Portrait: Christina

Please share with me why you chose to participate.

I chose to participate because my son and I got off to a rocky start with breastfeeding.  He was born 6 weeks premature and had to spend his first 9 days in the NICU, because of this we were unable to have the bonding time we each needed to promote a healthy start to our breastfeeding journey.  Our first month was a struggle, but we overcame it with the support my midwife, nurses, lactation consultants, and most importantly, my loved ones.  I know many women have the same story but don’t get the support they need.  Lactivism projects like this can help change minds so women have more support during such an emotional and difficult time in their lives.

Why do you feel it’s important to promote a positive image of breastfeeding in society today?

To remove the stigma and old views of breastfeeding so women have the support they need.
#NormalizetheFeed

Portrait: Katy

Please share with me why you chose to participate.

I’m thrilled to have a memento of such a special time in my life. Nursing my last baby is bittersweet, I know that I’ll mourn the breastfeeding relationship when she weans. I’m usually the one behind the camera, so having a photo of me doing something I really value is something I’ll always cherish!

Why do you feel it’s important to promote a positive image of breastfeeding in society today?

I wish that all people, especially mothers, felt more comfortable with their bodies and how amazing they are. I feel lucky to have never felt any kind of shame or disappointment about my body, but I wish that was the norm! I think that if women had more confidence in themselves and their bodies they would succeed more often with their breastfeeding goals. I know too many mothers who didn’t get the support they needed, or worse, were given bad advice. If our society was more used to positive images of breastfeeding I think more women would get the support they need. It takes a village, and if that new mom doesn’t have any successful breastfeeding mothers in their village to be exposed to and learn from, it can be even harder for them to reach those goals. The more normalized breastfeeding is, the more our whole society will benefit.
#NormalizetheFeed

Portrait: Leah

Please share with me why you chose to participate.

Adelaide is my second child. Nursing has been such an incredible and unique experience with both of my children and it is painfully clear to me how fleeting this time is. I would love to memorialize the moment for myself personally while contributing to a movement to make breastfeeding more acceptable and less controversial.

Why do you feel it’s important to promote a positive image of breastfeeding in society today?

It is such a powerful thing for mother and baby to share, and so beneficial to both.

#NormalizetheFeed

Portrait: Gladys

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.

#NormalizetheFeed