Breastfeeding is an amazing achievement. Not just for babies who benefit from the nutrients contained in real baby milk, but also for their moms, partners and families. The Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign officially kicked off on April 11, 2016 and will run until June 30, 2016. The campaign includes billboards placed throughout the community, posters, postcards, cinema advertising, a traveling gallery, social media shareables, and this website for moms and families to access breastfeeding resources. The website also shares personal stories from local moms, featured in the campaign, around topics such as The First Six Weeks, The Hardest Part, Pumping and Bottle Feeding, Health Benefits, Making the Commitment, Nursing in Public, Partner Support, and Getting Help.
Get Real About Breastfeeding celebrates mothers who breastfeed, acknowledging that breastfeeding is often not easy, reminding people that breastfeeding in public is legal, healthy, and normal, and encouraging others to provide support to breastfeeding moms and families. The campaign seeks to combat misinformation and hurdles, encourage moms to start breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding, and normalize breastfeeding in our culture.
In February 2016, representatives from the Ingham County Health Department, Maternal Child Health Division (ICHD), Willow Tree Family Center, Ingham County WIC, and Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition met with Redhead Design Studio to discuss developing a breastfeeding campaign in Mid-Michigan. ICHD was interested in improving the image, changing attitudes, and promoting education on breastfeeding awareness. ICHD and Redhead understood that breastfeeding is often viewed as something positive, but not necessary, by (particularly young) parents, who either don’t learn the skills, don’t know their own rights, or get cultural or family pressure toward bottle feeding. There are also hurdles and roadblocks that get in the way of success, so many moms who do try to breastfeed give up too soon. These hurdles include things such as the learning curve for both mom & baby and going back-to-work, and misinformation about corporate policies, etc.
Redhead Design conducted a focus group in March 2016 to help guide the direction of the campaign. 22 mothers, whom ranged in age from 22-44, were invited to participate. In total, 13 responses were collected from mothers whose child’s ages currently range from 3 months to 14 years. The following questions were asked:
- Did you try to breastfeed, or no?
- If no, what were your factors?
- If yes, what was hardest? What surprised you the most?
- What would you tell another new mom, that you wish you would have known?
- Did you breastfeed when you went back to work? Why or why not? What was that like?
- Did you ever breastfeed in public? Any interesting stories?
- In the end, whether you breastfed or not, how do you feel about it?
ICHD and Redhead identified three primary goals for the campaign, which include to:
- Combat misinformation and hurdles about breastfeeding;
- Encourage moms to start breastfeeding, and to continue breastfeeding past one year; and
- Normalize breastfeeding in our culture.
African-American moms and dads under 30 are the primary audience. Other audiences will receive messaging, but were not be the primary target, since this project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant #H49MC24118 (Ingham Healthy Start); a disparity reduction grant.
Measures of Success
The Michigan Public Health Institute will lead the evaluation efforts by developing an evaluation tool (survey) to assess whether the campaign goals and measures of success were met. The measures of success are the following:
- Increased initiation and duration rates;
- Change in attitudes and positive perceptions of breastfeeding in public; and
- Exposure to campaign and recall rates for messaging.
For additional information about the Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign, contact:
- Regina Traylor, Director, Maternal Child Health Division, Ingham County Health Department
- Tracie Bolton, Coordinator, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Ingham County Health Department
- Isaias Solis, Healthy Start Supervisor, Ingham County Health Department
- Nicole Greiter, Executive Director, Willow Tree Family Center
For media inquires and interviews related to the Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign, contact:
- Amanda Darche, Health Communications Specialist, Ingham County Health Department