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Mom Recreates the Sweetest Breastfeeding Photo

Everyone loves a good childhood photo recreation. You know, those made-for-social-media pics of grown men in birthday party hats and diapers, or three 30-something siblings crammed into a bathtub, or a mom swaddling her balding, bearded son. People can't get enough of them.

But Lauren Downes, 31, of Denver, took the trend to a new—and in my opinion, more touching—level when she recently recreated a 1985 photo of her own mom nursing her.

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"I just recently saw this photo for the first time," Downes told me. "My mother is the family record keeper and she came across it, scanned it and emailed it. It was taken in 1985, and I was just about to turn 1 year old. My older sister was about 3."

Downes, who has two of her own girls now, said that when she first saw this photo, she was struck by how alike her current family structure was to her old one: Her daughters are approximately the same ages as her sister and she were in the snap, and she's currently nursing her baby, age 7 months, with no plans to stop anytime soon. (Downes and I are members of the same pro-breastfeeding support group on Facebook called Breastfeed, Chicago!, where she posted the photo.)

My mom taught me through example that breastfeeding is normal, natural and beneficial to both mom and baby.

"I thought (recreating) it would be a nice tribute to my mom, to show her the impact she's had on us and our appreciation for her dedication to mothering and grandmothering," Downes said.

As luck would have it, Downes had all the right clothes already in her family's wardrobe, from a green sweatshirt and jeans to a red long-sleeved onesie. She even had the exact pink overalls that she was sporting in the 1985 pic. That said, "I thought it looked fairly easy to recreate, but getting kids to pose at the same time is always trickier than you think! I'm a bit of a perfectionist so we had to do several takes." (Note that the big sis in each pic has her feet crossed the same way.)

Playing the role of photographer was her "very patient husband." As for her 4-year-old daughter (playing the role of her aunt)?

"I didn't have to teach her how to nurse her doll as she's had plenty of practice with that!" (FYI that aunt, the original big sister nursing her doll in the '85 pic, is now a doula, La Leche League leader and a mom of three.)

Downes' mom hasn't seen the recreation yet. It will be framed and given to her for Christmas.

"Growing up, my mom taught me through example that breastfeeding is normal, natural and beneficial to both mom and baby," Downes said. "She breastfed my older sister, myself and my younger brother into toddlerhood. My brother was born when I was 16 so I had the experience of witnessing pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding at that age."

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The photo has netted nearly 2,000 likes from our private Facebook nursing group. Downes thinks it strikes a chord because unlike today, where nobody bats an eyelash at the brelfie of the day, breastfeeding photos weren't as common back then.

I love the sense of nostalgia and tradition that's inherent in her photo recreation, created 30 years later, almost to the day. What a lovely gift, indeed.

Photograph by: Lauren Downes

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