The Australian Breastfeeding Project is an initiative to create awareness of the beauty of breastfeeding, generate acceptance that prolonged breastfeeding has several health benefits and take action to eradicate the negative stigma associated with breastfeeding in public. I am currently undertaking a national tour to capture a photo series of new mums around Australia breastfeeding their infants as a collective to make a stand for the cause.
It started with a photo that sparked a national campaign for The Australian Breastfeeding Project. I have a passion for capturing the most precious moments of motherhood, and my photo shoot featuring 20 mothers dressed in white breastfeeding their children on the Breamlea beach started a movement for women around Australia.
So, I started this project for a few reasons. Firstly, I believe that breastfeeding is the most beautiful, natural act a mother and her baby can experience. I want every breastfeeding mother to be able to see the beauty I see when they are nourishing their child. I want them to have this moment and their bond preserved in time forever. Memories quickly fade and I want mothers everywhere to have this memory captured with the opportunity to go and look at that whenever they are having a hard day or just need to remember that beautiful time in their lives. Secondly, I want to minimise the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in today’s society, I am hoping to have many photos go out through social media so that people become use to seeing a breastfeeding woman. Too often I hear stories of breastfeeding women being disrespected by being scoffed at, frowned upon and flat out told breastfeeding is “disgusting” or “inappropriate.” It is not! My third reason is one that others may not necessarily have thought about; I want to bring about awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding and the fact that most women struggle. So many women do not have enough support or education to help them continue breastfeeding.
And lastly, through the group images I want to capture our sisterhood. No matter where we are feeding whether it is alone or in a group we can always guarantee that we have our sisterhood of breastfeeding mothers cheering us on, supporting us and backing us up the whole way. Together we are stronger than we realise. Together we will make a difference.
All of these reasons are extremely important to me as I myself have been a breastfeeding mother. I have many friends and family members who have breastfed, or who are currently breastfeeding their children and I know too many woman who have had to struggle with no support during their journey. I want mothers everywhere to feel comfortable when nourishing their child. I want to live in a world where women and men alike encourage mothers to feed their babies, whenever and wherever they see fit, without a second thought. I look forward to living in a world where a mother can feed her infant and passers by are able to make eye contact with her and not give a second thought to her breast being used to feed her baby. Where it’s normal for women to be surrounded by support of her breastfeeding choices. And every single one of us can celebrate our journey, without being shamed. I want women to feed their babies anywhere they are without being scared of hurtful or negative comments. I want to empower breastfeeding mothers and the next time they sit down to feed their baby where ever they may be they know that the have the support of thousands.
So next time you see a mother breastfeeding her child and feel the need to say something, make eye contact with her, smile and simply tell her what an amazing job she is doing. Give them a thank you for breastfeeding in public card that the project mails out for free. She will remember it, it may be the first time she gets the courage up to feed in public, you just might change her whole breastfeeding journey.
More info: australianbreastfeedingproject.com.au
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