breastfeedingI'm a formula mom who appreciates a beautiful breastfeeding image. So I swooned when I saw this gorgeous photo of model Ymre Stiekema posing topless and breastfeeding in the October issue of Vogue Netherlands. 

The model is styled to resemble a modern Vermeer painting, complete with a Dutch bonnet and a proud but austere expression on her face.

Some will argue that images like this one are irrelevant or even harmful -- that they perpetuate the Mommy Wars. I mean, I get it: What the heck does breastfeeding have to do with fashion? And why is Vogue insisting on making women who don't, can't, or won't breastfeed feel even more inadequate than we sometimes already do? 

But there are three reasons why photos like this one are incredibly important and helpful -- to all moms. 

  1. They help normalize the concept of breastfeeding to a nation that still, by and large, remains uncomfortable with women breastfeeding in public. Sometimes the only way to make something seem as normal as it is is to shock people continually with images until those images are, well, not at all shocking. Although I breastfed for only two months, I consider it an assault on ALL women when we are treated as if our bodies are a source of shame.  
  2. They inspire confidence in moms who have been taught to believe breastfeeding is a draining act by providing strong images of women who look confident and in control while feeding their child. If you're a formula mom, awesome. But if you're a mom who is on the fence about breastfeeding, images like these may reinforce the idea that all women do not collapse in an exhausted heap each time they nurse.
  3. They help convey the message that breastfeeding doesn't define a mother -- it's simply something some moms do to nourish their babies. In many breastfeeding images, the women appear to be taking a break from working or they simply show women incorporating nursing into their everyday routine. Breastfeeding is part of her life, but not her entire life. 

What do you think about the Vogue Netherlands photo and all breastfeeding photos? 


Image via sdminor81/Flickr