When Felicia Saunders photographed a portrait series of mothers feeding their baby, she could never have imagined that it would go viral and make such an impact.
The American Saunders posted the portraits below on her Instagram account and Facebook page as her contribution to the World’s Breastfeeding-week and -month. There are so many beautiful pictures of breastfeeding women online, but the award-winning photographer wanted to approach it in a slightly different way, to show that all ways of feeding babies are beautiful. And that mothers who feed their babies differently have so much in common.
Mothers react en masse
In the weeks following the posting of the photo, not a day has gone by that Saunders has not received emails and messages from mothers who recognize themselves in the story she is trying to tell with the record. “My own fight with guilt, because I couldn’t breastfeed, inspired me. We all do our best for our little ones and that’s the best we can do,” Saunders says.
I totally agree. All parents should get the support they deserve in parenting, no matter how they feed their newborn. The pressure that only breastfeeding is really good for the child can be damaging. No one should feel guilty about using milk powder. A mother who feeds her child is by nature something beautiful, whether it is breastfeeding, with a bottle, or even with a probe.
For Saunders, it was important to have a spectrum of to show feeding methods. One of the babies in the pictures does not drink at the breast or from a bottle, but is fed by a probe. Precisely for this reason, her work clearly makes a difference for mothers who recognize themselves in these images. “I am honoured with all the lovely messages that have been received from all over the world,” notes the photographer. “Women have shared their stories with me openly or in private messages. The tremendous impact of some of the pictures has touched me deeply.”
More than just breastfeeding
For many women who can’t breastfeed, a week for breastfeeding and extra pictures about it is a difficult week on social media. That’s why Saunders wanted to create another beautiful image of a mother bottle-feeding among all breastfeeding women. “I wanted more people to judge less. We don’t know what someone is going through, so showing a little love and support can always be a good first step for a nurturing parent,” says Saunders.
Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. Other forms of babies are also beautiful, but Saunders recognizes the need to promote breastfeeding.
In 2019, many mothers still feel that they should hide when breastfeeding and a surprising number of people still feel that mothers should not breastfeed in public.
According to a study by Aeroflow, even among women 28% believe that new mothers should be prohibited from breastfeeding in public, a further 22% of men agree.
Whether you’re breastfeeding, feeding your child with a bottle or a probe, know that you don’t have to hide from other people’s opinions. You are the mother and what you do with your child is beautiful, that is your personal bond. These pictures are proof of that.