Giant 'Boob Balloons' Just Popped Up All Over London Again to Help Normalize Breastfeeding

A giant inflatable boob from the #FreetheFeed campaign sits atop a building in London.
Elvie/Twitter

If you happen to be whizzing through London on a double-decker bus this week (hey, a girl can dream), do yourself a favor and look up. And not just to catch a glimpse of Big Ben or the London Eye, either -- though I guess those are pretty cool too. No, this week Londoners are doing double takes after spotting giant balloons atop buildings throughout the city that look an awful lot like ... *squints to get a closer look* giant boobs?

Why yes, yes they are.

  • That's right -- giant boob balloons are popping up all over London, for one very important cause: to help normalize public breastfeeding worldwide.

    The balloons, which range in size from 10 feet to 20 feet, were designed by the creative agency Mother London, and come in a variety of skin tones to celebrate inclusivity. They're part of the #FreetheFeed campaign, launched back in 2017 by the female tech company Elvie. Now in its third year, the first "boobs" of spring started sprouting up on March 26 (aka Mother’s Day in the UK).

    Here in the States, we're no longer strangers to sweeping campaigns that raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and attempt to shatter the stigma surrounding public nursing.

  • Advertisement
  • That said, that stigma is still alive and well, not just in the US but also worldwide. 

    And on top of it all, workplace support for breastfeeding moms still leaves a lot to be desired.

    According to research, the UK still has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. In fact, the Independent reports that just 34 percent of UK babies are receiving breast milk at 6 months old. This pales in comparison to other developed nations throughout Europe, including Sweden, which has a 62 percent breastfeeding rate. A huge part of this, studies show, is tied to a lack of breastfeeding support, cuts in health funding, and a lack of knowledge about the natural benefits of breastfeeding -- which include increased protection from illness and disease, better brain development, and closer bonding. (Just to name a few.)

  • But there's also something else at play when it comes to low breastfeeding rates in developed nations: the shame surrounding public nursing.

    That's precisely the reason why these giant, inflatable boobs -- as eye-catching and even, let's admit it, humorous as they are -- are being erected all over one of England's oldest cities. Because the fact is, if women feel embarrassed or even inconvenienced to nurse in public, breastfeeding's just not going to work.

    It's simple: Babies need a lot of fuel, and they need it on demand.

    “What a lot of people don’t understand is that small children don’t choose a time to be hungry," Ana Balarin, the partner and executive creative director of Mother London, told Yahoo Lifestyle. "... the maternal -- and paternal -- instinct to feed a hungry child supersedes any imposed conventions. That’s why the incrimination and shaming is doubly insulting.”

    It certainly is.

  • And yet, even in 2019, as women continue to break barriers in the workplace and at home, barriers for breastfeeding still exist at every turn.

    A survey of 2,000 British women found that over half said they received little support at work and were often forced to pump in less than desirable places, such as their car or even a bathroom, according to a report by the Guardian

    Hopefully, as more campaigns like this one keep pushing the issue (and the envelope) the more employers, as well as the public, will begin to realize what breastfeeding women have long-since known: Nursing in public natural and totally normal -- so let's all get over it already!