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Model Shares Story About Breastfeeding Baby While Walking Runway

Photograph by Getty Images

Sports Illustrated swimsuit model search finalist Mara Martin took "Take Your Child to Work Day" to a whole new level on Sunday when she showed up on the PARAISO Fashion Fair runway while breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter, Aria.

Baby Aria escorted mom during the PARAISO x SI Swimsuit show in Miami, wearing noise-canceling headphones.

"Wow! What a night!" Martin wrote on Instagram, "I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day."

_maramartin_

Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can't even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can't believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I'm so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can't believe it is a headline is because it shouldn't be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see. One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don't know your IG handle 🤦🏽‍♀️), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!! Just thinking about all that was represented there... I desperately need to give the most thanks to @mj_day for this. She supported me in what I did last night. Without her support this wouldn't even be discussed!!!! She and the entire Sports Illustrated family are the most amazing and incredible team to have worked with. THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!! Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!! #siswimsearch

Her post went on to say that she hopes her experience will show others that women really can do it all. "But to be honest," she admits, "the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

Martin told the "Today" show on Monday that she was only doing what she does every day—feeding her baby.

"She was a little hungry," Martin told the morning show about her daughter. "It was dinner time, and the show kept getting pushed back."

She ended her Instagram message by thanking "every single woman that rocked that runway" with her, and the entire Sports Illustrated family for "letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!"

"Because of you," she added, "my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!"

It was dinner time, and the show kept getting pushed back.

On its Swimsuit Daily News page, SI swimsuit editor MJ Day described the decision to send Mara down the runway while breastfeeding as being "spontaneous."

"When I was talking with the girls backstage prior to the show beginning, I saw that Mara's baby was sleeping and peacefully nursing," she said. "I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said, 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?' and I said absolutely!"

MJ said she loved the idea of highlighting how "incredible and beautiful" women are. "For me," she added, "I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months."

The extraordinary moment, caught on film and shared by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit on Instagram, shows a radiant Martin—smiling from ear to ear and owning the runway in a one-shouldered gold bikini—walking the walk and being a mom.

"Girl power," they cheered. "Sweet 16 finalist Mara walks the runway while breastfeeding her five-month-old baby."

Top image via PARAISO

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