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#NormalizeBreastFeeding

6 years ago by

#NormalizeBreastFeeding

It’s been a contentious talking point for some time.
How do you feel about breastfeeding in public? And what about putting it on the cover of a magazine?

ELLE Australia released two covers for their June issue, and the subscribers’ issue shows new mom Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her four month-old son, Zion. And it’s reignited the discussion — we’ve been talking about it in the Studio, and we all think it’s beautiful. It’s so tastefully done, and feels like a real celebration of motherhood. Trunfio wrote about it on her Instagram, “’There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than motherhood… I’m so proud of this cover and for what it’s stands for.”

And I agree.
Being Australian, I’m just a little proud that this stride for mothers was made there.
But I also appreciate that not everyone would feel comfortable breastfeeding in public — but maybe that’s because we haven’t embraced it enough?

The magazine’s Editor-In-Chief, Justine Cullen, explained that it was an organic moment. Zion needed feeding halfway through the shoot, and the moment was spontaneously captured. And I don’t know how you feel, but I think that’s how it should be — being a mom shouldn’t hold you back from living your life or working your job…Even if that’s in front of the camera, right?

What do you think?

58 comments

Add yours
  • frances May, 25 2015, 12:27 / Reply

    I am all up for normalising breastfeeding, however this image is quite ridiculous , nobody would be crazy enough to breastfeed a naked baby on designer clothes (they tend to poo when eating guys !!!).

  • You are right but probably they didn’t want to have the discussion about natural/paper nappies and environment :) and this way distract from the breastfeeding issue. Just my guess :)

  • amandine May, 25 2015, 1:03 / Reply

    I truly don’t understand why people are going crazy with breastfeeding in public. It’s NORMAL and NATURAL, baby is hungry he eats, you are hungry you eat. Just forget sexualisation of a breast one moment, do people are so frustated? So yes let’s show it or not, you can do it discretly if you are not easy with it. But just stop making a debate of that thing, just let’s keep it normal… But yeah you would want to put a diaper when breastfeeding or your 2000$ dress must be black!

  • Martichou May, 25 2015, 1:08 / Reply

    I don’t really understand why people seem to make such a big deal about breastfeeding in public (at least in America) when in fact people who are not breastfeeding tend to be shamed into “not doing the best for their child” in almost every female-oriented media. So pick a side people… do you want us to breastfeed or not?

  • I think that the on-going discussion about breastfeeding in public is rediculous! Of course you should feed babies when they are hungry! Otherwise we should ban all public eating …

  • Margot May, 25 2015, 2:05 / Reply

    Well, being a breast feeding consultant (yes, such role exists) I’d say more awareness is certainly needed. But I’ve always covered myself while breast feeding in public, so it was obvious what exactly I was doing, but no part of my breast could be seen. I’d personally be ok with showing some breast, it’s just how people react – not in the kindest way sometimes.

  • I breastfed both my kids for a year and did so discreetly in public when necessary, but this picture is clearly staged and I really don’t see why an intimate moment between mother and child should grace a fashion magazine. If her child had needed a bottle, would that have been up there too?
    Breastfeeding does not need normalisation because it IS normal; Americans should get over their issues about breastfeeding involving,well, BREASTS, and everyone should just get on with it as privately as possible.

  • I love breastfeeding my 1 year old daughter and I love seeing other women nursing their kids. I can´t see anything strange about breastfeeding in public, and usually the baby´s head is covering up the breast so nobody sees it anyways! Maybe some people just have problems with intimacy in general or hate that we humans are just a part of nature?

  • Barbara May, 25 2015, 2:51 / Reply

    Bravo !
    C’est merveilleux l’allaitement ! C’est si naturel et vieux comme l’humanité, comment ne pas se réjouir de voir cette image ?

  • Once I went to my new neighbour to give her a welkom present. And she opened the door with her baby on here breasts! It surprised me at that moment but I immediately thought, why not! It looked very naturally and you need to feed baby’s 7 times a day. So why stopping evetthing at that moment just because it inappropriate? I loved her for just opening the door!

  • I absolutely adore it – I hope the US follows suit!

    Warm Regards,
    Alexandra
    http://www.littlewildheart.com

  • I really don’t understand neither why breastfeading in public is shocking. It’s the most natural thing on earth that happens with human beings with birth and death. People should remember that first, nature is so incredible that if woman – and any female mamals – carry a child for 9 months, nature wonders also provides milk from women breasts to nourrish her child… It’s part of the creation and nature process

  • breastfeeding is the most natural thing — this cover is awesome.

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • It does not bother me, but I get that some people are uncomfortable with seeing a woman semi-naked and for that I think we should at least try to cover up when we do it. Then everyone is comfortable and baby is fed, it’s not hard to use a wrap or anything else. Breastfeeding does not bother me at all, I did it, but always private as that was my own personal preference. I’ve seen many women doing it and you would have never even known what they were doing. I think a lot of people who make a scene out of it just want the attention, which it should not be it’s a natural thing.

    That being said so is sex, but we do not do it in public :p

  • Carlota di Guardo May, 25 2015, 5:19 / Reply

    Well, a few days ago I sat at starbucks next to a lady with a baby (the place was super crowded so it was as if we were sharing a table). I was about to eat my croissant when I suddenly see a huge (and wet) breast popping out with a giant (and really pink!) nipple dripping milk. Not a very glorious moment if you ask. So is it normal to breastfeed? Sure. Is it beautiful? Well maybe between the mother and the child, I don’t think it has to be a public showcase and I appreciate some discretion. We all worry about this and we forgot about another concept: intimacy. We don’t have to share everything (we already share so much) and a little discretion is ok (and much needed!) As for the cover, it is what is is: a fashion magazine.

  • Ghislaine May, 26 2015, 6:11

    I’m totally agree with your comment!

  • You’re right, a fashion magazine doesn’t portray reality. I’m sure the baby wan’t completely naked until they decided to take the photos. Who carries a baby totally naked, without the diaper?

  • I couldn’t agree more with every word!

  • Audrey1202 December, 29 2015, 3:41

    Totally agree, which is why I always covered as much as I could. Also because I still am a woman, with a sense of elegance, not just a mom, I would not show around my nipples because it is “natural”.

  • Margareth May, 25 2015, 5:52 / Reply

    That “being a mom” don´t hold you back from “living your life or working your job” is rather illusory…You always have to take a decision for one side (if you are not a privileged supermodel).

  • I think breastfeeding in public should be a no brainer!
    …but then again I didnt dare to do it myself… which was partly related to the circumstances as I breastfed in Paris in the winter months, so I felt like all the unbundling of clothes would make it impossible to be discreet and earn me a lot of strange reactions.
    As to the cover picture, I do think it is beautiful, but I do not buy that it wasnt staged!!! The story of how this pic “just happened” is a little ridiculous and quite unnecessary!

  • Beverley Marsland May, 25 2015, 6:23 / Reply

    As Frances comments this shoot is not at all an organic moment – baby would not be naked, mother would not posing etc. I would never ban breast feeding from any public place, nor consign women to toilets to feed children and yet I am not always comfortable to see breast feeding in public either. Perhaps not all public places are as suitable as others, its complex and interesting that a fashion magazine poses this question as fashion magazines contribute to the over sexualising of women and their bodies which is part of this issue. Ultimately a mother needs to take care of her child first and foremost.

  • I love the cover and love that breastfeeding in public is gaining ground. It is a natural and beautiful part of life. If you can breastfeed, go for it, you are not going to offend me!

  • Jewels May, 25 2015, 8:43 / Reply

    Breastfeeding is totally natural but the core issue is probably more the shame attached to breastfeeding than actually breastfeeding. It’s an intimate activity between a mother and their child. What is the rationale of a mother to want to put her baby and herself on display in that way? I think breastfeeding in the women’s lounge of a department store or in the large, diaper-genie-friendly bathroom is fine, but a crowded Starbucks or a busy mall seems like a bad idea for all parties. Using the bathroom is as natural as breastfeeding but we do it behind closed doors–or with discretion outside the stall.

  • emmis momma May, 25 2015, 11:25 / Reply

    I breastfed my daughter for 8 months and it’s a great thing to do for your child did I find it beautiful well yes but I don’t expect everyone to. It embarrassed the crap out of most of the men In my family. Even though I was always covered my dad and father in law were both very uncomfortable with the possibility of seeing my breast they never did nor ever would have but I can understand why some aren’t comfortable with it but i don’t think it should be a big deal . I think everyone should just quit with the opinions and shaming women for doing what’s right for there child. If you don’t like it don’t look and if you accidentally look and see something who cares it’s not something you’ve never seen before. Even children have seen there mothers change clothes or seen a breast on tv it’s not a big deal get over it that’s why we have them.

  • Shannan May, 26 2015, 2:06 / Reply

    Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural thing but it can also be challenging. I have read many comments above saying yes breastfeed but do it discreetly. By adding a but arent you just adding more stigma to the very topic we are trying to normalize. Some children dont want a wrap or cover over their heads while they are eating their boobies, especially in summer. I have been breastfeeding for the past 18 months and it hasnt always been an easy experience but I am glad that I continued as it has been so beneficial to my child’s wellbeing and our relationship. I have never been afraid to just stop what im doing whenever and wherever to feed my daughter and meet her needs. I really dont care how anyone else feels about me breastfeeding because only my daughter and I are on this breastfeeding journey together and if my feeding my child in public offends people then realistically they are the person with the phobia and they can look away at any time!

  • Je trouve qu’il y a quelque chose bizarre sur son visage. J’aime beaucoup cette fille et je crois qu’on l’a retouché bizarrement. (je suis hors sujet ;-) )
    Pour ce qui est de l’allaitement en public, pourquoi pas.Ça fait partie de la libération de la femme et comme dirait Facebook et Instagram, tant qu’on ne voit pas le téton…:-P

  • anonyme May, 26 2015, 2:27 / Reply

    As a mother myself, and someone who tried (it’s actually not that easy) to breastfeed for several months, I appreciate the beauty, intimacy and love shared between mother and child during breastfeeding. Besides the medical and scientific arguments and studies showing its benefits, its also just a great time to bond. I find it beautiful to see any other woman breastfeeding her child – it is indeed one of the most basic motherly instincts across time and across humanity. Bottles didn’t exist for most of our human history. I once read some statistics about the high ratio of breastfeeding in African and Asian countries – turns out it is often for the simple reason that many women in less developed countries can’t even afford bottles and formula. So it’s a bit of a no-brainer, even if we put science/medical arguments aside.

    I can’t count how many times I breastfed my child in public, and saw countless other women doing so, in the USA and in several countries in the Middle East (yes, ironically, in this part of the world where people think everyone is so conservative – breastfeeding in public is actually very common!). Most of the time with a cover or using a part of the mom’s clothing, sometimes none at all. Most of the time it’s true the baby’s head covers up the breast. But so what if a little bit shows here and there? It’s good for people to accept this as normal and natural.

    I find the cover really beautiful but yes it does also look staged – hey after all, it is a fashion shoot! :)

  • christelle May, 26 2015, 3:18 / Reply

    Ok ok naturel et beau, ancestral, certes.
    Mais reste que le sein est sexualisé, qu’on le veuille ou non. Être dans un établissement public et voir quelqu’un allaiter sein nu en public peut être gênant. Je n’ai pas forcément envie de me retrouver face à un sein nu en mangeant moi aussi.
    Et le pire du pire, ce sont celles qui allaitent des années durant, au secours … Coupez le cordon !
    Beaucoup d’amies qui n’ont pas pu allaiter, pour x raisons (pour des raisons dites naturelles aussi) Leurs enfants se portent très bien aujourd’hui. Et elles ont culpabilisé à cause de toutes ces accrocs de l’allaitement, alors qu’elles n’y étaient pour rien.
    On n’est pas obligé d’allaiter aujourd’hui, il faut le dire, C’est un choix personnel.

  • Martine May, 26 2015, 3:56 / Reply

    I can’t stand watching people do that. Its really hard to figure out how not to look at them, and the idea that there is a person suckling on their tit is just too gross. I usually give them a dirty look. but then, truthfully, I don’t much like kids being out and about where adults are supposed to be. Kids should be in a park, a school or a playground. They should not be in a restaurant, or a movie, or a play, or really anywhere I tend to be.

  • Laura May, 26 2015, 2:27

    I find this whole discussion sort of funny. I live in a Western American city where it is common to see women sunbathing topless in the park in summer. And many women openly breastfeed in public. We also have the highest breastfeeding rates in the US! I especially find the people who say they can’t look away hilarious! It is called turning your head! Or the comparisons to bowel movements or sex! Haha. They are not even close to being similar! Frankly it is your own issue if you are uncomfortable. This is like the whole modesty debate. Women shouldn’t wear bikinis because it makes men have sexual thoughts… Own your own foibles! It is not the breastfeeding mothers’ job to make you comfortable! It is her job to feed her baby.

  • Emilia May, 26 2015, 4:14 / Reply

    Brestfeeding might be natural, but it is not that easy and manageable for everyone (you cannot control the milk dripping from your breast). Babies can be fussy at times and it is not always that easy to feed them in public. What they teach you when you decide to breastfeed is “feeding on demand”, which means whenever the baby cries for food feed him (which means wherever you are). I appreciate that for some people a nipple dripping milk might be disturbing, but it’s either that or a screaming baby. Honestly, if I was sitting in a coffee shop drinking a coffee in peace I’d rather prefer the first scenario. There might be another option though: breatsfeeding mothers should lock themselves at home…. :-(

  • First of all, Garance I follow you literally everywhere. I love your content and what you stand for and your style is so unique, I’d love to evolve to be like that in the near future. In the meantime, I’m going to be content with whatever it is I find to define my style.

    I think breastfeeding is definitely a beautiful even though I’ve heard some moms wince at the force with which the baby sucks on the nipple but its something I look forward to doing and if I can help it, I’ll make it as glamorous as I possibly can.

    Cheers,
    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

  • Cécile May, 26 2015, 5:37 / Reply

    Moyennement spontané quand même. Je doute fort que le petit passe son temps sur les shootings nu… ;)

  • I happen to find the picture where the model is breastfeeding much more beautiful aesthetically than the other. Her face, the position of the baby’s head… So I would have chosen it as the main cover, not only for subscribers.
    I don’t know why we don’t get shocked when we see almost naked girls or women in very sexualized images everywhere, but when we see a breast doing its actual purpose, then it’s awful and offending.
    We are just crazy.
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  • MarieG May, 26 2015, 6:29 / Reply

    En Suisse, on voit souvent des femmes allaiter dans des lieux publics (cafés, parcs, train, etc…). Elles le font dans 99 % des cas avec grâce, naturel et discrétion et la plupart du temps on voit seulement un bébé contre la poitrine de sa maman.

    A vrai dire, les gens ne vont pas regarder une femme qui allaite, ils vont la voir et la laisser tranquille. C’est normal, c’est tout.

    On agit avec les mamans qui allaitent comme avec les stars qui habitent la Suisse: on les laisse en paix: Isabelle Adjani, Marie Laforêt, Charles Aznavour, et tant d’autres, peuvent aller se promener au bord du lac sans être dérangés, faire leurs shopping sans être assaillis.

    Récemment j’ai vu au Starbuck’s une maman qui portait une espèce de grande couverture sur la poitrine. Peu après, j’en ai vu un nourrisson émerger, et là j’ai quand même été dubitative: pourquoi cette maman se cache-t-elle ainsi ? J’ai ensuite appris que les femmes nord-américaines se dissimulaient ainsi pour allaiter.

    Autres pays, autres moeurs

    Belle journée

  • I think that putting a model breastfeeding her baby on the cover is not natural and spontaneous. Come on, we’re talking about fashion magazines, everything is carefully looked after, even the smallest detail. Plus, I never saw a mother breastfeeding a totally naked baby, but I supposed a napkin isn’t particularly stylish and doesn’t match expensive clothes.
    Said that, breastfeeding a baby is natural, of course, like peeing and burping (who doesn’t do that?), but that doesn’t mean that people do all these things in public. Nudity is natural, but we can’t go out naked.
    Of course I think that a woman has to breastfeed her baby when she/he is hungry but there’s no need to do it “theatrically”, in the middle of a restaurant, a bar etc.
    In Italy, time ago, a woman caused controversy because she wanted to breastfeed her baby in a famous bar and the waiter invited her to go in a more discreet room while she wanted to do it near the entrance. I think she was wrong. I don’t have babies but I’m sure that if I had, I wouldn’t like strangers to see my breasts. I know some women who cover them with a light cloth and I think they’re right. I can’t stand women who demand to breastfeed everywhere!! I was in a train years ago and I still remember a woman who was breastfeeding her baby: she was totally naked ’till the waist, and after the baby stopped eating she stayed topless for awhile before getting dressed again. I found it totally inappropriate and vulgar.
    Breastfeeding is natural, peeing is natural, pooing is natural and bleeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean that we must do it in front of everyone.

  • C’est naturel, je ne vois pas pourquoi on devrait se cacher pour nourrir son enfant !

  • Pardon de me faire l’avocat du diable, mais franchement je ne crois pas une seule seconde à la prétendue “spontanéité” de la photographie de la mannequin allaitant son fils. Genre il était à poil (???) et elle l’a pris comme ça dans ses bras pour lui donner la tétée? Faut arrêter de nous prendre pour ces idiot-e-s. Cette photographie est totalement mise en scène et on s’en fout au final. Les femmes ont tout à fait le droit de pouvoir allaiter en public et de le revendiquer sans que cela choque, mais à l’inverse, celles qui choisissent de ne pas allaiter leur enfant (jamais) ne devraient pas être montrées du doigts et considérées comme de mauvaises mères. Je ne sais pas comment on peut concilier ces deux visions de la mère, je pense que le sujet est extrêmement sensible.

  • Ulrike May, 26 2015, 6:53 / Reply

    How do you mean normalize? Breastfeeding is normal.

  • Clotilde May, 26 2015, 7:26 / Reply

    I breastfed my son in public, it’s OK in France, at least it was 15 years ago. I suppose it still is.

  • Alesia May, 26 2015, 7:42 / Reply

    Let’s talk about #normalizebeingnaked – isn’t that just as natural as breast feeding? And that anywhere – whether in public or on the cover of a magazine. Let’s be consequent! Because I don’t really understand how one can advocate the presentation of a naked breast with a baby but reject without? Showing boobs with a baby stuck on it means being a strong woman, while showing boobs without a baby means being vulgar, stupid and a general victim of the masculine world.

  • Marydo May, 26 2015, 8:31 / Reply

    Bizarrement les seins nus sur la plage tout le monde trouve ça : “so cute and natural !”
    amazing !

  • Hannah May, 26 2015, 8:34 / Reply

    I feel like there is already such shame and prejudice surrounding motherhood, nipples, and womens’ bodies, so it’s nice to see some positive imagery in the media. Decent maternity leave and reproductive health care are not universally available, and women’s nipples are sooooo uber sexualized even though men can walk around shirtless no problem…it’s pretty unfair. Check out this video about the #FreeTheNipple campaign -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=say51RGgMFk It’s interesting that the magazine cover still doesn’t show a nipple, because that would probably be a totally new level of scandal.

  • Nothing wrong with being modest. Breasts are not on display generally. What’s wrong with covering up a little? All this, “motherhood is beautiful” bit is overdone. A mere ad campaign, which is not real life, although many confuse the two. Breastfeeding is intimate, and should remain so to a large extent. And all this argument that it is “natural” make no sense. There are plenty of natural things we do not do in public. Most, in fact.

    Modesty seems to have done out of fashion. I wish it would come back. It is a very appealing virtue.

  • Marianne May, 26 2015, 9:13 / Reply

    Discreetly breastfeeding a child in public is acceptable. However, I think a woman should attempt to cover up. Walking around sans shirt is not ok. I have seen this at the Natural History Museum Butterfly exhibit. Baby in bjorn carrier not feeding, mothers shirt open and exposing her bare breast to everyone in VERY close quarters. My five year old son was horrified as was my husband. Woman who do give breastfeeding a bad name.

  • How can the world continue to be so hypocrite!!!! after all, we all agree that this is what the best for a baby…we have the choice to do it or not !!and no one but the mother can decide that!!
    as for doing it in public ..why not?? there is way to do it without showing everything..and it’s up to us women to decide …for this men are out of the equation !!!
    after all we have to think about this wonderful moment of complicity with our baby “t?te a t?te”which is a very unique moment that i wish for every woman…No one want’s to do it in the middle of the streets…if you are out of your home ..there is always a corner in a cafe where is quieter and less crowded place!!!
    with love
    Yael Guetta
    http://www.ftwwl.com

  • Francesca May, 26 2015, 9:19 / Reply

    Babies should be fed when they’re hungry, this means they should also eat in public! Don’t know why all that fuss about something absolutely natural! Love the cover, though!
    http://fashion-soup.com

  • Merci pour ce post (les photos ne sont pas toutefois une situation “naturelle” nos bébés ne sont pas nus quand on les allaite !) ! J’ai allaité mes trois enfants jusqu’à 7-8 mois : à la maison, dehors sur un banc, à la plage, dans l’avion, le train, en réunion de travail aussi ! Partout et à toute heure. C’est naturel et bénéfique pour l’enfant, donc la question ne se pose pas :)

  • In Argentina, this is not an issue at all. Baby is hungry, baby eats, That is about it. I have breastfed my babies everywhere, And I would never, ever lock myself up in a place to do so. Nothing to be ashamed of, quite the contrary!

  • great, génial et normal aussi. allaitons fièrement nos bébés. pourquoi ça choque ? parce que nos seins sont censés n’être que décoratifs ???

  • While I agree that breastfeeding is natural and normal.Let’s be honest if that model was breastfeeding at a starbucks just exactly like the photo it would stop traffic. Let’s see a photo of a real mom of a newborn – exhausted, unwashed and sleep deprived. Oh yes, also overweight because god forbid she hasn’t lost the baby weight within a month. Just saying the photo is more of a man’s fantasy of a breast feeding woman.

  • We keep on coming up with fake ‘issues’ like this one – why is this supposed to be a problem anyway? It’s part of life but it’s also a deeply special moment between mother and child, it shouldn’t be postered-up into a fashion meme just because models are mothers too. Just because some women do not breastfeed their babies in public it doesn’t mean they don’t breastfeed them at all just like because we don’t walk around naked, it doesn’t make us dis-bodied.

    That cover-moment is just as un-staged as a Broadway play! we’re supporting the cause already, you don’t have to take us for idiots, some of us actually have children and actually breastfed them and actually lost their baby weight instantly. We just don’t make a big deal of it because it’s our ‘normal’. Babies are breastfed. Get over it.

  • Garance,
    C’est toujours un plaisir de lire tes billets.
    J’apsère un jour avoir le bonheur de te rencontrer.
    XoLMC’N,
    http://www.lamodecnous.com
    http://www.livelamodecnous.com

  • Jane with the noisy terrier May, 27 2015, 11:21 / Reply

    I have absolutely no problem with women breastfeeding in public, if that is what they’re comfortable with. But I think this image was chosen for a cover purposefully to create media attention. (Have we ever discussed Australian ELLE before?) That the model is standing in designer clothes, holding her baby who happens to be naked, just seems forced. And as others have mentioned, this is a fashion magazine. If this was the cover of TIME, it would be topical, but ELLE just seems like a bit of sensationalism

  • I think the cover is lovely. I have no problem of breastfeeding images in art or fashion, HOWEVER I do not think that publicly displaying breasts is ever acceptable (well, may be nudist beach).
    Yes, breastfeeding is perfectly fine and natural and with a little discretion you can get away with it anywhere. Yet, why some (just to clarify: I don’t mean all women do this) choose to make a public display of it- I just don’t get it.

    http://www.7moreminutes.com

  • Breastfeeding should be normalized but it surely doesn’t belong on the cover of a fashion magazine. What’s next? Breast pumping on the cover of Vogue?

  • Audrey1202 December, 29 2015, 3:48 / Reply

    I did nurse my daughter in restaurants and caffes because breastfeeding on the go is soooo convenient! I did cover up as much as I could, not showing to much skin, using a scarf. It is an intimate moment for the mom and the baby.

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