, there are other aspects beyond the UNQUESTIONABLE example of beautiful social marketing campaign, which deserve an analysis.

The poster in 2010 calls for attention because it is the first in a series, for 12 years, that shows mothers who are not celebrities. Also, there is a black person as the central figure. Images of breastfeeding are essentially “white”; the exception is Isabel Fillardis, in 2001.

Another new thing in 2010 is the presence of pregnant women, i.e., breastfeeding is an attitude to be embraced early in gestation.

The third different feature is the breastfeeding mother looking at the baby (even if in the smaller picture). Mostly, mothers are not looking at the babies, but at the spectator, reinforcing the appeal, when they act as spokespeople of the campaign (the exception is the poster with Vanessa Lóes and the ones for milk donation). This behavior also denotes an incisive pose for the photo, an artificial moment as well as the mother’s highlight, the hero who deserves be applauded and followed. Colors, environment, smiles, everything contributes to the atmosphere of serenity and delight, and leads to the understanding that breastfeeding is a natural fact/act since the beginning/always and has no difficulties – even when there are twins (Luiza Tomé) or big children (Maria Paula).

The mother who doesn’t see that atmosphere when she tries to breastfeed (she feels pain, sore nipples, breast engorgement, fissures, fatigue, lack of support, instead) thinks that something is wrong – with her.

Positive changes are a good beginning in the campaigns. Yet what really is absent in all posters is something beyond the phrase “for further information, please call…” with telephone numbers or websites. A crucial recommendation is not explicit on those posters: “In case of difficulties, please call…”

As in all good ads, nobody wants to talk about problems. This analysis intends to focus on the help, the support. The mothers may check the credibility of the campaign, when they cannot reproduce the perfect spirit in the pictures, and even give up, thinking that breastfeeding is only for celebrities (who enjoy a whole universe, which is not accessible for “mortal” women).

(Actually, that information is available, in the material for health professionals. It was not created for the public at large. Ministry of Health Services – Brazilian Government issued a great, honest and plural primer, with “people like us”; so different from the posters! It’s worth visiting it:   Cartilha de Amamentação –   in Portuguese.)


You can also see:

Because we are mammals – analysis

Because we are mammals – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Campanhas de amamentação – uma análise séria e franca

A short and bald guy

a short and bald guy

(Você nunca imaginou que o grande amor da sua vida seria alguém baixinho e careca)

“You had never imagined that the greatest love of your life would be a short and bald guy

“You had always liked tall and dark-haired guys, until the day when you fell in love with one of them and got married. But, when your son was born, a new feeling came over you. And, nowadays, however much you love your husband, now a new little guy makes you sigh. Having a son changes everything.


(Claudia Magazine, Brazil, May 2004)

 The Analysis

The ad intends to be funny, associating a son’s arrival with the standards of masculine handsomeness that are already disseminated in the society. It doesn’t “invent” or “propose” these standards. It evocates them, gives them emphasis and solidifies them in the text. It can be seen below:

Short and bald men aren’t part of the imaginary of “the greatest love of your life”. Tall and dark-haired guys are.

The second point is more sensitive and refers to the place of the husband and father in the family. Pregnancy leads mother and son to an earlier attunement. The postpartum period is also a time when the mother-baby pair seems to be a unique person. It naturally creates an unbalance in the former couple structure. The man, as a husband, no matter how he is still “loved”, is no longer “the greatest love” of his wife’s life. And, as a father, he tries to be included in the family. Mostly, he doesn’t have any reference for that, because the fading family model hadn’t considered a father’s presence as they do nowadays.

It’s not in vain that the father figure is absent in the ad. There is a change in the woman’s interest after her son’s birth: “a son changes everything”. It cannot be denied and is also necessary. But it must be understood in its whole extension and be treated with kindness, in order to include – and not to exclude – the man, in the process.


You can also see:

A short and bald guy – Marusia speaks

Love is…

This post in Portuguese: Baixinho e careca

Love is…

Visited site:


Who said that the models of perfection are only related to mothers? Fathers also have to carry them…

love is birth

Love is… staying beside her while the baby is being born. (Kim Casali)

Love is newborn

Love is… holding the new-born carefully. (Kim Casali)

love is newborn and father

Love is… believing that the first son takes after the father. (Kim Casali)

love is crying

Love is… getting up when the baby cries. (Kim Casali)

love is pride

Love is… being proud of your child. (Kim Casali)

love is playing

Love is… letting the kid play and jump on your belly early in the morning. (Kim Casali)

love is happiness

Love is… sharing the happiness that the baby brings. (Kim Casali)

love is diapers

Love is… changing diapers and… washing them. (Kim Casali)

love is difficulty

Love is… saying “our kid”, even when he/she is too difficult. (Kim Casali)

love is... jealousy

Love is… not being jealous when she pays attention to the children. (Kim Casali)

love is breakfast

Love is… making breakfast while she prepares the children to go out.

love is rest

Love is… tidying up the house for mommy to rest. (Kim Casali)

love is beauty

Love is… saying she is beautiful even when she is a mess. (Kim Casali)

love is flirting

Love is… flirting with your wife even after the sixth child. (Kim Casali)

Free translation of the texts from the “Amar é…” sticker album, published in 1980 in Brazil.

In 1980, Abril Publishing (Brazil) launched the first version of the “Amar é…” sticker album (Love is… – copyright: United Feature Syndicate). It was a huge success.

The naked couple was created by the New Zealander artist Kim Grove Casali. They illustrated the love notes Kim sent to her boyfriend (later her husband) Robert Casali, in the Sixties. In the Seventies, the drawings got a permanent space in the Los Angeles Time newspaper and conquered the world, shown in cartoons, cards and stickers.

I collected the stickers of the “Love is…” album. I was 8. I couldn’t complete it, but I have kept it.

Today, I found a curious thing. When children appear on the stickers, in most cases the message is addressed to the father: changing (and washing) diapers, getting up at night, playing… If we consider that the cards are from the 1960’s, Kim was a revolutionary woman!!! At the same time, a realist one: the father in the cartoons doesn’t deny he is annoyed with some of the new chores! hahaha



You can also see:

Are your kids as mine?

This post in Portuguese: Amar é…



Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – one side

Free translation of a report published in Época magazine, nº 474, on July 18th 2007 – Globo (Brazil)

 Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children

Celso Masson, Martha Mendonça e Solange Azevedo

Advantages of having a job, according to the report:

For the mother For the family Considerations about the labor market
She has professional satisfaction The mother who has a job doesn’t throw onto her kids the frustrations for interrupting her career Women are conquering space in the labor market
The woman doesn’t feel isolated or bored (feelings that could cause depression) The mother’s income keeps the standard of living for the kids Interrupting a career temporarily, in order to take care of children, affects the professional future
The woman isn’t seen as “unoccupied” The mother who is self-sufficient economically assures a better quality of life for her kids Women who stop working are outdated and not able anymore
She doesn’t suffer prejudice at home The mother who has a job contributes to her family security, if her husband is fired Employers look for consistent curriculums
As she has financial independence, she doesn’t become vulnerable The mother who has a job contributes to her family security, if her husband dies Women are more productive than men
She has emancipation The husband can help at home (in some countries, maternity leave is a couple’s right) Women can be creative and look for compensative activities, on the financial and professional satisfaction points of view
Professional ascent is an essential condition for the conquest of equal rights The father is not only required to take responsibilities at home, but also makes a point of assuming this role  
When children grow up, the mother will not feel worthless    
If she leaves her job, she can feel as an intruder at home, of which she no longer has control.    
The work at home is not paid.    

You can also see:

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – another side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Analysis

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Por que as mães querem deixar o emprego para ficar com os filhos – um lado


Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – another side

Free translation of a report published in Época magazine, nº 474, on July 18th 2007 – Globo (Brazil)

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children

Celso Masson, Martha Mendonça e Solange Azevedo

Advantages of staying home, according to the report:

For the mother For the family Considerations about the labor market
She doesn’t feel guilt There is more dedication to the family More than half of women want to leave their jobs (Brazilian Survey – Ibope 2006)
The mother who stays home takes care of the children; the mother who has a job doesn’t look after both work and children More time with kids leads to a true connection between them and the mother; it takes down the “quality time” concept once and for all 5,6 million of American women left their jobs in 2005
Staying home is a symbol of status Mothers who don’t pick the children up at school and don’t meet the kids’ friends are cruel Mothers have the option to work at home, without a strict schedule
She doesn’t sacrifice her personal life Children are not “outsourced” Even if the work at home isn’t paid, it corresponds to 60% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the USA
She doesn’t suffer with competition The mother is always at home; she doesn’t arrive after “the children are sleeping” Women that have a job earn 30% less than men
She doesn’t suffer from work-related stress   The informality of the female labor is bigger
There is intelligent life among “entrance-school-mothers”   The female work is depreciated, because the employers think that mothers concentrate less and produce less
She has more time   Women that carry on with their careers find they are imprisoned inside a management system built for men
    Working women in part-time jobs are not taken seriously and lose opportunities

Advantages for the husband were not listed.


You can also see:

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – one side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Analysis

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Por que as mães estão deixando o emprego para ficar com os filhos – outro lado

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Analysis

The report text is very complete, plentiful with as many arguments against mothers who have a job as in favor of them. They present few statistic data and (still) a lot of prejudice, on both sides.

But, whereas the text forwards to impartiality, the images reveal only the good side of staying home (the mothers with their children).

And, at the same time, the bad side of keeping a job. Both the cover of Epoca magazine and on the first page of the report show an unmoving mother seen from a child perspective, from the waistline down, without a face (and, possibly, with much guilt).

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children

Época Magazine

This image is recurrent when the matter refers to “mothers who have a job”. According to the Discourse Analysis studies, there is a natural tendency to maintain everything in the same way during the discourse: i.e. a typical paraphrase. In the Interdiscourse (Discursive Memory), a discourse is always related to another one, and it’s easy to see this feedback:

You can also see:

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – one side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – another side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Por que as mães querem deixar o emprego para ficar com os filhos – análise

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

Free translation of a report published in Veja magazine (Brazil), under “Beauty”

"Where's the big belly? It's disappeared

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

Getting slim quickly is a dream of pregnant women – but an exaggeration is not necessary

Is there a pregnant woman who doesn’t dream about the moment of going back to wearing the “before” clothes and getting her body back after giving birth? It’s a perfectly natural desire, as long as it doesn’t become a unique and a no-parameter concern.

“Ten years ago, a fat woman breastfeeding was seen as healthy. For six weeks after the birth, nothing was demanded from a woman, even beauty. She used to stay there, “hatching”, Wladimir Taborda, the Gynecology and Obstetrics coordinator of the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo (Brazil), says. “It’s different nowadays. Six hours after the birth, women are already walking. In the next day, the beautification process starts”, he complements. There’s no lack of examples – bad examples. […] Actresses, singers and models, that are already esthetically privileged, leave the maternity with their bodies virtually back to form.

For a new mother, it’s not easy (or recommended) to follow those examples, those exaggerations committed by the stars. “The celebrities reach the desired result with the help of a specialized team (that includes nannies, personal trainers and nutritionists). The majority of women don’t have the time or the professionals required for that effort”, the obstetrician Yehudi Gordon, who took care of the ex-models Jerry Hall (the mother of Mick Jagger’s 4 children), and Elle MacPherson (who has 2 boys), warns.

[…] “Sixty years ago, pregnant women had gained weight without any control, and it had been seen as cute. Nowadays, when we see a fat pregnant woman, the first thing that we think is: she isn’t taking care of herself”, the gynecologist Rubens Paulo Gonçalves, the author of “Pregnancy for pregnant women”, comments.


Subtitle of the photos of Kate Hudson:

Kate, still enormous 26 days after giving birth, and then three months later: goodbye to 30 kilos with a strict diet and a lot of gymnastics.


The report brings a big paradox: although it classifies as an exaggeration what celebrities do to get thin after giving birth and though it intends to emphasize health and not shape, it brings citations of gynecologists and a lot of expressions that strongly disqualify the bodies of pregnant women during the postpartum period. At the same time, it uses many eulogist words to those who auto impose the goal of returning to their good physical shapes:

Pregnant women, according to the report Goals, according to the report
Big Belly Beautification
Fat Excellent physical shape
“Hatching” Small body
Enormous Tall, thin and pretty
Immense Perfect shape
They had gained weight without any control Slimness and glamour
They didn’t take care of themselves Splendorous
Fat-belly woman Beautiful figure


You can also see:

Where’s the big belly? Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Cadê o barrigão? Sumiu

Because we are mammals

"Because we are mammals".

In 1996, the Brazilian company Parmalat, that sells dairy products, launched an adorable advertising campaign with children dressed like little animals. The slogan was: “Because we are mammals”.

The advertising power drove Parmalat to the top, as never reached before. The campaign was succeeded by a promotion to give away plush mammals and that made history in the marketing world. Everything was supported by the images of these very cute small children.

Plush mammals of the Parmalat's promotion

Ten years later, Parmalat promoted another campaign, with the same children, in order to tell us how much they had grown up since then.

The mammals grew up!!

The campaign slogan intrigues. Well, mammals nurse, they don’t drink milk from a package.

A question is opened: if this advertising appeal was so irresistible, would the same ads, with the same kids, but announcing breastfeeding, result in the same effect?


You can also see:

Because we are mammals – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Porque nós somos mamíferos

Only mothers are happy – Analysis

 Free translation of an article published in “Crescer” magazine, nº 138, on May 2005 (Brazil)

"Only mothers are happy"

 Ten reasons why we become much better after our kids are born (Malu Echeverria)

Forget sleepless nights, the guilt of leaving your kids at home to go work, the lack of time for taking care of yourself. Ignore the credit card account, the mess around the house, the being tired. At least for some moments, stop demanding too much from yourself for not being a perfect mother. On Mother’s Day, enjoy the happy moments brought by motherhood. […]

1. You get new friends

At the school entrance, in parental meetings and in children parties, you meet the parents of your kids’ friends. They become your friends, too, increasing and diversifying your network. After all, there’s no lack of things in common.

2. You become a healthy person

Even those who don’t like walking, after becoming mothers, find how much riding a bike or playing with a ball is cool. The concern is pertinent: you want to be well in order to see your kid growing up.

3. Your time becomes more productive

“The capacity that women have to think and do a lot of things at the same time is increased after motherhood, because the demands also increase”, the psychoanalyst Ana Paula Pires explains. Have you ever imagined that you would manage to dress, talk on the phone and carry a baby, everything at the same time? […]

4. You are powerful

You find that your body has a nobler mission than only enchanting men […]. The discovery that your body is able to create a human being really gives you a sensation of power.

5. You want a better world

As all of good mothers, you want the planet to be a better place for living.

6. You find you are a well of patience

You ignore child’s in-public-fits, the complaints at bath time, the crying in the early morning. “When we are in love, we bear almost everything […]”, the family therapist Marília de Freitas Pereira compares.

7. The choosiness is let go

[…] Nowadays, if a problem appears (yes, you don’t look for it anymore!), soon you find a solution and that’s it!

8. You feel the greatest love

The love that exists in the relationship with children compensates any difficulty […].

9. Other talents arise

Maybe you had some abilities before being a mother. But, certainly, you have never used them with so much pleasure as you do nowadays. […]

10. You go back to playing

The psychoanalyst Ana Paula sums up why being a mother is so good: “Motherhood brings a lighter way of living.” Enjoy!


At first sight, this report is an acknowledgement: see all the happiness that is a privilege only to mothers!

At second sight, this report is a eulogy: be proud for all the qualities that only motherhood gives.

At third sight, this article is an invitation: be conscious of all the wonders that are within mothers’ reach and enjoy them.

At fourth sight, it’s a consolation (or a reprehension): problems are irrelevant in face of so many gifts that mothers receive!

Although, there is a fifth truth: the acknowledgement, the eulogy, the invitation to pleasure and the consolation are presented under so many conditions, that in the end the homage becomes an obligation. And every imposition can become guilt.

Reasons to be happy, according to the report: Conditions presented on this report:
Only mothers are happy If you aren’t happy, you are not a good mother
At least for some moments, stop demanding from yourself for not being a perfect mother After these moments, you can go back to demanding from yourself. A list follows:
New friends If you don’t become a friend of the parents of your kids’ friends, you are not a good mother
A more productive time If you cannot dress, talk on the phone and carry the baby at the same time, you are not a good mother
Power Women’s bodies are only good for men [!!!] and, after them, for children. The report discards everything that a woman can access by her own body as an extension of her individual consciousness
A better world If you don’t get involved in ecology, Human Rights and World Peace, you are not a good mother
Well of patience If you don’t have more than enough patience with children’s fits, complaints and crying, you are not a good mother. If you don’t bear everything, you are not in love with your kids
No choosiness If you don’t find a solution for the problems soon, you are choosy and you don’t prioritize what really matters – the children
The greatest love If the unlimited love doesn’t show up at first sight, you are not a good mother
New talents If you aren’t creative, you are not a good mother
Playing If you didn’t go back to playing and if you don’t lead a lighter kind of life, you are not a good mother

 The whole text is written in the Present Tense: you do, you become, you define, you find, you want, take, feel, believe, you are. This affirmative approach, with the testimonies and photos of six mothers delighted with their children and the comments of four psychologists, contributes to reinforce that “being happy” is not a realization. It’s a duty for mothers.


You can also see:

Only mothers are happy – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Só as mães são felizes

The first baby adventure – analysis

The following texts are a free translation of parts of a report, originally published in Claudia Magazine, number 5, year 42, on May 2003, Abril Publishing Company, Brazil

 The apartment of the Brazilian producer Priscila Borgonovi (24 years old) and the actor Fabio Assunção, 31, reveals who is the king of this space. In the entrance hall, there is a poster with this message: “Welcome, João”, which was put up by the godparents of the baby, who was born on January 21st, in São Paulo [Brazil].

“On the day after the birth, I woke up calm. I was feeling everything was different and I was seeing things differently, as I was turning into a mother.”

The truth is: the newborn baby contributes, like no other baby does, for the family’s peace. He doesn’t have colics, he only cries when he is hungry, he has not choked or scared the proud mother yet, and sleeps tight straight through the night. “The last time I breastfeed him every day is at midnight, so he only wakes up at six in the morning. Even sleeping less that I would like to, I can rest just fine”, Priscila reveals. She is conscious she is privileged. “He’s calm, strong, gives us security. He’s never made us stay awake at night.”

When she was pregnant, she led a normal life: she did hydro gym up until the seventh month and worked until close to the delivery. “I felt great, beautiful, loved, with a great energy”. So, she managed to beat thefear of the natural birth. “It went fine, in spite of the five hours at labour, and the induction, due to the water breaking. At that moment, I did three pushes, and João was born, in four minutes.”

Fabio watched the birth and also was deeply moved. “I felt like in a trance, as if not knowing where I was. How can such a normal event be so extraordinary? You try to see yourself in the baby and you can’t… he is another new, unique person. It’s beautiful to see the mix of yourself with the woman you love.”

Slowly, Priscila had established a new routine. […] But slowly everything is returning to its axis. “We were once again in contact with the world, with the normal life […] and recovering our libido, too. It’s important and amazing to feel beautiful and like a woman again, to remember how it is to be with your husband.”

[…] When the baby completed one month, she had lost all the weight she had gained during her pregnancy, and soon was fitting into tight pants and jeans. At 1,75 metro high, she weighs now 53 kilos. “Less than before”, she affirms, proudly.

Fabio agrees that the couple’s life changed a lot, but not as people used to say. “Everybody used to say: ‘you know, man, when the baby is born, your life will end, etc, etc.’ João didn’t limit us in anyway, he opened a new way.” A great father, the actor changes diapers, gives the baby baths, helps in everything and loves being with his son.

The analysis

According to the text, we can elaborate a list of things that contribute to a happy motherhood start:

  1. A secure and calm mother;
  2. A baby that doesn’t cry, doesn’t have colics, nurses well and sleeps tight straight through the night;
  3. A calm pregnancy, with the mother working, going to hydro gym classes and feeling beautiful and loved;
  4. A natural and calm delivery;
  5. A father who’s always there;
  6. A life returning to its axis;
  7. The return of the libido;
  8. A quick return to being in shape.


You can also see:

The first baby adventure – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: A aventura do primeiro bebê