A helpful talk about Mahée Paiement’s breastfeeding controversy

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about helping other moms succeed in their breastfeeding journeys. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

One of my closest friends had always said she would never breastfeed. Her breasts were like gold, and she would not allow anyone but her boyfriend to touch them. I had given up trying to convince her, as none of the many breastfeeding benefits would make her change her mind.


About a year ago, she asked me what my thoughts were about a controversial ad. The ad was part of a governmental pro-breastfeeding campaign and it featured a picture of the Quebec French actress Mahée Paiement. In the picture, she was nursing her baby in a red velvety hotel room, wearing high heels and a very sexy black lace outfit. She was beautiful, she oozed feminity and any woman looking at her picture had her heart pinched with jealousy. How could she be so attractive, so slim, and a mother of a young baby? Many commented negatively, saying this pro-breastfeeding ad was putting pressure on mothers to be perfect, that it fostered unrealistic hopes of easy breastfeeding and that overall, it made them feel plain guilty.

I told my friend why I personally liked the ad: it touched on a taboo, sex and breastfeeding, and it blew it away. Breastfeeding appeared very different than the image usually conveyed and it proved that breastfeeding did not negatively impact a woman’ sex appeal. Breastfeeding also did not appear as a deviant sexual act. It was very simply and naturally part of a scene that suggested that sex with a man was possible. Not only was breastfeeding not taking anything away, it made the mother, in this particular velvety hotel scene, look sexy.

My friend agreed, the critics had it wrong: most women knew that breastfeeding might come with difficulties. The ad was not meant for those who were already nursing and potentially experiencing problems. It targeted women who were not yet nursing. Women like my friend, who did not want to breastfeed because they were afraid that breastfeeding would make their boobs look bad. The ad was also meant for those who feared that breastfeeding would interfere with their sexual life; for those who believed their boobs were for their partner and no one else.

This unexpected openhearted conversation changed the way my friend thought about breastfeeding.

She is now five months pregnant, and she told me that she now wants to nurse her baby. Now that her bra size has gone up and that her breasts have changed for someone who is not her boyfriend, she feels like she has to give it a go.

Christine Poirier co-founder of MomzelleChristine Poirier-Brotchie is the co-founder of Momzelle nursing clothing whose mission is to help mothers feel good about breastfeeding. She has a college degree in nursing and a master’s degree in French literature from McGill University. In 2010, she was named one of the “Women of the year” by ELLE Québec magazine and she has won many entreprenarial awards for her work with Momzelle. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.


Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Filed under Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival

4 responses to “A helpful talk about Mahée Paiement’s breastfeeding controversy

  1. Love this! I hadn’t heard of this ad, but I love your take on it. More than that, I think it’s awesome that it really did help your friend that she could still be sexy and breastfeed.

    • Sara posted a link to this blog entry on the Momzelle Facebook page (www.facebook.com/momzelle). There are 24 comments and over 140 likes so far! This ad leaves no one indifferent. Hopefully, this ad, and moreover, talking about this ad, can lead other future moms to change their mind about nursing. Thanks for giving me the chance to share the story 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for writing this for the Cafe this year. This IS a totally taboo subject and I think you succinctly and beautifully wrote about why ads like this are SO important. Great work!

  3. Pingback: Gla-mom-rous Photo shoot – Glamomrous

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