Friday, August 30, 2013

Breastfeeding in an 1899 Car Ad

Found in a history of cars book, this is a car ad from 1899. 

The mother in the picture is nursing her baby, back in the "old days when women were modest."  She's nursing without a cover(!), and even out the top of her dress - not with a sneaky nursing tank.

Not only does it seem that depicting uncovered breastfeeding was no big deal in the nineteenth century, the adults with the mother are not giving her dirty looks, or averting their eyes, either.  In fact, the other woman in the De Dion car is looking on while holding the baby's hand, and the man - the father, perhaps? - is watching and distracted from driving to the point of being a danger to others on the road.

If this was a modern-day sitcom, the man would be ogling the woman's breast (I'm picturing "Joey" from Friends), and a laugh track would play when the pigs barely escaped their doom as the car-driving pig was driven to distraction at the sight of a bare breast.  "How you doin'?"

But the man is clearly not distracted by thinking he wants to hook up with Mom, but by the sweetness of a baby being nourished.  More "Mister Rogers" than "Joey."

This is the kind of support mothers need for nursing their babies.  The kind where mothers are surrounded by people who clearly care that baby is getting optimal nutrition - and care enough that it matters more than the things our society allows to sit as a barriers on a mother's road to meeting her breastfeeding goals. 

Thank you, Tammy B., for sharing the image!

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