I have recently had the pleasure of working with Sarah Murnane, founder of the Australian Breastfeeding Project (ABP) and, having been a breastfeeding in public Mum, I thought this was a story I wanted to share as well as a stunning gallery of photographs from the project.
I had a chat with Sarah to ask her all things about this fabulous project and where the idea started.
What is the ABP?
It is an initiative to create awareness of the beauty of breastfeeding, generate acceptance that prolonged breastfeeding has several health benefits and take action to eradicate the negative stigma associated with breastfeeding in public. I started a national tour to capture a photo series of new mums around Australia breastfeeding their infants as a collective to make a stand for the cause.
I have a passion for capturing the most precious moments of motherhood, and it all started with a photo shoot featuring 20 mothers dressed in white breastfeeding their children on the Breamlea beach. I didn’t realise at the time it would start this wonderful movement for women around Australia.
What is it that drives you to do this project?
I truly believe that breastfeeding is the most beautiful, natural act a mother and her baby can experience. So I wanted breastfeeding mothers to be able to see the beauty I see. I want them to have this moment and their bond preserved in time forever. Memories quickly fade and I want mothers everywhere to have this memory captured forever.
I also think there is still stigma surrounding breastfeeding in today’s society so wanted to do something to help minimise that. Sharing photos and posts through social media means people will become use to seeing a breastfeeding woman. Too often I hear stories of breastfeeding women being disrespected by being scoffed at, frowned upon and flat out told breastfeeding is “disgusting” or “inappropriate.” It is not!
What is the future?
I want mothers everywhere to feel comfortable when nourishing their child. I want to live in a world where women and men alike encourage mothers to feed their babies, whenever and wherever they see fit, without a second thought. I look forward to living in a world where a mother can feed her infant and passers by are able to make eye contact with her and not give a second thought to her breast being used to feed her baby. Where it’s normal for women to be surrounded by support of her breastfeeding choices. And every single one of us can celebrate our journey, without being shamed. I want women to feed their babies anywhere they are without being scared of hurtful or negative comments. I want to empower breastfeeding mothers and the next time they sit down to feed their baby where ever they may be they know that they have the support of thousands.
The ABP is growing every day, now with almost 14,000 Facebook followers and 11,600 members of our private group which we see as a type of sisterhood. No matter where we are feeding whether it is alone or in a group we can always guarantee that we have our sisterhood of breastfeeding mothers cheering us on, supporting us and backing us up the whole way. Together we are stronger than we realise. Together we will make a difference.
I am also excited to say I now have a team of trusted photographers all around Australia that I have hand-picked because I know they are amazing and treat the project and mums as if it was their own. We have sessions currently running in:
Adelaide, Armidale, Barossa Valley, Blue Mountains, Brisbane, Canberra, Central West NSW, Geelong, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Norther River Region NSW, Orange NSW, Perth, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Tamworth, Tasmania, Toowoomba and Yarra Valley/ Dandenongs.
If you would like to hear about our next session in your area please sign up to the mailing list (they sell out super quick): http://australianbreastfeedingproject.com.au/register/
Any last words for people?
Next time you see a mother breastfeeding her child and feel the need to say something, make eye contact with her, smile and simply tell her what an amazing job she is doing. She will remember it, it may be the first time she gets the courage up to feed in public, YOU just might change her whole breastfeeding journey.
For more information you can find the ABP on Facebook:
Story by Belle France from Belle Photography Canberra
Belle’s ‘yellow brick road’ blog series will share the journey of others, from those who have taken the road of self-love through to inspiring people who show us the power of empathy, kindness and helping others.
Belle refers to her body as ‘cuddly’ and her man loves it. Belle is a mad Oz fan, mumma bear of 3, and loves to shoot people in beautiful settings.