In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, moms across the internet are sharing heartwarming nursing photos on social media. This effort to both celebrate and destigmatize conversations on breastfeeding has featured many a happy mother sweetly bonding with her baby. However, such is not the case for every breastfeeding mama out there. To shine a light on the less glamorous side of the situation, one mom posted a breastfeeding photo on Instagram revealing a very different reality than the one we may often see depicted in photographs.
Photographer and mother Angela Burzo posted her breastfeeding photo to Instagram earlier this week. The image shows Burzo with tears streaming down her face as she is breastfeeding her newborn daughter Aylee. “I love seeing all these beautiful women in their beautiful nursing clothes smiling down at their babes as they lovingly look up back at them hand in hand while breastfeeding away,” Burzo writes in the photo’s caption. “That is not my reality, right now that is.”
Breastfeeding is often described using words like “beautiful” and “natural.” While yes, it is both of those things in addition to being just straight up miraculous, breastfeeding is not always easy. Mothers’ struggles with breastfeeding can run the gamut of both physical and emotional barriers. Maybe baby isn’t latching. Maybe baby isn’t eating enough. Maybe being a boob-on-demand is kind of exhausting for a mom. Burzo’s photo and story is a healthy reminder of the full reality of breastfeeding.
Burzo’s caption details the ups and downs she’s experiences while nursing Aylee.
This is real & as much as I want to stay strong and be the soldier I feel I can be I cannot hide the struggle that is BREASTFEEDING. Whether she is not latching on properly, whether I am not producing enough milk to keep up with her demand, whether my nipples might not be adequate, whether we confused her with having to give her a bottle after pumping....whatever it may be it has been an emotional & painful struggle. Today has been full of no naps, sucking and not eating, crying and frustrated parents. This photo depicts my reality of this Breastfeeding journey so far & that first latch & the pain I endure. Keeping it real.
Given the physical and emotional barriers a mother already faces if she chooses to breastfeed, it frankly seems cruel that she’d have to face any social barriers. However, breastfeeding in public remains controversial. Mothers have been asked to “cover up” in churches, on airplanes, even on their social feeds. Recently, mothers shared their pumping stories using the hashtag #IPumpedHere, further highlighting why public breastfeeding acceptance is so important.
Women like Burzo who share their experiences are helping show society the full scope of motherhood and further destigmatize breastfeeding as a whole. “Thank you to all those women coming to my rescue even the times I didn't reach out,” Burzo continues in her Instagram post. “All your kind words & encouragement have been a blessing.” Burzo's courage and honesty has certainly inspired other women to do the same.