Back in vogue: Would you take a portrait of yourself breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding portraits that were popular in the mid-1800s are back in vogue, and I am wondering if mothers would want a photo of themselves breastfeeding?

From The Huffington Post:

“And as Jill Lepore explains in The Mansion of Happiness, it’s just the latest round in the changing discourse about breastfeeding; in the mid-1800s, images of breastfeeding mothers became a fad in the U.S. The use of wet nurses had never been as common in the U.S. as in Europe, and it became even less popular by the early 1800s; breastfeeding your own child became a central measure of your worth as a mother. Cultural constructions of femininity became highly centered on motherhood and the special bond between a mother and her children in the Victorian era.”

“As daguerreotypes became available, women began to pose breastfeeding their infants, capturing them in this most essential of maternal roles…”

You can see an entire Pinterest board of vintage breastfeeding images here.

I will admit that I actually had a photographer friend take a shot of me breastfeeding one of my babies more than a decade ago. Nursing was very important in my bond with my babies, and I wanted a photo of it. I spent 18 months nursing each baby, and I wanted to capture and remember that special time. It was very tasteful and you can’t see anything.

So did you ever shoot you nursing? Would you ever shoot yourself nursing? Can you understand the idea of a formal breastfeeding portrait? What do you think of the vintage images?

25 comments Add your comment

K's Mom

June 26th, 2013
10:51 am

This is not something for me. I also did not want formal pregnancy photos. We had three sets of professional photos done of each of our children in their first year and a 1 year portrait done of them in their baptism outfits. We also have family photos done once a year. I wanted photos of my children’s faces not of them feeding.

I was unable to breast feed and truly do not get the hullabaloo over breast feeding. My kids are healthy and we are bonded. It is great if you can, but if you can’t I truly do not believe you have missed anything or that your kids have either. Like so many other things, I think it is something that some moms use to make themselves feel superior.


June 26th, 2013
11:04 am

There are over 4,000 types of mammals. Breast feeding isn’t special.

Miss Priss!

June 26th, 2013
11:20 am

By God I’d give anything if my father would have photographed me and my two annoying sisters getting spanked with a switch my mother made by peeling off the leaves of a privet hedge limb. The screaming … wailing … during the very intense and deserved making of grill marks on our twitching legs.

Priceless. Unless your fat boob has a tattoo on it.


June 26th, 2013
11:47 am

No thank you. I’m glad I was able to nurse for 7 months and have fond memories of that bonding time, but I’m also glad I don’t have photographic evidence of it. Just not my thing.


June 26th, 2013
12:36 pm

Would you have taken a formal portrait bottle feeding your child if that was the way you chose to nourish them? I think this is way overblown. I’m frankly put off by the moms who must literally pull out their (full, naked) boob and breastfeed in public (note, I didn’t say disgusted nor did I say I thought it should be banned – I just said it was off putting to me). You can be discrete and feed your child. Like K’s Mom said – a bunch of a hullabaloo and a way to engage in the mommy wars.


June 26th, 2013
12:51 pm

I’m SOO over the breastfeeding blogs too. I believe we’ve all discussed them at length and there’s really nothing different for anyone to say.


June 26th, 2013
1:29 pm

Didn’t then and wouldn’t now.


June 26th, 2013
1:30 pm

I think Seriously? and jmb have said it better than I could. I didn’t nurse mine, I have a great bond with them, and they seem to be healthy.

Seriously? I do have photos of various people bottling feeding my kids (me, their dad, my parents, etc)…but they are informal.


June 26th, 2013
1:32 pm

@K’sMom – perhaps because you DIDN’T breast feed, you don’t get the hullaboo?

I breast fed all 3 kids, but only for a short time each. I don’t understand the hullaboo of NOT breastfeeding your kids. That’s THE main purpose of our breasts.

And I did it in public too, but didn’t whip out the naked breast, I was very discrete! When my babies were hungry, I fed them, no matter where we were. You don’t keep a baby at bay when they are hungry, especially when you are in public and they start fussing. I usually went to the car.

I see nothing to be ashamed of. I proudly nursed all 3 kids.


June 26th, 2013
1:34 pm

Back to the question at hand – No, I don’t want a picture of me breastfeeding any of my kids. I have those times etched in my mind forever.

I have a few pregnancy pictures of each child. I have pictures of hubs and me holding one child, while pregnant with the second, and pictures of me and hubs with 2 kids and pregnant with the 3rd. When the 3rd one was born, my husband got pictures of me and all the kids in the hospital bed. A nurse took pictures of all 5 of us in the same bed the night the 3rd child was born.

K's Mom

June 26th, 2013
1:44 pm

@Mayhem, adoptive mother’s don’t get pregnancy and they are still mostly fantastic mothers. All of my friends (every one of them) that has known my situation and the medical reason for my not breast feeding has told me that they wished they’d had a reason not to. Like I said, if you can, it is great, but if you can’t I firmly believe that you are not missing out on a single thing and both of my female pediatricians have agreed with that. So go ahead and start the I am better than you because I did mumbo jumbo.


June 26th, 2013
3:28 pm

I think it can make a very beautiful intimate photo much like pregnancy photos or ones taken right after giving birth. That being said, it’s a personal preference, much like the decision to breastfeed itself. I have four kids (two of which I breastfed for a short time), no photos and no regrets.


June 26th, 2013
3:37 pm

I would, absolutley. I think the time spent breastfeeding is so short and special and I would love to be able to go back in time and get a great pic of breastfeeding my first. I have some really nice shots of me breastfeeding my second when he was a few days old. Would I blow one up and hang it over my fire place? Probably not, but I love looking at them.


June 26th, 2013
3:48 pm

I’m all for it…but the lil tike would go hungry…


June 26th, 2013
4:26 pm

I would have enjoyed a photo focusing on each child as they nursed. Their little angelic faces were beautiful! Me? Probably not so much. I was circumspect about nursing in public, but of course at home things were more casual. Focused on the babies? Wish I had those pictures.


June 26th, 2013
5:03 pm

I don’t get the Hubabaloo either. I breastfed one and not the other. I bonded with both and they are both healthy. I nursed in public but wouldn’t post pics of myself nursing. Nursing in public is a necessity to care for a living breathing human being. Posting pics of yourself nursing is just flaunting.


June 26th, 2013
5:08 pm

Ha… I misunderstood. I read portriat to be self portrait (selfie) for facebook sharing. lol. That is too much, but a portrait for yourself, I don’t see a problem with that. I don’t think I would hang it on a wall, but would certainly be nice to have for personal memories.


June 26th, 2013
8:37 pm

@catlady….ditto on the angelic faces. Me, not so much. I was not too keen on my huge breasts, during breastfeeding. Both of mine were summer babies and it was HOT. After those months, I felt sorry for woman who have to have huge breasts all the time. I saw a lady in Denver, a few weeks ago, whose breasts looked like small watermelons. She looked very uncomfortable too.


June 26th, 2013
9:10 pm

I did not do any formal portraits, but we have 2 or 3 casual breastfeeding shots, showing our baby’s sweet, contented face. The photos were discrete. We took quite a few photos when our son was young and since breastfeeding happened so frequently, we wound up with a few shots. It’s not really any different from taking a photo of your infant with a bottle.

I don’t know if I was breastfed as a baby or not and my mother is no longer living to ask. I have wondered about that and if there was a photo or two, I would know. It’s not a big deal, but I am curious. Some Moms may not want to have their photo taken while breastfeeding, but perhaps your child, when they are an adult and you are no longer living, may enjoy seeing a photo of those special times.

A reader

June 26th, 2013
9:55 pm

Take a picture if you want. But keep it to yourself!! I do NOT want to see a kid sucking on a tittie. I do not care how “natural” it is, I don’t want to see it. I also do not want to see a picture of you taking a crap. That is natural too, but I DO NOT want to see it!!

cool and collected

June 27th, 2013
6:57 am

Only if my upper thighs could be photoshopped out of the picture. LOL.


June 27th, 2013
7:41 am

Breasts are for feeding babies??!! I thought they were put there for a different purpose. Dang, who knew?


June 27th, 2013
8:18 am


June 27th, 2013
10:15 am

@ A Reader – This blog article is about “personal” photos for yourself and asking whether you would take one. It is not really about public posting of breastfeeding photos. Theresa asked if “mothers” wanted a photo of themselves. She didn’t say anything about posting on Facebook, etc.