A group of mothers are taking the worst things people have said to them while they were breastfeeding and turning the disparaging comments into something beautiful with a photo shoot.
In an effort to break the social stigmas surrounding breastfeeding, professional photographer Nicki Kaylor asked nine women to pose with their children and simultaneously hold up a small whiteboard where they had jotted down the worst things people had said to them while they were breastfeeding.
Kaylor, who is originally from Tennessee, got the idea for the project, which she calls “Latched for Love,” from personal experience. A mother to three daughters ages 7, 4, and 2, she’s been shamed in the past. She specifically recalls one winter when she was at a Walmart and her baby started crying; she felt she had to leave the store and go to the car to feed her. “A mother shouldn’t have to go out of her way to feed her child in private because she’s scared of the inappropriate comments or judgmental stares in public,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
Motivated by this, Kaylor used her skills with a camera to start a movement, help empower other mothers, and try to change society’s perception of the natural act. “I will always be an advocate for normalizing breastfeeding,” she says.
Kendra Montgomery Owen, one of the participants, has faced opposition to her breastfeeding of her three children that was similar to what Kaylor experienced.
“I’ve experienced the awkward stares every single time I have nursed my child in a public setting. I have had people, mostly the older generations, make remarks about how I should ‘do that somewhere else’ and how ‘nobody wants to see that,’” Montgomery Owen tells Yahoo Beauty. “As a result of these situations, I’ve felt pressured to hide away in a corner or in a different room as to not offend anyone while I fed my child.”
Montgomery Owen says she felt empowered by participating in the project and believes it’s important for other mothers to support one another along their breastfeeding journeys. “It’s so easy to get discouraged and want to give up when you feel ashamed or embarrassed about feeding your baby when they are hungry, regardless of where you are,” she says. “Know the laws and your rights, and never be afraid to stand up for yourself and your baby.”
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