This is me, your photographer, nursing my youngest and last of three boys. I feel that it’s only appropriate that I not only participate in my own project, but kick it off. I was inspired to do this project by the conversation that was already happening in the world and being branded with the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding. As a mother of three, breastfeeding quickly became a non-issue. I was just doing what I needed to keep my babies happy and healthy. After my first hospital birth, I quickly relinquished most of my sense of modesty when it came to my breasts with nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors coming and going, helping me learn how to get baby to latch, or checking to make sure we were doing it right. I was grateful to be able to do what I know not all mothers can for whatever the reason, and shame was not part of the equation for me.
After seeing more and more stories about mothers being shamed for discretely nursing their child in public, or being criticized for boldly doing so; and seeing stories about models and politicians unabashedly nursing on magazine covers or on the lawmaking floor, I decided that I needed to add to the conversation. I needed to create images that show breastfeeding as the relationship of nourishing, nurturing, and bonding between mother and child. I have had a strong participant response and look forward to bringing the images of these mommas and their little ones as I photograph them and share their feelings about breastfeeding and their motivations for participating.
So on this, the first day of International Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, I bring to you the first image in the Normalize the Feed portrait project.