World Breastfeeding Week starts this Saturday! I am excited to announce I am participating in the 2015 Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project again! Last year birth photographer Leilani Rogers of Austin, TX started this world wide movement to connect professional photographers around the world to donate sessions to photograph breastfeeding mothers feeding their babies and toddlers around town. Our goal was to share our images on social media during World Breastfeeding Week to help bring awareness and to help normalize breastfeeding in public. Little did we know our little project brought so much awareness and instantly went viral, and we are hoping this year to make it even bigger and better!
This year, my theme for my images is “Glamorous Breastfeeding” and I photographed 9 stylish, fashionable women – who also happen to be breastfeeding mothers.
I am happy to share with you my first image in this week’s series – a group picture of all the moms, dads, wives, babies and children that participated! I am filled with so much pride in all of these people who came out to spend the morning with me and to share this special relationship with their littles.
I can’t tell you how much this project has truly impacted me. It’s amazing. Getting to know some of these moms, I realized that this project has not only encouraged the women who will view these images, but they also empower the women who participate in it.
When I asked for volunteers for the project, I asked moms to share their breastfeeding stories. I was incredibly touched by so many, I wish I could have photographed every one of them! I read stories of how one mom struggled to breastfeed from the beginning and are excited they finally “got it” now, 10 months later. One mom couldn’t breastfeed her older child and now with her new baby she felt ‘her dream had come true’ and has been able to breastfeed her without issues. Another mom has a child with severe food allergies and is breast milk is still his main source of nutrition at 15 months. And the one that really stood out to me was the mom who struggled and was determined to breastfeed, despite disapproval from family, friends and random strangers. The stories these moms shared really resonated with me. These women who were overcoming obstacles and pushing forward to give their children the best nutrition possible needed encouragement and positivity! I read all of these amazing stories and I felt I needed to offer these women an opportunity to stand together with other moms just like them and breastfeed openly and proudly. I’m thrilled to empower them and to offer a wonderful experience to breastfeed without fear and to simply feed their babies.
The day before the shoot, I offered the participants if any of their husbands/significant others would like to join in, that they were welcome. I was thrilled to see dads and spouses supporting their wives. Support from our families is critical for breastfeeding. Without support, breastfeeding becomes a cause of stress instead of a chance to nourish, bond and connect with your baby. Spouses really play an important role in breastfeeding.
So excited to share this first image of the series with you – a group shot of these wonderful families! Stay tuned for tomorrow, where I’ll share more about one of these stunning mamas and her nursling!
ABOUT THE PUBLIC BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS PROJECT:
As a mother of 3 little ones myself and as a photographer that works closely with new and expecting mothers, I am extremely passionate about anything that motivates women and empowers mothers.
One of my most passionate causes has been to help mothers feel comfortable to breastfeed their little ones wherever they see fit. Despite the Florida law protects mothers from discrimination of breastfeeding in public, mothers are often shamed and humiliated when breastfeeding in public places, which then creates a stressful breastfeeding relationship between mothers and their babies, and oftentimes is a main reason that mothers stop breastfeeding completely. It is my mission to encourage mothers to breastfeed and help to normalize breastfeeding so mothers never feel ashamed for simply wanting to feed and nourish their babies.
Last year, I participated in The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project started by Texas Photographer Leilani Rogers that took social media by storm and instantly went viral. Leilani started this movement where professional photographers around the world would participating in this event where we photograph moms breastfeeding in public. Our goal was to support and encourage each other and share our breastfeeding experiences, all the while helping to continue the conversation to normalize breastfeeding and helping to educate others on the misconceptions of breastfeeding in public. Photographers from all over the world donated their time and photographed women breastfeeding in public in their towns and we all agreed we would share and publish our images during World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7th. Our intent was to flood social media with our images to help normalize breastfeeding in public.
Little did we know what our small project would create! Within the first few days of World Breastfeeding Week, it was published my several online magazines, most prominently featured by the Huffington Post in the article “22 Candid Photos That Show How Beautiful Breastfeeding Really Is”, BabyCenter.com, TheStir.com and Redbook.com. It was amazing to have my work be part of this and to have our very own local Boca Raton moms featured in this worldwide platform. I am honored to contribute to this movement and to help mothers everywhere feed their children wherever they see fit, without fear of being shamed or discriminated against. Mothers and babies deserve better!
2014 NEWS COVERAGE OF THE PUBLIC BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS PROJECT:
-The Huffington Post
“22 Candid Photos That Show How Beautiful Breastfeeding Really Is”
– Baby Center.com
“Remarkable Photos: Breastfeeding Moms Who Look Like You”