These powerful viral photos prove feeding a baby is beautiful no matter how you do it

Breast, bottle or tube, mama's love is the best supplement.

These powerful viral photos prove feeding a baby is beautiful no matter how you do it
Felicia Saunders Photography

When photographer Felicia Saunders uploaded a portrait of three mothers feeding their babies, she could not have imagined the impact she was making.

In August, Saunders published the below portrait on her Instagram and Facebook accounts to mark World Breastfeeding Week and month. There are so many beautiful photos of breastfeeding online, but Saunders wanted to create something that shows at all types of infant feeding are beautiful and that even when mothers feed their babies differently, they still have so much in common.

In the weeks since posting the photo, not a day has gone by without Saunders receiving emails or messages from mothers who can relate to the story she was trying to tell through this image. "My own battle with guilt from not being able to breastfeed really helps fuel my inspiration, we all do what is our own best and that truly is the best," Saunders tells Motherly.

We could not agree more. All parents need to be supported in early parenthood, no matter how they are feeding their babies. The pressure to exclusively breastfeed can be harmful to a mother's mental health, and no one should feel guilty about feeding their baby formula.

A mother feeding her baby is a beautiful thing, whether it's by breast, bottle or a medical intervention. These photos prove it.

All images courtesy Felicia Saunders Photography.

Nourishment doesn't have to come from nipples 

For Saunders, it was important to show a spectrum of infant-feeding experiences. One of the babies in Saunders' now-viral photo series doesn't eat from a breast or a bottle, but from a tube.

It's clear her work is making a difference to moms who see themselves in these photos. "I have been so honored to have received sweet words and support from across the entire world, many women have shared their experiences with me publicly and in private messages and emails. The entire experience has been very humbling that I created this it's still surreal to think about the true vastness of its impact," she explains.

Bottle feeding can be beautiful 

For many moms who were not able to breastfeed, breastfeeding week and month were tough times to be on social media. That's why Saunders wanted to showcase this beautiful image of bottle-feeding on a week when breastfeeding photos were dominating our feeds. "I wish more people would judge less, we never know what someone may be going through, showing support and love can always be the first things to show any parent no matter their nourishment avenue," Saunders tells Motherly.

Breastfeeding is beautiful 

Breastfeeding isn't for everyone. Other forms of infant feeding are beautiful, too, but Saunders recognizes how important it still is to advocate for breastfeeding. Even in 2019, many mothers feel like they need to hide when breastfeeding and a surprising number of people don't believe mothers should breastfeed in public.

A recent survey from Aeroflow found 28% of women do not believe new moms should be allowed to breastfeed in public, and 22% of men agreed (although legally, moms can breastfeed in public in every state).

Whether you're breastfeeding or feeding your baby with a bottle or tube, know that you don't have to hide, mama. What you are doing is beautiful and these photos prove it.

From the shop

Feeding essentials for baby's first year

Bokee bottle holder


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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

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Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

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Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

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Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

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Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

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Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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