Normalise and Celebrate

The movement to Normalise and Celebrate Breastfeeding has been gaining real momentum in the past couple of years. Lockdown and working from home has had one special silver lining of an increase in the uptake of breastfeeding. Also, parents who were already breastfeeding being able to do so for longer, not having to navigate the challenge of balancing your work with your baby's feeding needs / pumping.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens in the coming years, if there's going to be a shift in how we work to a more flexible approach to working with working from home, and therefore being able to breastfeed or pump in the comfort of your own home. How brilliant would that be to see a shift in society to make life a bit easier for breastfeeding parents?

Breastfeeding in High Fashion and Women's Magazines

Digressing already! This blog is about looking at Breastfeeding in High Fashion and Women's Magazines over the fast two decades. I've put together a selection of powerful images that made waves in the media from the photo taken of Jerry Hall for Vanity Fair, shot by Annie Leibovitz in 1999; to the sensationally, beautiful and natural photo of Ashley Graham for Elle Magazine's Friends and Family August issue 2020, photographed by her husband, Justin Ervin.

Fierce and powerful.

Annie Leibovitz took this incredible photo of Jerry Hall nursing her son Gabriel, for Vanity Fair in 1999. While it's certainly a highly stylised and glamorous version of breastfeeding, I love Jerry Hall's assertive and strong pose, with direct confident eye contact with the camera.

This image was one of the first photos of a breastfeeding mother to feature in a fashion magazine, bringing breastfeeding into the limelight. Signalling the shift from the perception of breastfeeding as something that should be done in private and not talked about, to start the move to open discussion in mainstream media.

A beautifully candid, lifestyle Breastfeeding portrait.

The first cover photo for a magazine featuring a breastfeeding mother. This stunning photo of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding the couple's twins was taken by Brad Pitt for W magazine in 2008.

YES! Well done, Brad! Everything about this is perfection. Angelina Jolie is just radiating the happiness of a new Mum. It's taken so discretely, with that tiny little hand at her left breast subtly showing her baby. Super natural, in a simple top, comfortable and cosy in an armchair, happily nursing her little ones.

You can feel the connection to the camera and photographer of pure love. More cover photos like this please. 100% normalising and celebrating breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding becomes Editorial.

This photo of model Ymre Stiekema, taken by Erwin Olaf for Vogue Netherlands October 2013 got the fashion industry talking about breastfeeding again. Another highly stylised breastfeeding photo, but isn't it stunning?

What Breastfeeding at work looks like when you're shooting for Elle Australia.

This photo of Nicole Trunfio taken by Georges Antoni for Elle Australia in June 2015 was a completely unplanned cover photo.

Nicole needed to take a break to feed her baby and the photographer decided to take a few photos, one of which ended up being picked to be THE photo.

"When I saw the cover of me breastfeeding, which was unplanned and just natural, I teared up and thought, 'Wow this is such a special moment where my worlds have collided'," she said.

"There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than motherhood. The last thing I want to do is be controversial, so please take this for what it is, let us #normalizebreastfeeding there is nothing worse than a mother that is judged for feeding her hungry child in public. I'm so proud of this cover and what it's stands for. I obviously don't look like this or wear [this] while I am breastfeeding but this stands for all women out there, whether you breastfeed or not, we gave birth, we are women, we are mothers," she added.

Breastfeeding in Advertising

The luxury gym, Equinox which is known for high-fashion and controversial campagains, launched this advert in January 2016, featuring model and heiress, Lydia Hearst breastfeeding twins, shot by fashion photographer Steven Klein.

"The series show people committed to all kinds of pursuits: joining a very buff cult, making obscene amounts of money, and collecting sexual partners, to name just a few....

Not surprisingly, it’s also the image that’s gotten the most attention. So far, the ad has nearly 37,000 “likes” and 2,500 or so comments on Equinox’s Facebook page. That’s more engagement than the company has gotten from any other post, says Becil. The comments are mixed, ranging from enthusiastic kudos—”Thank you for beautifully portraying the determination of every nursing momma in such an unapologetic way”—to critiques of the unrealistic nature of the image (Hearst is not actually a nursing mother) to disapproval of such public breastfeeding. “We completely own the work and are unapologetic about it,” says Becil.

What do breastfeeding advocates think of the ad? After getting over her initial confusion of “What does this company do?” Dr. Joan Younger Meek, chair of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, says she’s supportive of any advertisement that normalizes—and advocates committing to—breastfeeding. While most people don’t breastfeed two children at once while wearing an evening gown, she says, it’s worth noting that no one in the photo appears to think the model’s behavior is at all unusual. “If an image like this helps get the message across, that’s great,” says Younger Meek." Kristen Bellstrom for Fortune Online.

Imagine this as the future of breastfeeding. No need to try to cover up, the faff of trying to be discrete, just wear your plunge top and latch your little one on!

New Age Motherhood

Model Carol Trentini was photographed by Zee Nunes for Vogue Bazil in September 2016. Another breastfeeding cover to be celebrated! There were two versions of this cover, one shot when Carol Trentini was seven months pregnant and this one, nursing her newborn Benoah.

I adore the muted make-up, simple hair, nude tones of her trench and the baby's nappy cover. Allowing all the focus to fall on the mother's expression and celebration of the strength, power and connection of breastfeeding.

Lifestyle outdoor Breastfeeding Portrait

How much to you love this breastfeeding portrait of Ashley Graham for Harpers Bazaar UK? Photographed by her husband Justin Ervin at her family's Nebraskan farm, Ashely Graham looks like the epitome of earth mother meets absolute goddess!

The simplicity of her nude bubs, barely there make-up, relaxed hair and white shirt dress against such a natural backdrop is definitely a photo I'm saving for future inspo!

My favourite breastfeeding photo of all time!

If you look at this photo, fall in love it and imagine yourself having a shot just like it, please stop everything and get in touch now! Justin Ervin, Ashley Graham's husband took this beautiful lifestyle breastfeeding portrait for Elle Magazine's Friends and Family August issue 2020.

That skin to skin, the intimacy, hand holding, smile and connection is everything!