I hear some mums like nursing covers - I can appreciate there may be a market for them, particularly in some areas; but I totally disagree with the technique Udder Covers are using to increase sales.
I sign up for news alerts on various topics - breastfeeding naturally is one. Just before Christmas I noticed an influx of articles about nursing covers - as some alerts are US (where nursing covers are a lot more popular than the UK) I didn't think too much of it. Until one hit my inbox and hit my blood pressure button too:
"Breastfeeding Cover – The Most Useful Product For Breastfeeding Women
A breastfeeding cover is critical for any full time mother who has the desire to feed their newborn discretely while in public. It protects your modesty even if you are used to feeding in public. No full time mother is ever relaxed feeding her newborn when any members of the public by have a clear view of her breasts" here
Suggesting that no mother can ever be relaxed when the public has a clear view of her breasts is interesting - except we all know that breastfeeding in public doesn't show anyone a "clear view of her breasts".
The picture on the left shows a baby breastfeeding in public - where's this clear view?
This tactic undermines the normality of feeding an infant milk from its own species, and perpetuates the notion women should feel nervous of feeding in public and the way to solve this is cover yourself up!
The piece written by "jennevans0919" might read as just a standard article about generic nursing covers - until you get to the last sentence and realise it's actually just one big underhand advert:
"Find out which website is giving out free breastfeeding covers! Go to http://www.breastfeedingcover.net now"Which links to? Udder Covers of course!
The next day another news notification arrived:
Breast Feeding Cover – The Essential Accessory For Every Breastfeeding Mother.Ringing any bells here? Every mother has inhibitions about feeding in public? Well if she didn't before reading the
A breast feeding cover is necessary for any mother who really wants to nourish their little one discretely while in public. Every full time mother has some inhibitions about breastfeeding their little one in public
While most people turn away their eyes when they notice that you are nursing, you are always apprehensive about who is looking.Day after day a version of the above has plopped into my inbox, all written by the same author - all with very slightly different wording so the search engines pick it up...
- http://www.gimmecandy.com/2011/01/breast-feeding-covers-dont-be-caught-without-one (a second article on the same articles site)
Since the first post where I left a comment that was of course deleted, comments have always been switched off (weird that!)
Just in case you were worried non breastfeeding mothers were being left out - fear not:
At times when you have to use the bottle, the same breastfeeding cover can be used to shield your clothing from any dripping milk.Because of course there's times all breastfeeding mothers have to use a bottle - apparently. And just in case you happen to sit with that bottle upside down, pouring everywhere - phew, you're covered!
Giving one away free (with buyer just paying shipping costs) is also rather clever - free things circulate round message boards like hotcakes; so anyone who had planned to just go breastfeed has now been given the option of a "free cover", essential for discreet feeding. Plus the buyer has paid shipping - one reviewer states:
Not sure it was worth the $9 or so shipping, I imagine that with the low cost of the materials, the minimal labor required to make the product and the $1 or so shipping cost them (it arrived in a little envelope,) that they make a fairly hefty margin on each one they send you for "free".
So it seems manipulative marketing techniques that undermine breastfeeding aren't solely restricted to those producing an alternative feeding substance - it can be even more subtly undermined by a company posing as supportive...