Yesterday marked the first day of World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, some influential women have been speaking out to raise awareness for this year’s virtual Breastival campaign.
Included is Sabina Higgins, who called on the department of health to start advertising the “vital importance of breastfeeding” whilst speaking at the opening of the festival.
“Breastfeeding protects children from infections and saves lives. It supports emotional bonding between mothers and babies along with other mental health benefits,” she said.
Higgins also called for GPs to be trained to promote breastfeeding in Ireland and spoke about the rates of breastfeeding around the country, which are some of the lowest in the world.
Although it is recommended by the World Health Organisation, only 45% of women continue to breastfeed after leaving hospital in Ireland, compared to 90% in Norway and Sweden. Higgins called the figure “pathetically low”.
Laura Whitmore also marked the beginning of the campaign, taking to Instagram to share a rare personal snap of her new baby.
“I get a bit anxious talking about my child on this space as I feel so protective but I wanted to talk about breastfeeding,” she wrote alongside a picture of her feeding her baby at a restaurant.
“I know so many new mums don’t get the support they need like the encouragement of feeding in the golden hour after birth and that it’s ok to feed in public without feeling you should hide away.”
Thehost told her 1.5 million followers that she has been exclusively breastfeeding for over four months and has been supported on set.
“Feeding your baby is your number one priority. I’ve exclusively breastfed for over four months so far - it’s free and no washing up! I’ve also been supported, having my baby on set or being able to pump for the odd feed. Breast milk is full of everything your baby needs. It’s magic stuff!”
Whitmore isn’t the first high-profile woman to post a picture of herself feeding, with A-listers like Kate Hudson, Amanda Seyfried and Giselle Bundchen often posting snaps to help break down the stigma around feeding in public.
Breastfeeding is awesome. Formula is awesome. Feeding your baby is awesome. Not awesome? Judgement.— Amanda Seyfried (@AmandaSeyfried) July 5, 2017
Likewise, Chrissy Teigan has openly told her Twitter followers about her breastfeeding struggles, while Cardi B gained praise for feeding in her 2018 ’Money’ music video.
That same year, Rachel McAdams posed for a magazine shoot with a breast pump, while a model strutted down Rihanna's Savage x Fenty runway at London Fashion Week wearing a hands-free pump.
Here are just a few of other women trying to break the stigma.
Stefani has long been normalising breastfeeding, posting this picture with her son Apollo back in 2014.
The No Doubt singer has spoken to the press about breastfeeding all three of her children, taking her son Zuma on tour while he was still feeding. She candidly told one newspaper that she didn’t want him to ‘quit’.
“It felt like a total rejection. It was really hormonal, and trying to stop in the middle of the tour was insane."
Proud mama Pink also posted pictures online while feeding her son Jameson, captioning this shot "Hiking makes us thirsty."
In 2016, after publishing a snap with her daughter Willow for Breastfeeding Week, the singer was blasted by some for “oversharing”.
However, there were far more women applauding the mum of two’s bravery.
“Mother Nature is deeply invested in breastfeeding and we are uniquely designed to feed our young,” Candice Swanepoel wrote on Instagram to celebrate Breastfeeding Week three years ago.
The post was accompanied by a stunning photo of the model with her baby Anacan.
“I’d like to honor the serious challenges that can make it difficult and nearly impossible for some women to manage breastfeeding. These are the result of policy gaps and a culture that doesn’t honor women, the sacred birth process, motherhood or women’s bodies.
“Many women give up breastfeeding after the first few weeks postpartum due to pain, discomfort and no paid maternity leave. Support and community is key.”
Since giving birth to her first son Sylvester last March, Emily Ratajkowski has been proudly documenting her experiences of motherhood online, posting multiple breastfeeding pictures on her Instagram account.
“If it seems like I’m always breastfeeding it’s because I am,” she wrote alongside this snap.
The Loki star showed off the real secret behind her Loki costume last month, modelling the hidden breastfeeding zippers on her Instagram page.
“It’s not easy being a working Mama,” she said. “Christine Wada designed Sylvie’s costume and had the genius idea of adding concealed zippers for easy access so that I could use my hands-free pumps easily and nurse my baby between takes. It’s little (big) things like this that made it possible for me to do my job AND be a parent.”
Shay Mitchell has spoken very openly about all of the struggles and triumphs she’s faced since giving birth to her daughter Atlas Noa in 2019.
This photo, shared on Instagram, was one of the most talked about, with over 3.2m likes and a host of comments from fellow Hollywood actresses like Hilary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens.
The actress captioned it “Breast friends” and hit back against many of the nasty comments that flowed in after she posted the picture.
Actress Hilary Duff wrote this candid post when she finished breastfeeding her daughter Banks in 2019.
“Pumping at work sucks. I had zero down time and am usually pumping in a hair and make up trailer while four hands work to get me ready for the next scene with lots of other people around. Even if I had the luxury to be in my own room, it’s not even considered a ‘break’ because you have to sit upright for the milk to flow into the bottles,” the mum of three said.
“With all of this complaining, I want to say I enjoyed (almost) every moment of feeding my daughter...for six wonderful months. But I needed a break. I was going to break,” Duff wrote.
“With the stress of a dropping milk supply and a baby that was getting bored or not caring about nursing when I was available to. I was sad and frustrated and feeling like a failure all of the time. When really I’m a bad ass rock star. Moms get high on feeling like superwoman because we are! Doing too much, because we can!”