Nearly 200 Breastfeeding Moms Posed for This Gorgeous Viral Photo
Photographer Alicia Samone takes gasp-worthy group shots of nursing moms so they can "feel powerful together."
As the expression goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We tend to take that expression literally, in the context of friends and family swinging by to relieve a new mom for a few minutes so she can take a shower or a nap. But the village also encompasses fellow moms who show a new or struggling mom that she's not alone. Photographer Alicia Samone managed to illustrate that powerful definition of the expression with a jaw-droppingly beautiful photo featuring 171 breastfeeding moms standing side-by-side in the desert as they nurse their little ones.
To mark August as National Breastfeeding Month, Samone took to Facebook to share the image, writing, "This is what a statement looks like. THIS is what hard work looks like. This is what passion looks like. This is power. This is a strong, fearless, powerful, loving group of women showing you that breastfeeding is normal. In ALL ways."
Samone, who has taken group photos of nursing moms for five years now, noted, "Two years ago we had 43 moms make a statement. Last year 48. This year 171. This statement IS working."
Her latest portrait features 171 moms—346 people, if you include the babies. There are moms who pump, those who breastfeed babies, toddlers, and kids, those who breastfeed other babies who are not theirs, those who pump and nurse, those who pump for other babies, those who breastfeed one baby, those who exclusively pump.
"ALL OF THIS is normal," Samone shared. "And yes, we have the legal right to feed our children anywhere we please because it's the most natural thing that we can ever do. THIS is what our body is made to do. THIS Is how we nourish our babies. THIS is how our babies survive.
Isn't that absolutely insane that OUR bodies can create a substance that is purely 100 percent for our kids that can keep them alive, full, healthy, and happy!? A literal miracle."
She continued, "It doesn’t matter the race, the color, the size, shape, green hair, red hair, brown hair, no hair, tall, short, outgoing, shy, religion, single mom, married mom, adoptee, bio mom, any mom, it doesn’t matter. We are all here to stand for the same thing. When these women breastfeed in public, you know... feeding their baby just like you eating at a restaurant... They get a towel thrown at them, or told they're disgusting, or to cover up or go sit in the hot car. NO. We will NOT. This is our right. THIS IS OUR BABY'S RIGHT!! To eat just like everyone else."
Samone asked followers to tell nursing moms that they're doing an amazing job, because "you will make her world."
The photographer and mom of three, who is based in Arizona and California, shares that she was first inspired to take group shots of breastfeeding moms while she was nursing her daughter. "I nursed all my kids, but my daughter I nursed for nearly four years," Samone says. "During my breastfeeding journey, I got a lot of the 'can you go breastfeed in the car?' Or 'cover up' or 'do you really have to breastfeed at the table?' It always got to me, but I was very young and out of fear of judgement and being told something and not knowing my rights, I always ended up in a car, with a miserable cover, or just in a room by myself."
As her daughter got older, she was told that she was too old to nurse or that she was "gross for nursing that long." "But one day I decided to take a stand," Samone explains. "I had a platform, and what better way to make a stand other than making moms feel powerful together? Knowing they have everyone standing around them in support."
For her first photoshoot, she started with fewer than 15 moms together nursing their babies. "Then, I had around 20 one year, and then I had 43, and that post went viral, and I knew we were making a BIG statement," she says. "The next year, we had 48 moms. And each year the statement was bigger and better and more and more moms felt better about breastfeeding in public, and on social media in front of the world, and we were making public their rights to breastfeed or pump whenever and wherever the wanted or needed to."
When she put the call out for moms this year, she got 314 responses. Of those responses, 171 moms came out. The group stood in 104-degree weather "to show moms everywhere they support them," Samone notes. "They support breastfeeding. That we had a whole community are here to tell you it’s normal. And it’s not going anywhere."
The bottom-line for the photographer: "My goal as a whole is to let every mom feel comfortable. To know they are never alone. I’m here to help get this out there and I won't give up. Every mom should feel supported through this hard, but most rewarding time of their life."