Parenting

17 Gorgeous Photos That Show Breastfeeding Is Nothing To Hide

02/26/2015 12:32pm ET | Updated February 26, 2015

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.)

1
Ashlee Wells Jackson
Ashlee Wells Jacksons' "4th Trimester Bodies Project" embraces the changes brought to women’s bodies by motherhood. Above, is a photo of herself and her baby. Says Jackson: "I see beautiful, inspiring, real women on a daily basis who struggle with their body image because they don’t feel they measure up with who the media tells them to be... So much more needs to be done in our society to embrace body positivity and normalize breastfeeding."
2
In the September 2014 issue of Glamour magazine, actress Olivia Wilde said: "Breastfeeding is the most natural thing. I don’t know, now it feels like Otis should always be on my breast."
4
5
Pink/Instagram
In 2012, singer P!nk shared this gorgeous photo of herself nursing baby Willow Sage on Instagram and Twitter.
7
Gwen Stefani/Instagram
In 2014, singer Gwen Stefani posted a beautiful Instagram photo of herself feeding her son Apollo in Switzerland.
8
Natalia Vodianova/Instagram
Russian model Natalia Vodianova debuted her son Maxim to the world with this stunning breastfeeding photo in June 2014.
9
This photo is from Vanessa Simmons' Normalize Breastfeeding campaign. Says Simmons: "If [women] read other stories, then it becomes more normal like, 'Oh, I'm going through that exact same thing.' Or, 'My baby's screaming their head off at six weeks and I can't figure out why,'... Sharing those stories enables women to be able to connect." Read more about Normalize Breastfeeding here.
11
This photo is from Leilani Rogers' Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project. Read more about it here.
12
This image is also from Leilani Rogers' Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project. Read more about it here.
13
This picture is from HuffPost blogger Jillayna Adamson' "Breastfeeding is Beautiful" series. See more images, and read about it here.
15
HuffPost blogger Jamie Davis Smith wrote about her difficulty breastfeeding her first child, and what the experience was like. Read her blog post here.
17
Paulina Splechta Photography
In a blog post where this image was featured, author Mama Bean writes, "We are continually sold The Ideal; the picture-perfect, fully-clothed, fully made-up portrait of Motherhood... And yet in the real world, motherhood takes a far more literal shape; a far more physical form. It may well be slim, trim and toned... just as it may be rounded, softened and stretched. And yet, this second and more common reality is hidden and censored by default, as if motherhood is somehow something to shelter from."Read the full post here.