A lot has been made of breastfeeding lately—and for good reason. But one side effect of the brelfies and the calls to #normalizebreastfeeding is that bottle-feeding has been all but overlooked. In fact, some moms who opt for formula say they feel judged or, worse, like a failure for not nursing their babies.
Nikke Whitman is not okay with this. After seeing a friend struggle with breastfeeding, the Puyallup, Washington–based birth photographer realized she could help shine a positive light on the alternative. Enter "Bottle Feeding Is Beautiful, Too," a stunning series of photos that capture the beauty of baby's meal time.
Taking them proved to be educational for the mom of three who, incidentally, bottle-fed her own babies after trying to nurse. "Recently, I met with women who have chosen to bottle feed on their own or because of circumstances out of their control," she wrote on her blog. "For some, the choice of feeding their babies rather than letting them starve is a very real scenario. I was surprised to find out some of the reasons women choose to bottle feed that I had never before considered. I thought my eyes were open but they had only caught a glimpse past my own personal struggles with breast feeding and bottle feeding."
With her intimate photos of infants cuddled up with moms, dads, and siblings, Whitman also hopes her photos dispel the notion that the only way you can bond with your baby is through breastfeeding. She wrote that "seeing a baby bond with its mommy, daddy, sibling, family, or friend is a blessing. So I retain my opinion that bottle feeding is beautiful, too." (Amen!)
Check out a few of our favorite images from her series below (and click here to see the full collection):
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Images courtesy of Nikke Whitman Photography