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Images of Breastfeeding in Mainstream Magazines

By Devan McGuinness |

Last week I shared some breastfeeding images that had been rounded up and considered ‘glamorous’ and like any topic with breastfeeding, the response was mixed. Many of you felt they were overdone and not at all what ‘real breastfeeding’ looks like {what ever that means} and there were some of you who felt, like me, that these images were beautiful and helped to normalize (any time we see images in the mainstream of breastfeeding — it helps normalize it for those who are not used to seeing it).

Click through to see images of breastfeeding in mainstream magazines:

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Breastfeeding in Mainstream Magazines

Advertisement for Nipple Cream

A Lithuanian double spread advertisement that was featured in some magazines, featuring the Garmastan nipple cream.
Image: coloribus

What are your thoughts? Do these help normalize breastfeeding or do you feel these too over-sensationalize or sexualize breastfeeding?

For more celebrities who breastfeed check out: Celebs Who Breastfeed In Public

Read more from Devan on Accustomed ChaosUnspoken Grief
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Want more? Find me on Babble Kids!

More on Being Pregnant:
Normalizing Breastfeeding With Glamorous Photos
What Your Pregnancy Cravings Say About You
No Surprise. Breastfeeding Image Evokes Strong Opinions

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About Devan McGuinness

devanmcguinness

Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the writer of the lifestyle website byDevan. After surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan founded Unspoken Grief, a resource and support site for perinatal and neonatal loss. Read bio and latest posts → Read Devan's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Images of Breastfeeding in Mainstream Magazines

  1. sarahh says:

    I don’t see any of these as being overly sexualized, and think they’re all quite nice. Women have different styles – why should those styles change because a woman is breastfeeding?? Having a child doesn’t mean you all of a sudden have to dress like a nun. :) And if you can pull off short shorts and a cowboy hat while breastfeeding, I say more power to you.

  2. Janet says:

    Women nowadays would let a man put his mouth to her breast and not a baby because it feels “weird”. Duh, that’s what breasts are for!

  3. Rachel Dowling says:

    This is a really interesting blog topic. I absolutely agree that putting images of mothers nursing out there in the media helps to normalize breastfeeding. But since pictures speak a thousand words, how these nursing mothers are portrayed is pretty important. The majority of these images are highly sexual, and so add fodder to the hysterical reactions among many Americans who find breastfeeding beyond infancy to be somehow perverse. In the FB thread for Babbles blog piece on “Seven Ways to Wean a Toddler” one woman went so far as to call women who practice extended nursing to be “sick” and said that such women would also be teaching these babies to masturbate when they were ten. That is the kind of ideology that gains traction when mainstream media choose, time and time again, to portray nursing mothers in a sexual light. The Redbook cover is my favorite among them, because it shows breastfeeding within the context of family. I also like the picture of Jolie. It is barely revealing, which is how breastfeeding is most of the time, and shows in her expression the glow of motherhood rather than a sexual pout or bubble gum bubble that succeeds in reverting the mother back to girlhood and at the same time sexually objectifies her.

  4. Ernie says:

    Actually, I thought these ones were much more representative of the reality of breastfeeding than any of the previous articles. Except the one of Jerry Hall, which just looks terribly posed.

    The bubblegum one is awesome in its own right. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen my wife playing on her phone while nursing, I could pay off our mortgage. And she’s hardly dressed like a glamour model either, more like the most comfortable thing around.

  5. adrian says:

    its a natural thing to breast feed the only ones that have a problem are stupit people

  6. Amy says:

    I don’t see the point unless the article accompanying the photo is about babies…many of these are just women posing with a breastfeeding child. That’s just unnecessary boob shots. It makes new moms feel bad b/c most of us are certainly not looking glamourous while feeding our children. I don’t think these pictures are put out there to “normalize breastfeeding”, it seems like more of an attempt to normalize models and send, yet another (wrong) message that it’s typical to lose baby weight quickly and go right back to your size 2 body. And I don’t want to hear the “breastfeeding” helps you lose weight argument…I gained more weight after giving birth b/c breastfeeding made me ravenously hungry!!

  7. Ana says:

    I love seeing photos of breast-feeding moms with babes in arms. As a mom that practiced extended breastfeeding I kn

  8. Savannah says:

    I love the one with Angelina Jolie..the little hand is too precious!

  9. Katie says:

    Let’s be honest… they’re creepy! That being said, I think there is an element of sexuality involved in reproduction and motherhood and these photos express that. They express a woman’s struggle/balance between her motherly instinct and her sexual nature.

  10. Geneva says:

    Only the first three seemed on the sexy side to me, but didn’t bother me too much. The first one and the 3rd one was the way they were posed. The second one was the sheer shirt, which I feel is intended to be a little sexy. It might bother some people, but to me it kind of is telling women it is okay to be a mom and it is okay to look sexy while being a mom. (Not sexy in a nasty way, but sexy in the powerful take control of yourself way.) The last photos just seemed natural. Even the model posing with the doll just looked so natural, despite the fact that she was unrealistically gorgeous. I guess people can perceive the photos any way they want, but when I see breastfeeding all I see is a mom who loves her baby. <3

  11. Geneva says:

    Only the first three seemed on the sexy side to me, but didn’t bother me too much. The first one and the 3rd one was the way they were posed. The second one was the sheer shirt, which I feel is intended to be a little sexy. It might bother some people, but to me it kind of is telling women it is okay to be a mom and it is okay to look sexy while being a mom. (Not sexy in a nasty way, but sexy in the powerful take control of yourself way.) The last photos just seemed natural. Even the model posing with the doll just looked so natural, despite the fact that she was unrealistically gorgeous. I guess people can perceive the photos any way they want, but when I see breastfeeding all I see is a mom who loves her baby. <3

  12. Jess says:

    I totally agree that breastfeeding needs to be accepted and normalized, and at least half of these images are great. The others…way too sexual, in my opinion. The poses and dress look more like the baby is put in the photo so the magazine can say “It’s about breastfeeding, see?” and get away with showing some extra skin.

  13. jenn says:

    I like the angelina one and the redbook one, but the others look too posed, too fake and not at all representative of “real breastfeeding”. I enjoyed breastfeeding and the best part was how natural and comfortable I felt doing it. But all images of breastfeeding are a good thing, and will hopefully bring it to mainstream acceptance.

  14. luna laplant says:

    that’s stupid breastfeeding is not sexual and the people that think of it that way are perverts so if someone hear thinks these picks are sexy you are disgusting
    that is what every mother fears when there feeding there baby in public thinking is there some perev watching us.

  15. Tiara says:

    I think spring women breastfeeding is beautiful its what we were ment to do so why not show the world

  16. tara says:

    I do not think breast feeding is a sexual act at all. It’s natural and beautiful and part of being a mother and women, but it’s not “sexual”. I liked all these pictures for the most part. The one of the model with the fake baby is just stupid in my opinion though. It wasn’t a real baby, much less hers! I doubt that girl is even a mother. Faking it for a photo op so you can have your shirt wide open isn’t helping mainstream breastfeeding, it’s just a chance to show boobie. As for the rest, I think they are mostly sweet and pretty. even the magazine covers that were posed are sweet because they were mothers with their own children. I like the idea that maybe we can be glamorous while being a new mom with a baby attatched to the boobie!

  17. Ordinary Sarah says:

    None of these bother me. I think only people who choose to see these pictures as sexual will do so. I only see women feeding their babies. And the one in the tent is just precious. Absolutely beautiful.

  18. Leigh Ann says:

    The image of Angelina is quite beautiful and seems more candid. But a model? Chewing bubble gum, playing with her phone, with her fancy hat, glasses, and handbag? Makes the baby look like an afterthought. Definitely trying too hard to make breastfeeding look “normal.”

  19. Samantha says:

    I love it!! I was a breast feeding mommy until my son was 1 and I love the idea of making breast feeding look glamorous!!! Maybe more women would try doing it instead of judging those of us that do. I think people associate breast feeding with being a frumpy house wife. So making these women look sexy puts a spin on it. I personally love anything that puts a spot light on breast feeding.

  20. JMo says:

    The more the better! Our world needs to visualize breastfeeding as a real and natural occurence in our daily lives (which it is!). If we can market boobs as sexualized objects we should totally market their intended natural purpose!

  21. JRmomof2boys says:

    There is nothing wrong with the photos of REAL moms nursing their children. The nipple cream ad is a little strange but not sexual. I do see a slight problem with the model pretending to nurse a fake baby. I love that high fashion is trying to normalize breastfeeding but, I think they should use a model who is really a breastfeeding mommy.

  22. Roslynn says:

    The problem is that most of the time these women are portrayed in media, they ARE sexual objects. So when they’re portrayed in the media while breastfeeding, what do you think is going to happen???? If people are used to looking at Angelina Jolie’s boobs in a sexual manner in movies, pictures, etc…. then that’s what they’re going to think…..sexual. And seeing a baby attached to a “sexual” object is just disgusting. We need to change the way women are portrayed, and the way breasts are portrayed, rather than change people’s thinking about breastfeeding itself. Let’s get to the root of the problem.

  23. JRmomof2boys says:

    Sorry for the double post, Disney think my first comment posted :)

  24. Chrystal says:

    LOVE Roslynn’s comment above! YES!

  25. Laura Miller says:

    Women do come with different looks…but a jacket with no shirt? GET REAL! Bfing a toy is also a mockery. How bleeping stupid.

  26. Katie Rose says:

    I don’t find all of these problematic. The women in the outdoors one is just fine, but that one in the lacy nightie? If we make breastfeeding overly sexual, then it becomes something that should be done in private.

  27. jodie says:

    I have no problem whatsoever with the idea of seeing a breastfeeding mumma – the first photo is just a little odd, but it’s for nipple cream.
    The only thing is usually if someone is breastfeeding a baby properly, there’s not a lot to be seen – if these photos were taken front on and not side on, you could easily look past it and think that they are just having a nursing cuddle.
    I read thru a few of the comments above, I’m from Australia, and there is still a mix of controversy about it – but reading that there are people that think breast feeding beyond infancy is wrong or disgusting, these people need to keep their comments to themselves and let people be, breastfeeding is the most natural and best thing for any child and in the above cases, you should be happy that celebrities are breastfeeding their own children rather than doing otherwise.

  28. Delores Doyle says:

    I commented before on the lacy one-who in the world even goes out like that breastfeeding? Every Moma has to wear those breast pads whenever we go out,or, wet clothes. The model is a bad joke. Good for Jerry Jagger-I just don’t think she’d be wearing such clothing with a little one that will soon nurse, relax, and pee…:) Hurray for Pierce Brosnan’s lady that long-term nurses (from his size). Angie’s pic is great because she gives an honest & vulnerable expression, (just gorgeous), of what it feels like to come home, unwind, and gather up our little darlings to share our home-made food with them! Blessed & Lucky Momas!

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