Breastfeeding moms spend a lot of time breastfeeding. A LOT. In those early months, if their babies aren’t sleeping, chances are they’re nursing.
And yes, breastfeeding is a time of bonding, of gazing into your beautiful baby’s eyes, and of being flooded with all the warm and fuzzies. But let’s be real: You’re not going to be spending every second of your breastfeeding hours (and did I mention there were tons of them?) eye-to-eye with your perfect little cherub.
Moms are pros at multitasking. And breastfeeding moms? They’re next-level good at it. Hence why many of them quickly learn the art of breastfeeding while simultaneously scrolling through Instagram, answering emails, paying bills, and sending texts.
But for anyone who’s ever been trapped under a nursing infant, firing off texts to friends one-handed, you may have found yourself wondering just how they haven’t yet released a breastfeeding mom emoji. (I mean, they’ve pretty much come up with every other kind of emoji under the sun, haven’t they?)
Enter, Rachel Lee — a registered nurse from Australia, who’s not only wondered the same thing herself, but gone one step further: She’s petitioning Unicode, the creators of the emoji keyboard, to add a breastfeeding emoji to their lineup.
“I propose adding an emoji for breastfeeding as a complement to the existing baby bottle emoji, and to complete the set of family emojis,” Lee writes in her letter to Unicode. “The lack of a breastfeeding emoji represents a gap in the Unicode Standard given the prevalence of breastfeeding in cultures around the world, and throughout history.”
As Lee tells Babble, it’s not just for the fun of it, or the convenience to moms: She sees the addition of a breastfeeding emoji as a concrete way to promote the benefits of breastfeeding, something she sees first-hand in her work as a nurse caring for premature babies.
“I work specifically in Neonatal Intensive and Special Care,” Lee tells Babble. “This means I really see the importance of breast milk and breastfeeding whenever it’s possible. Our very premature babies cannot breastfeed early in our care but they rely on colostrum which helps line their undeveloped gastrointestinal tract and provide immunonutrients.”
Lee knows that breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily — especially for babies like the ones she works with, who face difficulties early on. But that’s exactly why Lee believes the promotion of breastfeeding and support for breastfeeding moms is so important.
“Breastfeeding is such a natural action and process, but I see so much frustration that surrounds the topic,” Lee continues. “Breastfeeding can be difficult, painful and not always the easiest pathway BUT it has so many benefits. People need support from their partners, friends, families, and society to help encourage and support them for doing a great job. Proposing an emoji might not be the biggest step in promoting breastfeeding but it encourages media to talk about it!”
Lee worked with artist Joshua Jones to create a mock-up of the emoji, which depicts a baby breastfeeding in the cradle hold (Lee explains in her proposal that the cradle hold is the most popular hold for breastfeeding moms). And it’s perfect. The emoji is totally snuggly and adorable, and would make the perfect addition to the emoji keyboard.
As for whether or not Unicode will add the emoji to their repertoire, only time will tell. Lee tells Babble that she’s received a very positive response so far from people who have seen it. And as Lee emphasizes in her letter to Unicode, there is absolutely a demand for the emoji.
“Three million mothers participate in the activity of breastfeeding in the United States at any given time,” Lee writes, “By comparison, activities such as hockey [which has its own emoji] see 67,230 women participating annually in the United States.”
She’s definitely hit the nail on the head there. We breastfeeding moms are proud of what we do and are definitely ready for our own emoji, which Lee sees more as a symbol of this pride, and a way to salute breastfeeding moms everywhere.
“Emoji is a new form of communication in modern society and the introduction of a breastfeeding emoji will hopefully help recognize it’s benefits and work like a little badge of honor,” she tells Babble. “It’s really exciting seeing people talk about it in such a positive light and it just needs to be normalised in society!”
I for one say bring. it. on.
Your move, Unicode.More On