Who doesn’t love a glimpse into the past? These old breastfeeding images from around the world prove that not only is breastfeeding a tale as old as time, whipping a boob out – even in public – isn’t a big to-do, nor has it been for a long time.
We partnered up with My Brest Friend because they too are timeless (and badass) by supporting breastfeeding over 25 years with their award-winning nursing pillows. They are the #1 choice of lactation consultants and millions of moms in more than 35 countries around the world. (Mine got me through many a long night feeding.)
Breastfeeding Images Throughout History
It turns out that breastfeeding photographs were popular with young mothers in the Victorian era.
I feel like this woman is running down the list of bullshit chores she has to do later that day. This was taken sometime in the 1850s.
No doubt this kid peed on her.
It’s amazing to see that those little grins are timeless.
Just imagine the buttons they had to deal with. This photo is from 1898.
This is from a card in France. It reads: “starting from the baby’s birth, good health for the mother prosperity for the baby.”
That sweet gaze.
Mothers nursing their babies while waiting their turn to see the doctor in Paris, France 1946. Check out the wimple that nun is rocking.
I always love when people get their knickers in a knot about breastfeeding in public and that it’s obscene somehow.
Up until recently it was the only way to feed a baby. If you couldn’t breastfeed your baby, or pay someone to do it, your baby probably didn’t live – that’s why formula was such an unbelievable and important breakthrough. Back then, breastfeeding a baby was pretty common place and boobs weren’t as much of a big deal. Frankly, ankles got more gasps.
Everything in this photo is beautiful, although the latch might make some lactation consultants twitchy.
Proof that the mom bun is also not new to the mothering scene.
I feel like this toddler was given the blue cup instead of the requested yellow cup.
That thousand yard stare tells me this kiddo is about 9 seconds from falling asleep on the job.
Yes, we are focusing on her breastfeeding but I can’t get over how great her skin looks.
Check out the sweet baby feet.
Tandem feeding for the win!
Dorothea Lange took this photograph while employed by the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) to raise awareness of impoverished farmers. This is one of six photographs taken of Florence Thompson. On being the very famous “Migrant Mother“. She was 32 years old in this photo.
Just a couple of guys not giving a shit that a woman is feeding her baby. Guess men can keep it together after all. Who knew?!
The only person who seems even mildly perplexed is the young boy in the far right of the photo. I like to think he’s more concerned about her stockings rolling down.
A mother waiting in the Chattanooga bus terminal to travel from Louisville, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee on a Greyhound bus.
This photo was taken in April 1946 of a French woman nursing her baby whose father is American GI.
The only information I can find about this photo is that it is from an “outdoor meeting” in the 1940s. Once again, nobody in this photo seems to care or notice that this woman is breastfeeding.
Woman breastfeeding her child in Vélez Rubio (Almería) in 1937 during the Spanish civil war. I feel like all the women in this photo get shit done.
Beautiful bonding moment. This photo was taking in Greenville, MS, in 1937.
Romany woman breastfeeding in Spain 1951. High boob still gets the job done.
This is a wonderful screengrab from an episode of Sesame Street where Buffy Sainte-Marie explains breastfeeding to Big Bird. “You know, that’s nice”. Yes, it is Big Bird, yes it is. You can watch the whole thing here.
Bedouin Arab nomad woman nursing her baby in 1974. Love the little hand hold.
At first I thought this was a cool photo from the 40s. Turns out it’s from 2014 and it’s a thing in Russia to dress in uniform and take pictures of it. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. I think it’s still a cool photo.
Multitasking at its finest!
If this walk down memory lane has shown us anything, it’s that breastfeeding proudly and publicly isn’t new.
It’s not immodest. It’s not rude. And it’s not by any stretch of the imagination some agenda being pushed by youngins’. Plus, it is legally protected by both federal and state laws in all 50 states. So there you go.
Which of these old breastfeeding images was you favorite?
Let me know in the comments!
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