So what was so bad about the baby picture, you say?
Imagine you're a mother just meeting her baby after hours and hours of some of the hardest physical and emotional work of your life. Maybe your labor wasn't what you wanted, and likely it's taking some work to get the baby to stay awake and open his mouth long enough to latch on properly. This breastfeeding thing takes some practice for both you and baby. You start to question if you'll even be able to do this every 2 hours like you were told to.
Then you look up.
And what you see is a smiling, happy, chubby baby that looks nothing like your wrinkled, red, skinny, crying newborn. As a first time mom you may not even realize that the baby on the wall is about 4 months old, but what you do know is that the BOTTLE he's holding sure does look easy at this point. The baby's even holding it and feeding himself! Man, that would be easier!
In fact, there's not even a mom in the picture. Where is she? Getting a shower? Taking a nice, long nap?
So even though all the pediatricians and nurses are suggesting exclusive breastfeeding at first, it seems obvious to me that this picture undermines so much of that. As a doula, I'm the one helping mothers out with that first awkward feeding and have heard the unhelpful advice from some nurses who are too busy to stay for more than 5 minutes. Of course some tired parents just ask for a bottle because this breastfeeding thing is obviously not for them.
They want the happy baby in the picture.
And no one told them that breastfeeding usually gets easier quickly.
My cynical side wonders who paid for this picture. Was it really picked out by a decorator? Maybe. But it also might have been donated by a formula company. They donate lots of things to hospitals. Tape measures, diaper bags, and of course lots of free formula are given to hospitals in the US (it's illegal in many other countries), so I just wonder if that picture was also from them.
Because that would have been genius.