Thursday, June 1, 2023
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What We See When We Watch Models Breastfeed

Then there’s Nicole Trufino, on the cover of Australia’s Elle in 2015, more bluntly “I obviously don’t look like this or wear [this] while breastfeeding,” wrote on her Instagram. But these images represent more than unattainable aesthetics — hey, now, I know I work for a fashion magazine – I’m not sure if these do much. Or rather, we, in general, (forgive me) do enough as a society.

What is it like to be a breast or bottle feeding mother in the US right now? If you work outside, it may look like a dark, windowless pump room that may or may not have been tidied up since before the pandemic. (By the way, many employers didn’t have to provide this space until fairly late last year, when President Biden signed the PUMP Act, which made nursing and pumping facilities more mandatory at the federal level.) It could look like Last year’s national formula shortage left many parents in a state of extreme desperation as they scoured store after store for basic (and, you know, life-sustaining) formula or returned to the black market. It looked like my mother’s room in the gorgeous new Moynihan Train Hall, and I realized that once I got someone to open it for me, there was no place to sit. I assure you, no woman who has ever raised a child will approve of a mother’s room design without a chair. (This was last summer, a temporary mistake I hope.) Baby hip, we walk out of the waiting room and nurse under the train timetable. Anyway, it’s better this way.

I want to stress that it wasn’t Maurer’s shot that was giving me a headache. In the end, I think that photo is great. The next time I have to feed a baby, I’ll probably smear some glitter paint on my face to add a little couture glamor to the otherwise spectacular and mundane events of my day. But I don’t think it’s #momgoals either. I think the goal of a breastfeeding mom is to reduce the stigma and difficulty that often comes with feeding your baby. I think when you search “breastfeeding mother” on Getty, it looks like a really wide range of images, not just a collage of Hallmark Channel stills.




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