Parents

7 Powerful Photos Of Military Moms Breastfeeding In Uniform

Stunning photos!
05/12/2016 11:04am ET | Updated May 12, 2016

As the founder of the "Normalize Breastfeeding" project, photographer Vanessa Simmons has captured and shared countless images of mothers nursing their babies around the world.

Her new series depicting military moms breastfeeding in uniform is particularly stunning.

Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
Moms in the military nursed their babies at the Jefferson Memorial as part of the "Normalize Breastfeeding" photo project.

While photographing mothers in the Washington, D.C. area as part of her Normalize Breastfeeding Tour, Simmons documented a group of breastfeeding women in their Army, Navy and Air Force uniforms.

Some of the moms in this series found Simmons through friends on social media, and others joined through her partnership with Breastfeeding in Combat Boots -- a nonprofit that advocates for military mothers working to nurse while serving their country.

"I have learned that many active duty moms are struggling to find support to continue nursing and pumping once they return to work full-time," Simmons told The Huffington Post.

Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
"I have learned that many active duty moms are struggling to find support to continue nursing and pumping on they return to work full-time," said Simmons.

The photographer first took pictures of an active duty mom breastfeeding in uniform in March 2015, but when she shared an image from the session on Facebook, she was disappointed to see the comments section flooded with hateful, misogynistic responses.

With this series, Simmons wants viewers to see the beauty and power in military moms breastfeeding.

"I hope that others recognize the difficulty at hand for every mother to breastfeed their baby, yet I also hope that they see the strength of the women who serve our country while serving their families simultaneously," she said.

"I am inspired by their stories, I am impressed by their bravery in the midst of mothering, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share the images that I have captured," she added.

To learn more about the #NormalizeBfing project and tour, visit Simmons' website, NormalizeBreastfeeding.org. And keep scrolling for more photos of military moms nursing in uniform, along with snippets from the photographer's interviews with them.

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Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
"I am a proud mommy of two amazing little boys ages 2.5 years and 3 months old. I attempted breastfeeding with my first son but had some issues and was not able to make it past six weeks. I was not as knowledgeable at that time as I am now so I did not realize that I may have been able to save my supply or could have opted for donations if I had just reached out. Thankfully, my second son has done well with nursing right from the start despite a couple very minor bumps in the road. Three months later, we are still going strong with no end in sight. This time, I have done my research and have made it my personal goal not only to make it to at least a year but also to donate as much as I can to other awesome mommas who want the very best of nutrition from breastmilk for their littles but can’t breastfeed for various reasons." -- Amy
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Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
"Breastfeeding was always a major part in my plan for motherhood. I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 10 months! I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I could remember and as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was very committed to to the idea of breastfeeding for as long as I could. Being active duty, it isn’t very easy to keep my 11 month old on breastmilk because pumping takes dedication and motivation and after doing it for nine months, I’m tapped out. However, I’m not emotionally ready to wean my son. So, for now, my chunks will have his breastmilk as well as baby food or my food. And I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way." -- Carol
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Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
"I’d never seen anyone breastfeed before I had him, and my mother didn’t breastfeed me, but while I was pregnant with him I’d done enough research to know that the best choice for him was for me to try. I read books and I scoured the internet learning all of the things I needed to know to be successful. From the start, our nursing relationship was everything I wanted it to be. I donated over 600 ounces of milk to local moms who could not nurse for medical reasons and a breastmilk bank. My nursing relationship with my son lasted until he was almost two, when I developed nursing aversion due to my pregnancy with my daughter. With her, nursing was not so easy. She had a milk protein allergy, and it took some accommodating to continue successfully with her. Now she is just over one year old, and still a strong and curiously athletic nurser. For me, I definitely found a calling in the effort it took to educate myself, and now I feel it is so important that other mothers have that access to education and support, so I’m in school to become an IBCLC." -- Tay
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Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
"While imagining the perfect birth for my 9-pound baby boy, I was faced with reality. At 12:39 a.m. on October 6, 2015 I gave birth to Lincoln Thane, doctors immediately cut the cord and started working on getting the meconium out from digesting it. I was so worried that if I didn’t breastfeed right away he would refuse it later on, and my worst fear; him needing medical attention the next 48 hours. He went straight to NICU. Once I got into a room I started pumping for my little man, I’d bring it to him, feed him via syringe. It broke my heart that the first 24 hours I couldn’t feed him by breast but as long as he was getting my milk, I was happy. The lactation consultant saw Lincoln and I the next day, he latched perfectly! Once we got discharged he was a nursing champion. Lincoln’s now almost 6 months, nursing and strong." -- Whitney
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Vanessa Simmons / Candid Perspective Photography
The mothers were also joined by Breastfeeding in Combat Boots founder Robyn Roche-Paull.
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