There is power in the image of a breastfeeding mother.
It can attract stares in as much as it can avert eye contact. It can spark a debate about sexuality and social norms.
Or it can inspire another mother to breastfeed her child. It can encourage another mother to keep on breastfeeding despite the physical, emotional and social hurdles.
Or it can tell people that breastfeeding is normal. It is an act of infant feeding and not an indecent display of flesh. It is a relationship between mother and child. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is something that should be done boldly.
That is the message of #GoBreastfeedBoldly — a movement that encourages mothers to breastfeed boldly with pride and without shame.
It champions breastfeeding in public and body acceptance, which go hand in hand. Women who feel confident about their bodies are likely to breastfeed in public without hesitation. Women who see their bodies as vessels of nutrition as opposed to sex objects are likely the same women who offer their breasts to their babies at the first sign of hunger or discomfort.
Sadly, many women feel insecure about their bodies, more so when they became mothers. I was one of them.
We live in a society that has a singular definition of a beautiful body — a flawless, hour-glass figure. Thin women are considered poor. Fat women are considered hilarious.
I’m guessing that, like me, moms long for the firmer, slimmer version of themselves. They pine for bellies that would be flat when they skipped meals, breasts that defy gravity, and skin free of stretch marks.
It’s time to realize that the mirror is not our enemy but our friend. Each time we look into the mirror, we must see the stories behind the “flaws.” They are symbols of life. Our children’s lives.
Every stretch mark must remind us of how our bodies made way for babies growing inside our bellies.
Our pregnancy scars are symbols of hours of labor that sometimes turn into life-threatening surgeries.
Our breasts are testament to how we have provided our children good health, nutrition and comfort beyond our wombs.
Through breastfeeding, we give life. What is there to be ashamed of?
The launch of #GoBreastfeedBoldly would not be possible without the generosity and dedication of our collaborators, to whom we are very thankful—photos by Apy Arevalo, video by Javinchi Studios, hair and make-up by Bambi de la Cruz, Iza Salazar and Adele Lopez. Much love and gratitude to you.
Now, with honesty, we reveal how we feel about our bodies and the reason why we #GoBreastfeedBoldly. We hope that you join us in this movement.
“I used to feel insecure about my body. Now I feel real. This is the body that God has blessed me with and I’m grateful for what I have. This is that body that gave birth to my son who is healthy and strong.
I breastfeed boldly because it is the best for my child and also to encourage mothers to embrace the joys of breastfeeding because it is the best way to nourish their children.”
Kate Delos Reyes, 34, breastfeeding 3-year-old Bryce
“I didn’t think about breastfeeding or even getting pregnant. Becoming a mother enlightened me to what I can really do—from a carefree single teenager to a mother who can provide the nourishment and the knowledge of what is normal for a body.
I breastfeed boldly because I believe it is my body telling me what is normal, what is meant to be. I want to be able to share this with my kids and even with my grandkids because there will be an imprint when you breastfeed a child. I want the generation to be how I am with my children, which is nurturing.”
Cheryl Chan-Wong, 37, mother of two, currently breastfeeding 2-year-old Sabine
“Before I became a mom, I felt a little doubtful about my body. I’ve always felt like I look like a teenager. I’ve always felt like I’m not capable of becoming a good mom. But now I feel empowered, strong and capable because I know that I can do it. I just did.
I breastfeed boldly because I know that this is how God designed mothers to be. I’m just doing what is normal and what is natural.”
Armi Shyr Baticados, 31, breastfed Mayumi for 3 years, breastfeeding 2-month-old Sinag.
“Before I became a mom, I was pushing my body to the limit because I was competing as a gymnast. Being a mom brought in a different kind of challenge because my body is constantly being pushed to the limit to nourish my children and to do something for myself also.
I breastfeed boldly because I want it to be normal. I hope that this can be used to inspire other women to look at breastfeeding as normal and natural since it is God-given.”
Claire Mogol, 44, breastfed eldest for 4.5 years, breastfeeding 11-month Sinag
“Before I became a mom, I felt that my body was perfect. I felt fantastic because I get to do whatever I want. I love outdoors so I go diving, go to the beach and I get to wear my two-piece bikini during that time. I feel proud of what my body has endured. I won the battles of having four pregnancies, a miscarriage, two types of childbirth. My body has successfully endured it and I’m proud of what it has gone through.
I breastfeed boldly because I believe that I have the responsibility to protect, promote breastfeeding and definitely support it. If I don’t walk the talk then it’s useless.”
Bing Guevara, 40, mother of two, breastfeeding 3-year-old Rafa
“I felt awkward. I was very self-conscious. I was not very comfortable in my own skin then. I grew up a lot after I had kids. Now I feel confident about my body.
I breastfeed boldly for love. I love my children and I want to give them the best start in life.”
Katrina Ambion, 27, tandem breastfeeding 2-year-old Liane and 2-month old Azuri
“I am a thin and flat-chested gal and it never bothered me at all… until I got pregnant. I worried if my barely 32-A cup would be filled with enough milk for my baby. When I became a mom, I felt amazed because I am capable of giving milk. I am able to nourish my baby even if my physique is not the “ideal” physique. I had doubts about my body but, gazing into the eyes of my baby boy snuggled up in my bosom, I now know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made for this.
I breastfeed boldly because I know that it is the most nutritious food for my baby and it’s available. It’s normal and the natural way for mothers to nourish their children. There should be no shame at all in feeding our own babies. Now I can breastfeed boldly whenever and wherever we can.”
Vanessa Liwanag-Librero, 35, breastfeeding 1-year-old Aidan
“I used to be sickly. I was 90 pounds when we got married. Seven weeks later, we found out that we were pregnant. I was on antidepressant meds then, which I had to stop abruptly. I feel healthier now. I try to have a healthier lifestyle not only for me but also for my baby. I feel that my body is doing what it is designed to be so I feel powerful.
I breastfeed boldly because I think it is the way that our bodies are designed to be. It is the purpose of our breasts to produce nourishment for our baby.”
Kaice Cristobal-Romero, 33, breastfeeding 3-year-old Kate
How do you feel about your body? Do you breastfeed boldly?