Megan Soto is a mom of three and a photographer. Because of this, she was inspired to take photos of breastfeeding moms for the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project–which she did for the past three years. One part of the project she didn’t anticipate was realizing how important it is to include dads.
Soto told The Huffington Post why, stating:
“I was going through my images from the project with my husband last year―trying to figure out which ones to share when he pointed out that none of the images had any men in them. Sadly it didn’t cross my mind until he mentioned it, but I knew instantly he was right and dads needed to be included in the images going forward.
Breastfeeding mothers face a number of obstacles as it is ― supply issues, latch issues, cracked nipples, pumping issues and the list goes on. The odds can be stacked against us as breastfeeding mothers and adding in a spouse who isn’t supportive can be detrimental to a breastfeeding relationship. Men encouraging their partners in breastfeeding―both in the home and in public―is a huge piece in the breastfeeding puzzle.”
That’s not to say that women can’t successfully breastfeed without their partner’s support. But it certainly poses unwelcome challenges when both parents are not on the same page.”
Here are our favorites from her project:
“Growing up I was taught that we are made without flaw and created just as we should be. It wasn’t until Megan and I had our first child that this understanding was stretched and given its full meaning. My wife was now a mother. And she, created without flaw, was made to care for our child by nursing. This idea was simple. Getting used to her nursing in public however, was something completely different. Three kids and three PBA projects later, and I think this idea is finally becoming clear to me. My wife, and millions of moms just like her, are searching for something very simple: the opportunity to naturally care for their children without judgement, without discrimination, and without discomfort. A chance to be mothers just the way they are meant to be. I think it’s just that simple.”
-Milton, Megan’s husband
“After seeing how much my wife enjoys the bonding experience with our baby, I can honestly say how proud of her I am, and so glad that she is my babies’ mommy!'”
“I consider it absolutely normal. Even our pediatrician has been extremely supportive that we have breastfed our kids. To add to this, breastfeeding in public. That in itself has become a topic for discussions, sometimes heated. I believe it is a choice for mothers to do what is best for their kids. It’s actually such a peaceful sight to see an infant nursing as compared to a cranky infant throwing a tantrum. My philosophy is pretty simple, don’t like it… move along!”
“I don’t care if my wife breastfeeds in public, and I will defend her to anyone who challenges her. Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult, and she has made some amazing sacrifices to be able to breastfeed our children. Due to our daughter’s stomach issues, my wife has been on an elimination diet for over two months. That’s two months and counting of no soy, gluten, eggs, dairy, citrus, alcohol, nuts, and caffeine. And with our son, she gave up dairy and caffeine while breastfeeding him for two years. I’m less worried about someone seeing her breastfeeding than I am trying to find something for her to eat. It’s incredible what she has done to feed our kids, and I don’t care where she does it. Our kids are thriving because of her strength and dedication. A happy FED baby is all the matters. If you don’t like it, don’t look!”
“When Cynthia first told me she wanted to breastfeed, I was pretty taken aback. At that point I had never really been around it. I was programmed to believe that formula was the norm, and the thought of it made me very uncomfortable. She was very adamant about doing it though, and I was not going to stand in her way. I remember one of the first times she fed in public. I remember being anxious. I remember people staring and giving looks of disapproval, including family members. I also remember my wife staring down at our newborn while she was feeding her and looking at her with such happiness and pride. At that moment, all my anxiety surrounding breastfeeding melted away. I was now an advocate for my wife and would support her any way possible through this journey. It isn’t always easy for her either… I’ve seen ups, downs, all arounds. My job at this point is just to be as supportive as I can and reassure her that she can do it, and that she choose the right path. I’m so proud of her… I feel proud to be able to do my small part in supporting my wife, and I hope more people are able to find some clarity and see breastfeeding in a different light.”
See the rest of her photos here.