Frida Mom’s Breastfeeding Ad: A Lesson We Don’t Want But Need

Mother breastfeeding her baby on her bed.
Mother breastfeeding her baby.

There are so many questions running through new parents’ minds as they decide to take the plunge into breastfeeding their baby. Just to name a few: How do I breastfeed my baby? Where can I find lactation cookies and supplements? How do I pump?

What makes the new Frida Mom ad genius is that it’s relatable and validates the feelings of many who have been down the postpartum road before. I mean, sure, it has “lactation land,” and some of my nursing colleagues all riled up, but personally, I found it relatable and think a lot of new moms will too. Actually, they’ve told me so over on my Instagram page already.

I will say that I can’t get behind the products that boast fenugreek as the saving grace or the fancy massager (you can get one from Target or Walmart for much cheaper). However, Frida Mom nailed it on the marketing and copy necessary to sell their product. Honestly, I hardly noticed the items they plan to sell when I watched the video.

Call it what you want; the ad is real even for me with over a decade of nursing experience and having helped hundreds of breastfeeding families because guess what I struggled for months with breastfeeding my son.

Let’s go down the list:

  • Poor weight gain, the medical term is failure to thrive.
  • Finding out I needed to supplement with formula to make sure my son got enough calories since he couldn’t get a good latch. Too bad I didn’t know much about hand expressing at that point and wasn’t getting much breastmilk out when I pumped.
  • I had to exclusively pump for almost all of my 16-week maternity leave.
  • I discovered my son had a dairy and soy intolerance.
  • My lactation consultant told me that my son might have a tongue tie, so we went to a “renowned” ear nose and throat (ENT) doctor who all of the local moms adored, and she said there wasn’t a problem.
  • If you know me personally, you know I asked for a referral to get a second opinion, and after researching, I felt that it was best to get the laser procedure done by an oral surgeon. So we paid out of pocket for the frenotomy because even with great insurance, you guessed it, the procedure wasn’t covered. In retrospect, it was the right decision. The care my son received was unmatched. The office was beautiful, staff friendly, no anesthesia needed, and my baby returned to me sleeping as if nothing happened.
  • My son’s latch was still “off” even after several visits and follow-ups with some of the best lactation consultants in my area. So we continued to use a nipple shield for nearly 14 weeks. Not to mention we paid out of pocket for the visits with the IBCLC because the superbills that she provided us with meant nothing to our insurance company. And what postpartum mom feels like going through an appeals process? Well, I certainly didn’t.

When I returned to work, I was in for a rude awakening! It was hard to maintain my breastmilk supply with the limited time that I had to pump. I also had to deal with the fact that producing “just enough” milk didn’t seem to cut it some days, so I still had to supplement and felt horrible about it.

The story behind my why

I say all of this to give you insight into the events that put me in the exact place that lead me to start my private lactation practice in 2019 and finally becoming an IBCLC in 2020. Even with the difficulties, in the beginning, I went on to breastfeed my son for 2.5 years. Let’s not even talk about the weaning process because that can be a whole blog post on its own.

As a first-time mom, you always wonder how and if you can do things better. To my lactation and nursing colleagues who feel the need to judge this ad based on the thought that it will “turn off” new parents from breastfeeding; newsflash, new parents, are already worried, anxious, and turned off in a society where formula feeding is the norm.

The lesson we don’t want but need

Kudos to Frida Mom, not for their products or their knack for crafting a story and imagery that will sell but for pulling back the curtain during the Golden Globes (see what I did there) to give America a sneak peek at the experiences that myself and so many new parents have lived.

Unfortunately, until we as healthcare professionals can do better with educating our patients, ourselves, and referring out when necessary million-dollar companies will always have a leg up. Perhaps we can turn this into a positive and reflect on how we can learn to better support new families? In fact, I challenge you to go forth and do just that!

About the author

Mercedes Thomas, CPNP, IBCLC is a wife, mother, author, pediatric nurse practitioner, and lactation consultant. She has been in the nursing field for over twelve years specializing in the NICU, pediatrics, and lactation. She owns a consulting firm where she educates families and organizations about breastfeeding, postpartum, newborn care, and children’s health.

For further information or if you wish to contact her she can be reached via her website or social media pages:

www.mercedesthomas.com

www.instagram.com/mercedesthenp

www.facebook.com/mercedesthenp

Mercedes Thomas, CPNP, IBCLC is a nurse consultant, best-selling author, and maternal-child health advocate. You can connect with her at mercedesthomas.com

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