Wow. What an incredible week! What started off as a group of photographers hoping to make a small impact in breastfeeding awareness for World Breastfeeding Week, has turned into a much bigger thing we could have ever hoped for.
The Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project was an idea that came from the brilliant Leilani Rogers. Her goal was to help normalize public breastfeeding using photography, and our thought behind it was: the more we see it, the more “normal” it will become. Our plan for the PBAP was to volunteer our time to photograph women breastfeeding in public places around town, and then share our images online all during World Breastfeeding Week and flood social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with our images. We thought this would be a great way to bring awareness and showcase how normal breastfeeding really is.
When I heard about this project from a fellow photographer, Paulina Spletcha, I knew I wanted to participate. Breastfeeding in public has been a topic that has been a part of my life since I became a mother almost 5 years ago. And more so now again, as I just gave birth 2 months ago to my 3rd child and I am breastfeeding a newborn again. My husband even thought I was a bit crazy taking on this project as I am on maternity leave and when I shot the images for this project I had my 6 week old son nursing in my sling as I shot! Little did we know that this project would blow up the way it did…
I shot my session 2 weeks early so I’d have time to edit my shots and have everything ready in time. We started sharing our images during World Breastfeeding Week on August 1st. Immediately, they had a great response. By August 5th the #pbap2014 was featured in our first article on parenting website TheStir. And even more exciting for me, my image of the mom (Taylor Snowney) breastfeeding in between the stacks of books at the library was featured in the article. Needless to say, all of us participating were excited to get some recognition for our efforts! It was so wonderful to see our project and our cause being featured in the media! I honestly didn’t realize that was just the beginning.
The next day our Project was featured on the hugely popular BabyCenter.com and my image appeared again. I was in disbelief!
But it wasn’t until the 6th when I almost fell off of my chair – the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project was featured on THE HUFFINGTON POST! I was floored. The Huff Post Parents shared the link to their 450,000 followers and then it was picked up by the main Huffington Post page with it’s over 3 million followers! I could not believe it. Our efforts for public breastfeeding awareness was really making an impact! More so, I could not believe that my image of the mom at the library was featured all 3 times!!!
Other media outlets suddenly started taking an interest, and the next thing we know Redbook magazine published an article about it and so did parentdish, evrystry and even the british website bestdaily.co.uk!
The word was spreading! Even my own newsfeed was full of shares people sharing links to these articles, as well as a sudden interest breastfeeding related stories and breastfeeding topics. Most notably that the Huffington Post wrote an article the following day about actress Olivia Wilde that posed for a a photo shoot for Glamour Magazine breastfeeding her son. Articles featuring our images continue to be re-posted and shared and new articles are being published about the topic covering breastfeeding related stories. All of these things together are what start to change the public perception of breastfeeding. I know it’s not something that will change overnight, but my hope is that perhaps by the time my daughters are grown, this won’t be an issue they will have to face.
I am beyond thrilled about the media attention this movement has received and I am just humbled by all the wonderful comments our project has gotten. I am so proud to have been a part of this cause and helping to promote breastfeeding in public. We have contributed to this international conversation and clearly we have made an impact.
I want to thank all the moms and their little ones who let me photograph them for this – it was truly an honor to have represented South Florida moms and families with my image – truly. With out you, I would not have been able to bring my perspective and my ideas for this project to life.
A big thank you again to Leilani Rogers, who without her, this project would never have happened. I have nothing but gratitude for her for coming up with this incredible idea and for letting us be a part of it. Not only has this project brought attention to a cause that is near to my heart (literally and figuratively, LOL) she has also created a wonderful group of world-wide photographers that participated in this that I’m excited to call my new friends and colleagues. Your idea has inspired me and motivated me more than you can imagine. I thank you and I look forward to rocking this project again next year.
To see more images from this campaign, check out #pbap2014.
I’m also participating in a blog circle where you can read more about the photographers that participated in this project. We have linked to each other’s blog posts sharing our stories about the PBAP. You can check out the next photographer in the PBAP blog circle: Austin, Texas Maternity, Children and Family Photographer Sabrina Bean Photography
Much, much love.