Kitchener-Waterloo

Facebook OK's ad for breastmilk bowl after mother's complaint

After initially refusing it, Facebook has allowed an ad for Kitchener mother Melanie Scholz's breast bowls, which can be used by mothers who are hand expressing breastmilk.
Kitchener mother Melanie Scholz makes breast bowls and sells them through her website and Facebook page. When she tried to boost a post for it on the social media site, she said she was denied. (BreastBowl.com)

A Kitchener mother who makes bowls to collect breastmilk was initially told she couldn't promote her product on Facebook because it was deemed to be an adult product.

However, after investigating her complaint, Facebook has now permitted the ad.

"Our team reviews millions of advertisements each week, and there are times we make mistakes. This ad does not violate our policies and we have now approved it. We apologize for any inconvenience," the company said Thursday in an email to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

Bowl not boosted

On April 1, Scholz posted a photo of a bowl she had made using a new glassblowing technique. The handcrafted bowl was popular with her followers and Facebook recommended she "boost" her post.

Facebook says when you boost a post, you can target your ad to people who like your page, their friends or people you want to target based on location, interests, age or gender. Boosting a post costs money.

Scholz said despite initially suggesting she boost, Facebook later responded by telling her she could not boost the post.

"I found that quite offensive because I'm making these bowls to help other women because I found that I needed one," Scholz said. "I was quite unhappy about the response."

Beats a salad bowl

Scholz, a biomechanical researcher, was on maternity leave in 2015. She began to hand express breastmilk for her baby because she found a breast pump didn't work as well.

She said it was difficult to find a bowl or jar that was suitable. Online there were suggestions mothers should express breastmilk into a mixing or salad bowl, but Scholz said that was uncomfortable and wasted some of the milk. It also wasn't convenient.

"I'm not going to bring a salad bowl to work and hand express into it, all hunched over," she said.

Kitchener mom Melanie Scholz is seen in this photo taken at Blown Away Glass Studio in Elora. (Supplied photo)

Scholz turned to a new hobby — glassblowing — to make bowls that suited her needs. That included creating something that could catch breastmilk, which can spray in all directions. She had to ensure it was comfortable to use, fit in one hand easily, was clean and safe and made it easy to pour the milk into a bottle or freezer bag.

She now sells them on her website, Breastbowl.com, and said she has received a positive response from women who have purchased the bowls along with lactation consultants who help new moms with breastfeeding.

"Everybody really appreciates the artistic touch, the handmade aspect of the bowls," she said.

"It's not just some sterile [bottle]. Breastfeeding is a very personal thing, and so expressing milk into something that looks really nice and also has an appropriate size that doesn't make you feel like your breasts are broken or something because you don't fill up the whole volume," Scholz said.

"It's a very different experience than sitting at an electric pump and feeling like an industrial cow."

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