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11 Incredible Breastfeeding Images in Ancient Art

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I am a big advocate for breastfeeding and normalizing the images of breastfeeding is something I feel very strongly about. When I was first pregnant and thinking about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding I came to realize that I had not seen anyone breastfeed. I didn’t hear anyone talking about it and certainly didn’t see any images in media.

I came across these gorgeous images of breastfeeding dating back to the Roman period. A time where breastfeeding was the only way to feed a child and those who couldn’t breastfeed, fed their children through wet nurses who would breastfeed for them. Breastfeeding was the norm and idealized way back then and I would love to see a return to the comfort of using images like this in our every day.

Click through to see some incredible images of breastfeeding in ancient art


  • Allart Peirson Museum 1 of 11
    Allart Peirson Museum
    Dating back to the Roman Period
  • Ubaid statuette of a nursing mother 2 of 11
    Ubaid statuette of a nursing mother
    Date: c. 6000 BC - 4000 BC
  • Epitaph: Roman Sarcophagi 3 of 11
    Epitaph: Roman Sarcophagi
    The scenes depict the newborn infant, the child at play, and the child with teacher. The mother appears to be breast-feeding which raises the question about whether this was normal (in a society of wet-nurses) or whether the scene was idealized.
  • Greco Roman Pottery Sculpture of Mother Figure Breastfeeding Infant 4 of 11
    Greco Roman Pottery Sculpture of Mother Figure Breastfeeding Infant
    Date: ca. 3rd century B.C. Image by Araldo de Luca/CORBIS
  • Isis Nursing Horus 5 of 11
    Isis Nursing Horus
    Egyptian Date: 715-525 BC
  • Moche ceramic vessel depicting a woman breastfeeding. 6 of 11
    Moche ceramic vessel depicting a woman breastfeeding.
    Date: Pre-Columbian (1 AD to 800 AD) Location: Larco Museum Collection Lima, Peru.
  • Isis nursing her son, Horus. 7 of 11
    Isis nursing her son, Horus.
    Michael C Carlos museum.
  • Isis Lactans 8 of 11
    Isis Lactans
    Location: Museo Pio Clementino, Rome
  • Statuette of a Nurse, Feeding two Infants 9 of 11
    Statuette of a Nurse, Feeding two Infants
    Old Kingdom, Dynasty 5, ca.2465-2323 BC.
  • Hindu Relief Depicting Mother and Children 10 of 11
    Hindu Relief Depicting Mother and Children
    Hindu Relief Depicting Mother and Children Image by Ingo Jezierski/Corbis
  • Etruscan Statue (Mater Matuta) 11 of 11
    Etruscan Statue (Mater Matuta)
    Date: ca. 450-460 Image by Alinari Archives/CORBIS

I would love to share your breastfeeding photos on a Babble post. If you have a photo you’d like to share please email me accustomedchaos(@)gmail.com with your name, photo and a link you would like back (twitter, blog etc). Thank you!

Related Post: Fertility, Pregnancy and Labor Deities

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