15 Intimate Breastfeeding Photos That Show It's Not Only Natural ... but Magical!

Genny Glassman | Sep 6, 2017 Baby


Ivette Ivens Photography

When Ivette Ivens was 13, she knew she wanted to be a photographer. Like so many of us before we become mothers, she had no idea that her career -- in fact, her entire life -- would be changed by motherhood. That's why her work, and upcoming book, focuses on breastfeeding, showing mothers nursing in natural spaces to capture how beautiful and normal breastfeeding is. 

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Now an acclaimed baby photographer and a breastfeeding advocate, Ivette has shot thousands of moms who want to take a stand against the stigma of breastfeeding. These are women who were told that what they are doing is gross, inappropriate, or downright wrong. As you'll see in her pictures, Ivens has completely proven her critics wrong, creating ethereal images of motherhood that could be in a museum.

From the moment that online trolls caused her to change her entire career, to the forthcoming book of photographs she's publishing in 2018, Ivens has one message for nursing moms: Don't ever feel ashamed.

  • A Passion for Film

    1

    Born in Lithuania, Ivette Ivens is no stranger to the camera. Her mother was both a photographer and a journalist, and growing up, Ivette found herself rummaging through her mother's camera bag. By 13, she new she wanted to be a photographer.

  • At the Center of a Circus

    2

    Now a mother to two sons, Ivens didn't even realize that breastfeeding was taboo until she took a portrait of herself nursing in 2014. The picture exploded on the Internet, but not necessarily in a positive light. Many comments were negative and insulting. Before Ivens knew it, she was the target of cyberbullies.

  • The Beginning of Something Good

    3

    After her experience with Internet trolls, Ivens became a lit fuse. She wanted to prove that breastfeeding was not just beautiful, but a divine act of love. So she continued to post more and more pictures of mothers breastfeeding, in hopes that the stigma would go away.

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  • Natural Good

    4

    The response Ivette gets now for her photos is overwhelmingly positive. And it's easy to see why. Her images are breathtakingly real. These gorgeous images make their subjects look like goddesses.

  • A Battle Won

    5

    "In the very beginning I would receive a few nasty comments saying I should give my child Oreos and not breast milk or that breastfeeding mothers should cover up," Ivens tells CafeMom. "However, as I continued on with my project, these negative comments stopped. Right now I only receive positive and encouraging messages."

  • Spreading the Word

    6

    Ivette even has a few celebrity clients, who not only go to the photographer for her beautiful work, but to support campaigns that normalize breastfeeding, like August's National Breastfeeding Month. 

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  • Fearless Women

    7

    "The mothers that I work with are amazing women who are big supporters of the #NormalizeBreastfeeding campaign," Ivens tells CafeMom. "None of them are scared of what other people might think after doing the shoot. Even if I tell them to get completely naked for the photo, they just do it!"

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  • Drawing Inspiration From Around Her

    8

    Ivette draws a lot of inspiration from Hawaii, where she recently bought a home. You can see in many of her pictures the hardened lava formations in the earth or lush greenery of the islands, though Ivette is always happy to accommodate her subjects. "If a mommy lives in a busy city, I'll try to reflect that in my photos," she tells CafeMom

  • She Hearts LA

    9

    In fact, it took a year to coordinate with this busy mom, because it was important for her to get a picture with the LA skyline just right. It was also important for Ivette to find a location that would show the family's connection to Los Angeles and to make sure the setting looked perfect.

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  • A Tale of Unity

    10

    Ivens has a new photography book coming out in 2018 -- her second published book of photos. Speaking about the difference between this new book and her last, Breastfeeding GoddessesIvette tells CafeMom, "My first book was about successful breastfeeding stories which is great and inspiring for someone who is seeking encouragement. This one is more about uniting all mothers and their journeys."

  • Storytelling

    11

    "My models are from all walks of life," Ivette adds, "from well-known celebrities to sweet stay-at-home mothers. All of these moms have different breastfeeding stories: Some breastfed for a week, some for six years. To me, hearing about someone's breastfeeding journey is just as interesting as learning about one's birth story."

  • The Moment You Realize

    12

    Why is it so important to focus on breastfeeding? "Usually, breastfeeding is the first way you connect with your child and realize how smart they already are," Ivens says. "Going from floating in the water for nine months in the dark, coming out to light, starting to breathe and figure out how to suck out that liquid gold! It's mind-blowing and so beautiful."

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  • Giving Each other Strength

    13

    Ivens's photos have not only gone viral, they've brought comfort to moms all over the World Wide Web. When she posted this picture on Facebook, a commenter wrote, "I was recently shamed by a close friend for posting a breastfeeding picture; couldn't see anything, but it was 'offensive because I was topless on the Internet.' Thank you for normalizing breastfeeding!"

  • Breastfeeding is Nothing to Feel Shame About

    14

    Of the women she features in her pictures, Ivens tells CafeMom, "I think all of these mommies, including myself, have one goal in common: to show how beautiful breastfeeding is and to create a future for our children where breastfeeding doesn't evoke hatred in people."

  • Motherhood is Beautiful

    15
    • You can find more of Ivette's work on her website or on Instagram. Her photography book will be released in early 2018.

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