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The Naked Truth About Breastfeeding Photos

In the past few months, my Facebook feed has been filled daily with glamorized pictures of women breastfeeding. I believe the intended purpose is to desensitize society to the imagery of breastfeeding. The goal is to make breastfeeding so average and ordinary that nobody bats an eye or feels uncomfortable in the presence of naked breasts.

However, the majority of the pictures I see are overly stylized, perfectly airbrushed and make mom and baby appear to shit rainbows and unicorns. There is nothing average or ordinary about these pictures and I'm tired of looking at breasts.

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Image via Ivette Ivans

It's a polarizing subject. Women get passionate and fired up discussing the right to breastfeed in public. Mommy boards blow up when someone reports being relegated to a public restroom to feed their baby. I totally sympathize. I'm not anti-breastfeeding. I've breastfed, pumped and bottle-fed. My issue isn't with the right to be natural. Being overloaded with extreme, perfect images, I can't make the connection between sharing these photos publicly in the spirit of making the act of breastfeeding normal, average and ordinary.

Image via Caitlin Domanico

Being extreme seldom wins people over. You can't shock people into accepting that breastfeeding is a normal and healthy activity between a mother and child. Breasts are complicated. They multitask. They are sexual and they also provide nourishment. There are going to be some people that are not comfortable being around breastfeeding. That doesn't make that person wrong. They are allowed to feel uncomfortable. Bombarding them with over-the-top photography of large breasts with babies attached to them is not likely to convert them.

It's not necessarily your job to convert the world, it's your job to do what's right for you and your baby.

There was a time when black Americans couldn't vote. There were Americans that felt this was completely fine, thinking there was nothing wrong with black people not having the right to vote. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law The Voting Rights Act to overcome that barrier. But simply giving black people the right to vote didn't automatically make it normal to those Americans who were against it.

Do you think a daily scroll of pictures of black people voting in glamorous settings would have shifted the thinking for those Americans who didn't approve? Would we have achieved progress any faster? Oh, I know! How about a photo series of black women voting while breastfeeding! Seriously though, progress has been made through repetition of black Americans showing up and voting. Has it been an easy road? Is it now accepted by 100 percent of the population? Will it ever be normal to everyone? The answer is no, but progress continues to be made.

Image via Baby Q

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I don't know if there's one right way to make breastfeeding normal and ordinary. In fact, in some ways I think it's pretty awesome that it's not normal and ordinary. It's amazing that all a woman really needs to sustain a human life are breasts. We register for gadgets, strollers, onesies, etc. and all we really need are breasts!

My unprofessional opinion is that we should start with acting normal. Breastfeed if you want to. Feed your baby when, where and how you see fit. If someone has a problem with it, know your rights and respectfully carry on. It's not necessarily your job to convert the world, it's your job to do what's right for you and your baby.

Featured image via Ivette Ivens

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