Tuesday afternoon I headed off to downtown Chicago to meet up with 13 of my mama friends (2 are behind the scenes). We were on a mission! A mission to normalize breastfeeding, and in particular, breastfeeding in public. We all met up on Michigan Avenue in Chicago for a 5 minute photo shoot. Our plan: to stop traffic… while breastfeeding! Yes, us breastfeeding moms stopped traffic in downtown Chicago and I feel so privileged to be a part of this awesome group of mamas.
Normalize Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding in Public
This all came together thanks to Abby Theuring, who is The Badass Breastfeeder and Ivette Ivens, a local photographer who will be putting this gorgeous photo in her book, Breastfeeding Goddesses. We’re all in a breastfeeding group on Facebook and started kicking around the idea of a jaw-dropping, traffic-stopping photo to bring awareness to breastfeeding in public in hopes to normalize it. It’s normal in our society to turn on the tv or walk down the street and see nearly naked women all around us but when you have a child attached to the breast – watch out! You’ll get disgusted stares, you’ll have your photos reported by “friends” on Facebook, you’ll get told by friends and family that you should cover up and you’ll even be told to go feed your child in the restroom. Breastfeeding moms should not be made to feel embarrassed or afraid to feed our children anytime or anyplace we need to.
Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder
Let me start off by saying, I wish Abby was around 18+ years ago when I had my first. I only breastfed my first and second children for a few months. I had no support. At all. I didn’t understand how to make breastfeeding work – let alone how to deal with it outside of my front door. With my third child, I got braver and made it a year but started weaning at 10 months because everyone told me she shouldn’t be nursing past one year old. With my fourth, pretty much the same thing. Now with my fifth… I had Abby, LOL! I was much more knowledgeable between #4 & #5 so I had that going for me. Following The Badass Breastfeeder on Facebook and joining her FB groups has made me fully understand the benefits of breastfeeding, how and where to get help and support and how I am allowed to feel when I need to feed my baby outside of my home. I am so thankful for the education and support Abby provides to moms and moms-to-be.
As for our traffic-stopping photo, Abby says,
“We threw around a lot of ideas but traffic seemed to reach our goal of making a statement the best. We are powerful, confident, and not afraid.
I hope this photo helps to normalize breastfeeding by keeping the conversation going and keeping the images at the forefront of people’s minds. I hope to empower women to choose breastfeeding, keep breastfeeding through the struggles, and to help women feel that they are part of a community that will stick with them,” she says. “We are a tribe. We stick together. And to show the mainstream that this is something beautiful and powerful, not to be hidden and not shameful.”
Traffic Stopping Photo Shoot with Ivette Ivans
We all gathered on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Illinois, in front of the Tribune Building. Some of us needed to get changed. We needed to get our babies and toddlers ready too.
We knew we needed to be safe, first and foremost, and quick. When Ivette said “go” – we went! We were like a strong pack of wolves, the energy was amazing. The whole thing took around 5 min. from the time we left the curb, walked the median, and were back to our spot, back in front of the Tribune Building. We literally stood on the median for just a couple minutes.
And in case you missed it above, take another look at the photo Ivette took:
Ivette also got an awesome shot of Abby, in her trademark Badass Breastfeeder stance:
If you follow The Badass Breadtfeeder, you know this pose:
Ivette Ivens has a passion for for photographing nursing mothers which comes from her own experience as a mom and also from witnessing the discrimination that breastfeeding women deal with. She also hopes to normalize breastfeeding.
“The most natural, instinctive thing is being questioned and restricted. It always felt so celestic to me and I’m expressing that in my images.”
Ivette’s book, Breastfeeding Goddesses, will be available soon and can be ordered now from her website (below).
Connect with The Badass Breastfeeder and Ivette Ivans
Here’s a couple other shots from the day…
(yes, I’m a dork and needed a selfie with The Badass Breastfeeder!)
I brought along Becca, who helped us with our babies, toddlers, strollers, diaper bags & purses!
And of course, me and my main squeeze…
I can’t even begin to put into words how awesome this day was. The energy we all had as a group can not be matched. I love that we were all able to get together and do something jaw-dropping like this – and all in the name of breastfeeding!