Earlier this month, Virginia passed a bill that will make the state the 48th to legally protect mothers' rights to breastfeed wherever and whenever they want. Around the country, moms can nurse (almost) everywhere, but despite their right to do so, we often hear stories of mothers who are shamed or gawked at when they feed their babies.
That's why moms, dads, photographers, celebrities and even the Pope have banded together to normalize what breastfeeding looks like and support nursing mothers everywhere. Photographers Jade Beall and Ashlee Wells Jackson have gained attention for their respective projects, which both feature real-life moms. Olivia Wilde was pictured breastfeeding in Glamour magazine; celebrities like P!nk and Gwen Stefani have shared their nursing images on Instagram. In a recent 2014 HuffPost blog post, writer Mama Bean explained why people need to see breastfeeding images:
"Because breasts are normal... Because using breasts for breastfeeding is normal... Because stretch marks are normal... Because body fat is normal... Because lines are normal... Because under-eye shadows are normal... particularly after breaking up with sleep... Because strong arms and big hearts are normal... Because skin is normal... Because motherhood is normal."
Here are 17 photos that prove just that. (In the captions of these images, you'll find links to the projects and essays where the pictures were originally featured.)