Piri Weepu hits back at bottle advert ban

By Paul Harper

Piri Weepu fed baby Taylor a bottle in an anti-smoking advert. Photo / Supplied
Piri Weepu fed baby Taylor a bottle in an anti-smoking advert. Photo / Supplied

Piri Weepu has defended his decision to bottlefeed his daughter after footage of the All Black bottle-feeding her was cut from an anti-smoking advertisement.

The two-second glimpse of the Rugby World Cup star feeding his 6-month-old daughter Taylor was removed following concerns from pro-breastfeeding organisations the high-profile of Weepu would sway people away from breastfeeding their children.

Weepu told 3News his baby is allergic to dairy, one of the reasons why she is bottlefed.

"What are you going to do if ... the mother can't breastfeed? What am I supposed to do - go find someone who is breastfeeding at 2 o'clock in the morning and see if they can give my daughter milk? It's not going to happen."

In the Health Sponsorship Council TV ad, the halfback was followed for a day, including an hour spent at home with his two daughters, Taylor and Keira. In the clip Weepu spoke of the importance of having a smoke free home.

"The ad was basically about being smoke free. Our house is smoke free so that I can have a better future for my girls," he told 3News.

The footage was shown to health groups, including La Leche League and Plunket, for feedback.

La Leche League director Alison Stanton told the Herald on Sunday the trouble was not with Weepu bottle feeding but with the overall message.

"It's really important that those messages are consistent across the board. It's been resolved and was really a storm in a tea cup."

Karen Guilliland, chief executive officer of the College of Midwives, told the paper the organisation also opposed the ad too. "We just figured that Piri Weepu was so loved that whatever he did would carry a huge weight."

However the decision to cut the footage has been widely criticised, with some pointing out men and many women cannot breastfed.

"I'm pretty sure a lot of dads would like to be more hands on, but when it comes to feeding babies we don't have that luxury," Weepu said.

"They are my kids, I'm not going to have anyone tell me how to raise me kids."

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