We have said it before (a million times) and we will keep saying it, it’s time to normalize breastfeeding. Thankfully, the mothers of the world have incredible advocates on their side to help weaken the stigmas (that this act should be done in private) around one of the most natural acts a woman can do. One of those champions is photographer and author Natalie McCain. The mother-of-two has capitalized on her artistic talents by pouring energy into her website and book, both titled, The Honest Body Project, which display impactful photo series of mother’s breastfeeding to “help make people more aware of how natural breastfeeding in public is.”
“Look, I get it. If you’re not used to seeing breastfeeding images, or women nursing in public, it can be strange to see. If only people understood, that is why we do this. That is why breastfeeding images are needed. The more it is seen, the less it is unknown,” McCain wrote in a note among her powerful photos. “The more people are exposed to it, the more normal it becomes. Women don’t nurse in public for attention. We don’t share these images for praise. We share them so that the next generation of breastfeeding women will have it a little easier. If we open the eyes of even just a few people, it makes it worth it.”
The series of images display all types of mothers with all ages of children breastfeeding in different public domains including the zoo, the playground, and just simply walking down the street while shopping. We love how McCain captures the realness of moms sitting with one another, multiple children breastfeeding at one time, and pedestrians turning to look as a mother feeds her child.
Thankfully, this shoot went smoothly for McCain who reflects on the event as a positive experience that attracted “a few friendly smiles” from onlookers, but nothing more than that. The mothers featured in the shoot also expressed their gratitude for being a part of such a moving production.
“It was empowering. I loved being able to show that not only is it perfectly ok to breastfeed in public, it's normal. It doesn't matter how old the child is either. I'm happy to show people that extended breastfeeding is more common than you think and more people should be encouraging it instead of questioning when you're going to wean,” one mother told McCain.
Although McCain acknowledges that these images may make people uncomfortable, she is proud to say that almost all the online feedback she has received is “supportive and kind.” (That says a lot in a world of shamers and social media trolls.)
“I hope that these images help to make people more aware of how natural breastfeeding in public is. The more we see it, the more normal it becomes. I will continue to spread my message until hopefully one day no Mother will be shamed for nursing in public or feel embarrassed to do so,” McCain told Parents.com.
We are thankful to have women like McCain on team #normalizebreastfeeding—without visionaries like her, progression is a harder victory. For those interested in learning more about McCain’s work where she covers multiple controversial topics in motherhood you can purchase her book on Amazon.