15 Powerful Photos for World Breastfeeding Week 2021: 'I Celebrate My Body, My Boobies, and My Perseverance'

Moms around the world shared intimate photos showing the reality of breastfeeding.

It's World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), a campaign that happens every year from August 1-7. First started by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in 1992, the goal of WBW is to encourage moms to breastfeed and spread the word about the benefits of nursing.

One way people around the globe honor WBW is by sharing their own breastfeeding journey. Everyone's journey is different, and the thousands of posts hitting social media this week show just that. Some posts highlight the joys of breastfeeding, some highlight the struggles—and some do both.

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Jessy David of Brisbane, Australia, was upfront about the highs and lows of nursing: "What a journey of up's and down's breastfeeding my babies has been. I'm so lucky to be able to have such a wonderful experience with both my kids (although painful and exhausting at times) I wouldn't change it for the world đź’ž," she captioned to her breastfeeding pic.

Other moms opened up about their own breastfeeding experience. While each post is unique, they all have this in common: they are vulnerable, they are honest, they are powerful—and they were all published in the name of normalizing breastfeeding.

Each year, WBW has a theme. This year, two themes emerged. One is about how "breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health, and wellbeing of all," while the other focuses on the need to protect breastfeeding worldwide. That means making sure breastfeeding accommodations are made for nursing moms, and that they're not subjected to judgmental stares.

This is important, because breastfeeding in public is not always considered acceptable. Zoe Allamby of Orlando described a negative experience she recently had in a doctor's waiting room with her daughter: "I started to [breastfeed] with her burp cloth covering her face and I couldn't help but notice the stares I got as I began to feed my baby. At first I thought I was being paranoid but I looked up and down several times and saw the repeated uncomfortable stares :/. Why is it so taboo to do something that women were made to do."

Other moms shared more positive experiences, including Laura Bingham, from England, who said that while "breast feeding twins is in no way dignified as I have to get my whole chest out," she hasn't had "any nasty looks when breastfeeding in public."

Since "we often hear all about the negative side to nursing in public," mom Rosie Robinson "really just wanted to share the positive as well." When her son, Jonsi, got hungry at the store, Robinson asked an employee if she minded if she fed her son. The employee's response: "You never have to ask to feed your baby, a fed baby is a happy one. You feed if you need to." "In that moment I just felt so pleased, she understood!," Robinson wrote.

One mom, Delaney, took to Instagram to celebrate herself. Her husband did the math and figured out that Delaney had breastfed their son for 764 days and produced 13,752 oz of breast milk in that time. "Every breastfeeding journey deserves to be celebrated. If it's one day, one month, one year — breastfeeding is work and your efforts deserve to be acknowledged!," she wrote alongside a picture of her feeding her son.

"I am so proud of myself for honoring my body and providing for my son in the way that felt best for me. So today I celebrate me. I celebrate my body, my boobies, and my perseverance...," she continued.

Terri-Ann Michelle has a message for women who are "new to this whole breastfeeding thing" and might be having a rough go of it. The mom of three got real in her Instagram post, writing about how breastfeeding led her to have bleeding, cracked nipples that were "almost bad enough that I thought one more feed might make them simply fall off."

"It's not supposed to be easy. And you're not a failure. It's a marathon you could have never trained for," she wrote. "Whatever stage of this journey you're on, just know one thing - You are incredible."

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