Being embarrassed to breastfeed in public, as well as fear of being shamed for doing so, are some of the reasons why some moms never attempt to breastfeed. Others start out breastfeeding but give up after having a bad experience nursing in public or when they realize their child will no longer keep a cover on.
Taisha Kelleher lives in Tampa, Florida, USA, with her family. She is the project coordinator of the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Breastfeeding is Normal” photo display.
About the Photographer
Patricia Cannon is a professional photographer with Sweet Plum Photography in Tampa, Florida.
When we see something every day, we quickly become desensitized to it. Present generations have not been exposed to breastfeeding much, if at all. The more they see breastfeeding happening around them, the more normal it will become.
During World Breastfeeding Week 2011, I came across some slideshows on Facebook with pictures of moms nursing in public from the “Nursing IS Normal” projects that have been coordinated in several states by Kathy O’Brien. I fell in love with the idea and first wrote a blog post about the project. Then I decided that something similar had to be done in the Tampa, Florida, USA, area, and I posted a link to my blog post in several forums and asked around for anyone interested in helping to make this come true here. Thanks to our local birth center and Facebook, soon there was a whole group of moms interested in making this project happen! I spoke with Kathy, and with her blessing, we decided to move forward under a different name: “Breastfeeding Is Normal: Anytime, Anywhere.”
Current partners are La Leche League of the Sunshine State, the Hillsborough County Breastfeeding Task Force and breastfeeding moms from the community. The project will be displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) as a permanent part of their “Amazing You” exhibit on the human body. Most public schools in Hillsborough County take their students on field trips to MOSI, and parents like to take their kids on trips there as well. It is a perfect place for children to be exposed to breastfeeding and to learn that it is a normal part of life.
The goal is that, with nursing becoming more normalized in our society, more moms will initiate and continue breastfeeding because they no longer have to worry about hiding or being shamed. This, of course, will benefit babies in that more of them will be breastfed and get to experience the benefits of breastfeeding. More moms will also experience said benefits. My dream is that one day, when people see a mom breastfeeding, they are so used to it that they don’t even bat an eyelash.