A recent ad featuring Piri Weepu, a beloved New Zealand rugby player, feeding his 6-month-old daughter has really caused a brouhaha in New Zealand.
The photo was a to be a two-second shot included in a public service anti-smoking advertisement for the country’s Health Sponsorship Council. However, La Leche League and other motherhood advocacy groups disapproved of the photo claiming that Weepu’s high profile stature would persuade mothers against breastfeeding.
According to La Leche League director Alison Stanton, the message contradicts the core message that breastfeeding is best. Stanton said, “You’ve got the healthy eating message, exercise, breastfeeding, smoke-free environment, wearing safety belts and this is about making sure that we give consistent health messages.”
The crux of the ad is the message “Smoking, Not Our Future.” The ad shows Weepu at home with his daughters, 6-month-old Taylor and toddler Keira. During the ad, Weepu explains the advantages of living in a smoke-free environment. The photo has been removed from the ad due to the outcry.
Weepu has countered La Leche League’s argument by stating that his daughters both have dairy allergies and bottle feeding was necessary.
He told TV One in New Zealand, “We do get prescribed this special formula for her[Taylor] called Elecare and that’s all she has at the moment.”
Some critics of La Leche League’s decision have viewed at as anti-father sentiment.
The image has spawned a real firestorm of opinions in New Zealand that is taking awhile to simmer down.