150 mothers will come together for one photo shoot—but it's about more than just a picture.
On August 5, breastfeeding mothers in Wichita, Kansas, plan to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by posing for a picture—but we're not talking about a small-scale get-together. In fact, more than 150 women will converge in the city's downtown area to take a massive group photo as they feed their babies. The women will also pose for individual shots with their children.
Tiffany Schmidt of T. Marie Photography will shoot the event, which is free for its participants. "It’s taking a stance on normalizing breastfeeding,” Schmidt told The Wichita Eagle of the event's purpose.
But it isn't just about changing public perception; it's also about showing Wichita's breastfeeding moms they are not alone. “Breastfeeding is not glamorous," Schmidt said. "It’s hard work, and it’s neat to have proof of your nursing journey. It’s a selfless act." Schmidt understands this firsthand: She struggled to nurse her first child, and admitted that the experience made her feel "like a failure."
“A lot of postpartum mommies have hormones and feel alone," Schmidt said. "This is kind of a fun way to bring a bunch of women together.”
As difficult as breastfeeding can be, the benefits are enormous: Breastfeeding can protect against SIDS, strengthen the mother/child bond and ward off common childhood illnesses. The act certainly deserves to be celebrated—which is exactly what Schmidt and the women who will attend this event are planning to do.
Schmidt organized and photographed the same event last year, when more than 60 women showed up dressed in white to pose for a group photo (pictured below, alongside details for this year's event).
While last year's photo was ethereal, set in a grassy field, this year's is set to appear more urban and will take place near Wichita's Union Station. Participants will have their photos sent to them at no charge and Schmidt will have two other photographers on hand to help with the event.
Schmidt told Fit Pregnancy the idea to hold last year's event came to her while she was in the shower. On the day the photo was taken, she was just two weeks postpartum. "It was just a way for me to celebrate my nursing journey," she shared with us. "I'm a birth photographer mainly, so I see a lot of births and breastfeeding. I think it's really important for women to try and it is a hard journey. Last year's [event] was a great support. It really bonded everyone together and really created a tribe. A lot of women feel embarrassed to nurse or feel alone. It was really empowering to meet these women and hear their stories—and I don't think you should charge for that so I just decided to do this for free."
Anna Mogoi, a mom who attended last year's event, spoke to The Wichita Eagle about the value of this sort of gathering, saying, “There are people that are breastfeeding older kids, there are people that have new babies, there are people that are tandem breastfeeding where they have one that’s 3 years old and they have a new baby or twins. There are all kinds of different experiences and people just get through it all. You might not agree with things that every single person does, but you just support them, and let them parent the way they want to parent. It’s important these days to let people have autonomous nature and do what they feel is right for their family. We have too much judging in today’s society.”