And why images of breastfeeding matter.
*We’ve partnered with Bravado Designs to help normalize breastfeeding anytime, anywhere.
An image of woman breastfeeding during pregnancy can be a powerful thing. Sure, it’s a beautiful reminder of the depths of a mother’s love, as she shares her body with her growing toddler and baby on the way. But it’s also inspiration for a new mama who’s just trying to breastfeed for one more day, or a pregnant mama who’s being pressured to wean before the next baby arrives. Most importantly, it’s a conversation-starter about our right to feed our babies wherever, whenever. To help normalize that conversation, we’ve partnered with our friends at Bravado Designs to bring you some beautiful stories of breastfeeding in public.
Meet Fallon Santiago, mom of a toddler and another on the way, photographed in Brooklyn feeding her son Jayden.
“I had a really tough time breastfeeding in the beginning. My milk wasn't coming in, I was in a lot of pain, and I ended up having thrush and mastitis, all in the first couple of weeks. It was awful. It took three different doctors to diagnose my son with a lip and tongue tie, and at 6 weeks old, we finally were able to get it fixed via a laser. At that very moment, my journey changed. It took a couple more weeks to fully get the hang of it, but eventually the pain was gone, I got my milk supply up (with the help of essential oils) and here I am now, 20 months later, still nursing my son and expecting Baby 2.
I remember the first time I breastfed in public. About 3 weeks after my son was born, everyone had gone home and the dust had started to settle. I ventured out to the library, wearing my son in a wrap, and he slept for the majority of our trip. We stopped by a local bistro so I could grab some lunch, and moments after I sat down, he woke up hungry and crying. I wasn't sure how I was going to nurse him and keep myself covered, and also not let on that I was in a lot of pain. I tried to just give him his pacifier, but it didn't work. I was super nervous -- the bistro was filled with people as it was prime lunch time. But his crying was getting louder and louder by the minute, so I just bit the bullet and started nursing him right there at the table. The waitress arrived, took my order and didn't bat an eye, which instantly made me feel more comfortable. By the end of my lunch, I realized no one really cared what I was doing.
At the end of the day, nursing in public was far less embarrassing than having a screaming baby in public. But not all of my nursing in public experiences have been so seamless. I've received dirty looks of disgust a time or two, but I don't let that bother me. Luckily, living in NYC, those moments are few and far between, but they still do happen. You really just have to be confident in what you are doing and realize the opinions of strangers really don't matter. I’ve breastfed on the subway platform, on a ride at Disneyland, and on an airplane, in the middle seat, between two strangers.
The more breastfeeding images that are out there, the less shocking they are. I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding wherever and whenever. There are far too many other things that a mother has to stress about -- how and when she feeds her baby shouldn’t be one of them.
Women should never be made to feel ashamed of nursing their child, or feel like they have to hide the fact that they are. Breastfeeding is the most natural and magical thing you can do for your child and we should celebrate that every chance we get.”
Photography by Belle Savransky for Well Rounded.
Fallon is wearing Bravado Designs’ Buttercup Nursing Bra in Watercolor, pictured below. Buy it here.
We want to share your story about breastfeeding in public on Well Rounded! Post a photo on Instagram showing us where you breastfeed, tag us and use the hashtag #thisiswhereibreastfeed. Or email us your story and a photo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to post by Thursday June 15!