Has the hashtag #normalizebreastfeeding or simply #normalizeit taken over your social media feeds?? Is your feed filled with women posting their brelfies (AKA breastfeeding selfies)? Even celebrities are getting in the game. #Normalizeit has become a powerful movement and its impact is growing. I’ll admit I probably wasn’t paying as much attention before the birth of my son, but now I can’t help but feel like it’s making a dent in social norms and culture.
The Normalize Breastfeeding movement is working to change our culture around breastfeeding. We need women to feel comfortable to nurse anytime, anyplace. The laws are there to support us, however, there is still a culture barrier to overcome. Women nurse every 1-4 hours, making it next to impossible to organize an outing if breastfeeding in public is shunned upon. I believe a major component to increasing our breastfeeding rate in the US is by helping mothers incorporate breastfeeding into their current lifestyle and not the other way around.
So who is paving the way? There are a number of amazing moms, photographers and celebrities leading the Normalize Breastfeeding movement:
The growth of family photography has reached new heights. No longer bounded by static, smiling family photos, many families are opting to pose for maternity and labor shots, as well as those intimate breastfeeding moments. Many family photographers are embracing the change; Ivette Ivans is one of the more well known.
Ivette Ivens is an amazing photographer and well known for her work of capturing the beauty of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be messy and uncomfortable, but Ivette focuses on the mother’s inner consciousness–beautiful, saintly and celestial. Be sure to peruse her site for some inspiring images.
It’s amazing to see so many celebrities join the movement, posting their inspiring brelfies and giving the world a peek into their lives as mothers. With every area of their lives on full display, why should breastfeeding be any different? From Olivia Wilde, Gisele Bundchen, Nicole Trunfino, Miranda Kerr to Gwen Stephani–the list goes on and on.
Olivia Wilde had a full spread in Glamour magazine breastfeeding her little one. Originally the shoot was just going to be her, but as her son got hungry mid-way she realized that if they wanted to really capture what her life was like, breastfeeding was now a big part of that.
“It was an interesting experience because that photo shoot came out of a very organic moment of having to feed my son because it was just my choice to breastfeed. But I did not in any way intend to shame women who had chosen not to breastfeed for whatever reason. It’s a complex issue, but the one thing that’s not complex is that people should be allowed to breastfeed wherever they want, whenever they want.” – Olivia Wilde
Gisele is a well known advocate for breastfeeding, although perhaps a little too forcefully. She was once quoted saying “there should be a worldwide law…that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months”. She later clarified and pulled back her words stating “My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law,” she said. “It comes from my passionate beliefs about children. Being a new mom has brought a lot of questions. I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child. It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white.” One of her more famous photos is highlighted below.
Tree of Life
Did you ever come across the #treeoflife pics? They were trending earlier this year as the latest artistic take on a brelfie. With the help of the PicsArt iPhone app, brelfies are transformed into beautiful works of art. The tree of life has often served as a symbol for connecting forms of creation, the act of breastfeeding is a wonderful example of that.
Through Facebook breastfeeding groups, many mothers are able to gain an immense amount of support throughout their breastfeeding journey. Many times moms may be the first in their family to breastfeed and having a virtual community to cheer you on when perhaps your family members aren’t your biggest supporters can go a long way.
In addition, some mothers still have been made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome while breastfeeding in public. These groups will go to bat for them and ensure the individual or company understands the importance of changing their ways as required by law.
For example, when Oregon mom Karina Gomez says she was “humiliated” when a Marshall’s store employee instructed her to breastfeed her baby in a bathroom stall, a Portland mom group organized a successful nurse-in to support her and other moms.
Many studies have shown that our view on breastfeeding is largely influenced by culture. It’s up to us to support the normalize breastfeeding movement so all mothers feel comfortable to feed their child as they see fit.
Veronica Horner is the co-founder of Maia Moda, a modern breastfeeding clothing line of tops and dresses for stay at home and working mothers. As more and more moms are choosing to breastfeed and for longer periods of time, better designed and stylish clothing is another great way to help moms on their breastfeeding journey. You can keep up to date on the company by signing up for the mailing list or through Instagram and Facebook.