The WPA included posters on breastfeeding in the 1930s. Image: Public Domain

The WPA included posters on breastfeeding in the 1930s. Image: Public Domain

Biologically, breastfeeding is how you feed your baby. Procedure: Have baby. Baby feeds from the breast, first on colostrum and then, about three days later, on breast milk. It’s always the right temperature, it’s always available, and the body produces the right amount. Simple, yes?

For some women, no, but for the majority of women, breastfeeding is a great option. Breast milk is an almost magical substance, both for feeding the baby and for helping the mother’s body recuperate after pregnancy. There are also so many other reasons to breastfeed, many of which aren’t commonly known. The website Maternity Glow has a fantastic list, complete with itemized references, detailing 21 reasons why breastfeeding is beneficial, if you’re able to do it.

In today’s pro-formula culture, though, some people think that seeing a nursing mother in public, or even at a gathering, is obscene or in some way negative. This wasn’t true historically, as these 25 images from history show. The images show unapologetic mothers nursing their babies. (Not defiant moms, just moms doing what they do. No one is fazed by it. Check out the snarky captions.)

Sure, breasts are sexual objects, but first and foremost they are sources of nutrition for babies. The more we hide that fact, the less acceptable breastfeeding in public will be.

Me, I’m beyond my breastfeeding years, but both of my kids got ample amounts of time breastfeeding. And sure, I did it in public. I did it at parties. I did it at game nights. I was discreet, but I didn’t feel the need to cover up with a blanket. T-shirts are drape-y enough for this purpose. And avoiding eye contact with people works like a charm. You don’t make it an issue, and most others won’t either.