It’s 2016, and women are still working to normalize breastfeeding in our society, in spite of the fact that for thousands of years, women have been keeping their children alive and healthy through the natural bodily function.
Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel recently shared a photo of her breastfeeding her baby, commenting on the stigma against the, again, natural practice. “Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children. I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I’ve done in the name of art..?” she wrote.
Jaime King is another celebrity who has used social media as a way to show that breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed about. She captioned an Instagram photo of herself and her then-8-month-old child “breastfeeding should not be taboo” before adding that “bottle feeding should not be judged – it’s ALL fun for the whole family:)” A few years ago, Gisele Bündchen famously shared a glamorous shot of her getting her hair and makeup done while feeding her baby, showing that even when you don’t live a normal life, you can still do normal things like use your body to nourish your child.
As long as there are babies being born, women are going to breastfeed, defend their right to do so, and remind us all that the functional use of a woman’s breasts should not be looked on as something dirty or shameful. Photo editing app PicsArt is working to help show the beauty of breastfeeding with its #TreeofLife edits, which transform “brelfies” — pictures of women nursing their children — into straight-up gorgeous pieces of art.
A photo posted by J O R D A N (@withthewhittakers) on Dec 18, 2016 at 1:21pm PST
A photo posted by Ashley Moore (@ashley_moore_on_insta) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:59am PST
Har hevet meg på trenden og laget et #treeoflife bilde jeg også ???? Vi er ferdig å amme nå, det ble 13 mnd på oss. Men å få til å amme disse to er noe av det jeg er mest stolt over å ha fått til noen gang ???????? #normalizebreastfeeding #breastfeedingtwins #mybiggestaccomplishment #breastisbest #brelfie #dobbelamming
A photo posted by Liv Bergmann Giertsen (@livbgie) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:56am PST
A photo posted by ????Sylwia Izabela Bakula???? (@sylwiaizabelabakula) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:56am PST
A photo posted by Ruby Hernandez (@rubyh2) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:55am PST
My sons very first feeding! I was able to breastfeed my son till he was 15 months, I am so happy I was able to give him that. Those months that we created the bond we have I will cherish forever. #treeoflife #normalizebreastfeeding #littleone #breastfeeding
A photo posted by Malisa ChapterChick (@romancebookaddict) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:50am PST
A photo posted by Erika Lagtun (@elagtun) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:48am PST
Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and should never be looked at in a sexual or negative aspect. I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for over three months now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the bond and closeness it brings us. Whenever she is hungry, tired, fussy or just wants to be close to mommy I offer her a feeding and it never fails to calm and comfort her! I look forward to comforting her for as long as I can, for they grow up so fast! I love this Tree Of Life Pic of her and I♡
A photo posted by Gina Valerio (@italianrican) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:39am PST
“In a campaign to #normalizebreastfeeding, mamas all over the world are sharing #brelfies, and supporting each other through social media. What we love even more is how these women are editing photos not just for themselves, but as gifts for each other,” PicsArt wrote in a blog on its website.
Model Natalia Vodianova also got in on the trending hashtag, adding an edit of a brelfie she took in June 2014.
I am supporting (РУС ниже) and encourage you to support #normalizebreastfeeding campaign that is growing on social media right now by posting a touching breastfeeding picture to illustrate the deep roots of care and love. I want to thank my friends from amazing creative community app @picsart for providing tools and supporting the mamas movement. #TreeOfLife ???????? Я участвую сама и приглашаю вас творчески поддержать кампанию против ханжества в отношении грудного кормления. Трогательные и прекрасные коллажи кормящих мам всколыхнули интернет, и я благодарна Ованесу и команде замечательного приложения @picsart за поддержку инициативы в создании всей этой красоты и вдохновения #TreeOfLife
A photo posted by Natalia Vodianova (@natasupernova) on Dec 17, 2016 at 4:19am PST
That same year, Facebook updated its community guidelines to allow mothers to post pictures of breastfeeding. In April 2015, Instagram finally caved in after much criticism and clarified its own standards of propriety, giving breastfeeding mothers and women showing their postmastectomy scars the OK to do so on the social media platform.
There is still a ways to go when it comes to normalizing breastfeeding, but hopefully social media campaigns like this can tip the balance so women aren’t afraid to let their bodies do what Mother Nature intended.