August is world breastfeeding month and this is Lilyta Photography's second year participating in Leilani Roger's Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project #PBAP2015! For the first week of August, over 70 photographers nationally and abroad joined together to help spread public breastfeeding awareness one photo at a time. This project is a wonderful opportunity to capture some images of mothers nursing their babies in public settings in hopes to return to the days where it was accepted by society, and women didn't feel they had to be ashamed. Not only do we document wonderful nursing mothers and their children, but show to the world the true beauty of breastfeeding. This is something that not only pertains to nursing mothers, but every member of society. If we can help others understand why they have mixed feelings about public breastfeeding, perhaps we can do away with the stigma that breasts are soley for sexual and aesthetic purposes. Our Creator designed breasts primarily for feeding and comforting babies. As a nursing mother myself, this is a cause I am deeply immersed in, and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a meaningful effort. So I hope you'll enjoy the images below, I captured around town, the personal statements, stories and emotions shared by every mother on their breastfeeding journey. Please take a moment to read other mother's testimonials on the Public breastfeeding awareness page.
Meeting and reuniting with other nursing mothers has been incredible while working on this project. Another beautiful aspect has been the community that is created, and businesses that have warmly welcomed and supported our mission to normalize breastfeeding. Breastmilk provides a number of nutritional advantages beginning at birth and continuing throughout a child's life. There is valuable information about breastfeeding on the World Health Organization website. I'm so thankful to be able to go to my local Whole Foods in Davie for my groceries, quick lunch or fun events with my kids. The team members there were so hospitable, and it's no secret it's my favorite place to shop, so I was more than happy to shoot amongst the heirloom tomatoes and food bar :)
"In the last 6 years, nursing my babies has been a beautiful part of my life. For me, nursing is so much more than just feeding my baby. It is a way to connect and find calmness in what can be a busy world with 3 little ones." -Beth (mother of 3)
"What an incredible experience breastfeeding represents for both mommy and baby! Closeness, bond, comfort, development, provision of all that they need to grow healthy human beings in the first few years of life... A beautiful gift, meant just for us, women. I feel very blessed God allowed me to experience this and hope it gives my children a healthy start, both physical and emotional. This is also good training of what motherhood encompasses because it requires patience, sacrifice, being consistent, always available, self-controlled etc. So this is really just the beginning of a wonderful and exciting adventure!" - Alexandra (mother of 2)
"I fulfill many roles in my life-- daughter, wife, friend, LLL (La Leche League) Leader-- but one of the most important is mother to my children and what is in their best interest is my priority. My family is my sun, moon and stars and breastfeeding has given me the ability to give my girls the best possible start in life." -Christine (mother of 2)
Having a support system while breastfeeding during the early months is so important. I've met wonderful women that not only breastfeed their own children but actively extend their help and knowledge to others and give them the encouragement they need to have the best nursing experience. Groups like La Leche League and local breastfeeding groups on Facebook have allowed women to connect and create community.
"Nursing my son has been one of the most fulfilling experiences that I have ever known as a woman as well as one of the greatest gifts I’ll ever be able to give him – health, confidence, safety. Plus, it’s ours, a special world that only he and I know. " - Emily (mother of 1)
"Nursing my 4 year old has come naturally to the two of us, but not without a few struggles. Certainly, there were blissful moments of nursing my child, but there was also that bout of mastitis that left me weak and second guessing my decision to continue. Needless to say, not many moms that I met were supportive of my decision to nurse a toddler either, but we were determined. There is utterly nothing wrong with breastfeeding a toddler. To all the mamas out there doing the same I just wanted to tell you that there is no shame in doing what's right for your child. The best thing you can do is to continue to nurse your baby until he/she is ready to wean. Ignore the bad (and often unsolicited) advice, ignore the snarky comments... We all know that our kids won't be nursing at their high school graduation or wedding. Thank you to my peanut for being my darling nursling all these wonderful years and to my wonderful husband and family for their amazing support. It's made all the difference for me. " (MK, mother of 1)
The Chillbar is located at the Yellow Green Farmers Market open every weekend. Locally grown produce, wheatgrass, and homemade goods.
I met Alexandra and her daughter at a local coffee shop that has an excellent selection of organic fair trade coffee/tea and holistic supplements. Your Big Picture Cafe
"Breastfeeding my babies has been the first few notes of a song, the first few pages of a book, a love story wrought with sacrifice, battles and victories. The story of raising up a child, an active participant in forming a world you and I might never get to see. I want to share the beauty of that story with the world. To make this world a little brighter, to show hope for the next generation, to remind the world the subtle beauty of nature, of God's design, so that one day, my daughter can experience that beautiful connection, hear her very own song, as she looks down at her suckling babe, and not have to wonder if the world can see it too. I won't see the end of this story, but I was here for the beginning... and that is more than enough." -Gabriella (mother of 2)
"The decision to nurse my baby was an easy one...she is my third and final baby and I wanted our bond to be a strong one. I didn't know if I would last 1 week or 1 month, but I knew that I would take it just one day at a time. Here we are 4 months later and still going strong. I am her lifeline, just as much as she is mine. We have created a bond that doesn't need any words, and that in itself is powerful." - Evelyn (mother of 3)
After dealing with a rough c section recovery, a large birthweight drop, jaundice, a tongue tie, and supplementing with formula for 3 weeks, I met an amazing group of moms at a local La Leche League. Their support and finding Facebook groups for 24/7 nursing mom help saved our breastfeeding relationship.
6 months later my husband told me we were getting divorced. I can't explain how much breastfeeding helped me to get through some very tough days and nights. That bond with my baby and the oxytocin was such a comfort to keep me going.
More than 2 years later I am happy and my daughter is happy and amazingly we still have a nursing relationship. It is generally just once a night for bed and a bit more on weekend mornings, but I am cherishing these fleeting moments.
Noelle and I still attend La Leche League meetings most months. Now we support other moms, recently including Noelle's sister's mom (yes, that would be my ex-husband's girlfriend), and I look forward to meeting someone that I could have more babies with in the future. For now it is me and my girl...and my (or her) boobies ." - Jennifer (mother of 1)
The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project was once again a success this year, and I hope I was able to show some people that breastfeeding in public is not obscene or immodest. It is a necessity, for the well being of the mother and baby. In a country that screams equality and tolerance, we should extend the same to mothers that were endowed with this right by the Creator Himself. It's ok for a mother to use her breasts for their intended purpose. No one should ...have to hide in a public bathroom, sit in a car, or be forced to wear a hot blanket in the summer heat. I'm so happy with all the positive feedback and excited to have helped some mothers feel encouraged. And with all things parenting related, this is not a "me vs you" battle, but rather my way to get past warped societal views and hopefully not just show you what I see behind my lens, but what I live and love everyday."
-Lily (mother of 2)
I hope you will pin and share these images!
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To see more #PBAP2015 images, please visit Amanda Jackson Photography from Austin, TX