Sunday, November 16, 2008

Motrin just bashed my parenting style

This morning as I was catching up on my blogs, I saw the headline of "Thanks, Motrin, I'll be wearing my baby anyway." Huh? What did Motrin know about babywearing? It turns out, nothing.

here to see what the genius marketing team at Motrin has come up with. Writing dumb things wasn't good enough for them; they went the extra mile and put it into a cutesy little video! Just in case they've taken it down, you can go to Mama's Nest for a full run-down of every stupid thing they uttered.

They've apparently launched a new ad concept in which they say "Awww, poor moms, we understand your pain." The thing is, they don't understand. I didn't wear my baby "because it would 'totally' make me look like an official mom." And I don't think I look any more "tired and crazy" than I did before. (Do I?!?)

"As a mom," they venture, "you know what it's like to have a unique kind of pain that's often underappreciated. From walking for hours in high heels to staying up all night, carrying a feverish child. The MOTRIN Brand wants you to know, WE FEEL YOUR PAIN." Who, may I ask, is walking around for hours in high heels? I didn't realize that was a requirement! Goodness, I'd better get started or else I might not look like an official mom.

If you think I'm overreacting, perhaps I should explain why this ad bothers me most. You see, I know the ad is idiotic. But what if a pregnant lady, one who had not yet discovered the joy of babywearing, saw this? Her back may already be hurting from the pregnancy, and the fallacies in the ad might just be enough to make her scratch the baby sling off her gift registry.

I'm not saying babywearing is always comfortable, but there are ways to deal with it. The babywearing group I attend once took an entire meeting just to discuss babywearing problems. (Every mom present agreed the benefits were far greater.) If a mom is having back pain, it's probably because she has the wrong carrier, the wrong size carrier, or is wearing it slightly wrong. For instance, slings (which go over one shoulder) are pretty good at distributing baby's weight. However, if you're going on a four-hour hike it'd be best to use a wrap or mei tai, both of which distribute the weight evenly on both shoulders.

What the people at Motrin don't know or have conveniently chosen to ignore is that babywearing is an ancient practice. This is not something "'they've' come up with" recently. It's been going on for thousands of years! It did see a decline in our culture, however, because it was misunderstood. I think misunderstandings still have a negative impact on the rate of women who wear their babies. Some moms think, because it's all they've known, that it's best to leave the baby in the floor in the car seat or push him around in a stroller. Babywearing is much more beneficial for baby's development, but it's tough to overcome a mom's preconceived notion of what is and isn't appropriate.

Small, benevolent non-profit organizations such as No Mother Left Behind (and women who make slings and wraps by hand) have worked too long and too hard to help women learn this life skill to have it ridiculed by a bunch of corporate idiots.

The truth is that babywearing has probably kept at least a few frazzled parents from shaking their babies to death. When a newborn is shrieking inconsolably at the top of his lungs and his parents have tried everything to calm him, it can be so hurtful and frustrating. Do you understand that pain, MOTRIN? It's far greater than the pain in my shoulders from carrying a little babe who weighs less than ten pounds.