22 Candid Photos That Show How Beautiful Breastfeeding Really Is

Inspired by her reluctance to nurse in public, one photographer and mother of four is seeking to normalize the sight of breastfeeding and show support for other nursing moms.

Leilani Rogers is a Texas-based photographer who has launched an initiative called the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project (PBAP). In anticipation of World Breastfeeding Week this year, she recruited over 50 photographers in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland to take pictures of mothers breastfeeding their children in public places like parks, grocery stores, and cafes.

Now, the photographers are showcasing the beautiful images they have captured on Rogers' Facebook page, as well as their own blogs and social media using the hashtag #PBAP2014

breastfeeding in public

Kayla Gonzales, a photographer and mother who has breastfed her own children in tandem, was thrilled to join Leilani Rogers' project, which has turned into a worldwide movement. "For mothers current and future, I hope these images can empower them to feed their babies, in whatever form that is, anytime and anywhere without shame," she told The Huffington Post in an email. "Being a parent is a difficult job riddled with guilt, second-guesses and judgements. Feeding your baby shouldn't and doesn't have to be like that. I do feel strongly that breastfeeding is the standard for infant nutrition, and we're slowly working toward breaking down the barriers that stop new moms from even trying."

Gonzales added that she was pleasantly surprised at the variety of women who came together through the project -- from mothers who exclusively breastfeed to women who had to stop nursing prematurely to moms who can only give their babies breast milk through gastrostomy feeding tubes in their stomachs.

She also expressed her hope that the project would "show what nursing really looks like," noting, "So many people are afraid of the unknown or that which they don't understand, and I want people to see that this isn't an exhibition! This isn't immodest, it's not about getting attention, it isn't about shaming mothers that don't breastfeed. Breastfeeding is about addressing the needs of a hungry baby, never anything else. I want to see America's view of breastfeeding match how the rest of the world sees it: the natural way to feed a child."

The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project has produced countless photos of mothers openly nursing their babies from a variety of photographers all over the world. Here is sample of the collection:

Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani/Instagram
Stefani was still breastfeeding son, Kingston, when she went on tour in 2007. She told The Guardian, "I don't know when I'm going to stop breastfeeding... I'll just keep going while I can -- like, he's getting his teeth so it is a little bit scary. He's bitten me a few times!" In 2014, she posted a beautiful Instagram photo of herself feeding her son Apollo in Switzerland.
Natalia Vodianova
Natalia Vodianova/Instagram
Natalia Vodianova, a Russian model notable for her work with Calvin Klein, debuted her son Maxim to the world with a stunning breastfeeding photo.
Jaime King
Jaime King/Instagram
Jaime King posted a photo of herself nursing her son James on Instagram, along with this caption: "#JamesKnight is now 8 months old! These are the moments a mother lives for. Breastfeeding should not be taboo- and bottle feeding should not be judged- it's ALL fun for the whole family:)" When her second son was born in July, she shared another sweet breastfeeding photo on Instagram.
Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell/Twitter
When Kristen Bell hosted the 2014 CMT Awards, she gave her Twitter followers a glimpse into her "new backstage beauty routine" -- a breast pump.
Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano/Facebook
Milano made headlines in fall 2014 when she posted two different photos of herself breastfeeding her daughter Elizabella. This past April, she tweeted about an incident at a London airport when she was not permitted to bring her pumped breast milk through security.
Penelope Cruz
In an interview with Allure, Penelope Cruz spoke openly about nursing her children. "I was breast-feeding my son 13 months, and I plan to do the same with my daughter. [Nursing] is addictive. It's hard when the day comes when you have to stop." She also pointed out one of the perks of breastfeeding. "I'm supposed to get extra calories because breastfeeding you burn, like, an extra 500 a day."
Gisele Bundchen
Gisele Bundchen/Instagram
In 2010, Bundchen declared there should be a "worldwide law" requiring new mothers to breastfeed for six months after they give birth. Many critics were unhappy with her statement, and she eventually clarified by writing on her blog: "My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law. It comes from my passion and beliefs about children." In 2013, the model Instagrammed a "multitasking" photo of herself breastfeeding her daughter while having her hair, makeup, and nails done.
During an album photo shoot in 2012, Pink shared a photo of herself nursing baby Willow Sage on Instagram and Twitter. The next year, her husband Carey Hart posted an Instagram photo of his wife breastfeeding their daughter at a restaurant in Paris. And according to Baby Center, in a tweet about the famous TIME article on attachment parenting, the singer wrote, “It’s time we support what’s healthy (breastfeeding) instead of judge it.”
Alanis Morissette
The singer expressed her pro-attachement parenting beliefs in 2012 and said, "I breastfeed and I'll be breastfeeding until my son is finished and he weans," on "The Billy Bush Show."
Hilary Duff
In 2012, Hilary Duff confirmed in an interview with Us Weekly that she chose to nurse her son Luca. "I'm breastfeeding now so that's a really wonderful experience -- challenging but wonderful,"
Selma Blair
In an interview with People Magazine, actress Selma Blair spoke openly about breastfeeding her son Arthur in public. "We all have nipples," she said. "I don’t care who I offend; my baby wants to eat. If I can’t get a cover over me quick enough, so be it."
Alicia Silverstone
Alicia Silverstone -- whose pre-mastication video thrust her baby-feeding philosophy into the public spotlight -- was once photographed breastfeeding Bear Blu while walking.
Beyonce was spotted breastfeeding Blue Ivy in New York City while dining out with husband, Jay-Z in 2012.
Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling/Twitter
In November 2011, Spelling's husband, Dean McDermott tweeted a photoof his son, Liam, who was 4 at the time, which showed Spelling's breasts in the background. "I am a mom, I was nursing my baby... [Dean] was so devasted about it that I couldn't be mad. I mean it was genuinely an accident," Spelling told CNN about the incident.
Mayim Bialik
Actress Mayim Bialik blogged on in September 2011 about starting to wean her 3-year-old son Fred. The post included a highly publicized photo of Bialik breastfeeding Fred on the New York City subway. In her book, "Beyond The Sling," she wrote that he still nursed about five times a day at that age, and later told CNN "it is still a tremendous source of discipline, and of bonding, that occurs between a mother and a child."
Kourtney Kardashian
Kourtney K. quit breastfeeding son, Mason, when he was 14 months old. "I think I stopped early because my sisters were like 'OK, it's time, it's time,'" she said on the "Today" show. "I miss it, I loved it."
Kendra Wilkinson
Wilkinson once told Baby Zone an outrageous story about the first party she went to after giving birth to baby Hank: "I went to Eve nightclub in Vegas and my boobs started leaking. I couldn't do anything so I breastfed myself [laughs]. And it tasted sweet, too!"
Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr/Twitter
Shortly after giving birth to her son, Flynn, Kerr posted a photo on her blog that husband Orlando took of her nursing. A few months later, she shared a photo on Twitter of herself breastfeeding while on the job.
Rebecca Romijn
In 2009, Romijn told Extra!, "Breastfeeding is the very best diet I've been on. It's amazing."
Naomi Watts
Watts told PEOPLE magazine in 2009 that breastfeeding was how she lost weight. "He's sucking it all out of me, it seems," she said.
Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek breastfed a newborn baby boy in Africawhose mother had no milk in 2009. Hayek was weaning her own daughter, Valentina, at the time, but still had milk to donate.
Angelina Jolie
The November 2008 cover of W magazinefeatured Jolie nursing.
Christina Aguilera
Five weeks after giving birth to son, Max, Aguilera went on The Ellen Showwearing a low cut, revealing dress that prompted the talk show host to ask, "Are you nursing?"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck
In 2008, Hasselback demonstrated how to use a breast pump on "The View" -- she was nursing her son, Taylor, at the time.
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal was photographed by the paparazziin 2007 nursing her daughter, Ramona, during a walk by the Hudson River.
Jennifer Garner
In the the April 2007 issue Garner told Allure Magazine: "All I ever heard was everyone bitch about [nursing] -- nobody ever said, 'You are not going to believe how emotional this is.' It's like, I'll say I'm going to stop, and then I'm in there, feeding her."
Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale told Jay Leno in 2006 that she missed breastfeeding her daughter and that "she was very good at it."
Gwyneth Paltrow
When Gwyneth Paltrow was nursing her second child in 2006, shetold Harper's Bazaar, "I stay healthy by working out but not dieting, because I am a milk machine."
Julie Bowen
Back in 2010, "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen showed "Lopez Tonight" viewers a photo of the way she nursed her twin boys -- breastfeeding both babies at the same time. "It's like two little liposuction machines on you," she said. "They suck the fat out of you. They call it the 'double football hold.' You hold one here, and here [gesturing to her breasts], like two footballs ... They're doing God's work right there, helping me return to my birth weight."
Mary-Louise Parker
In 2004, when Mary-Louise Parker won a Golden Globe for "Angels in America" she said, "Janel Moloney just told me she would pay me $1,000 if I thanked my newborn son for making my boobs look so good in this dress."