Breastfeeding is often celebrated as a beautiful and natural thing, but the truth is not everyone can nurse this way. That’s why birth photographer Nikke Whitman decided to start a new project to prove that bottle feeding is beautiful too.
“Both breastfeeding and bottle feeding are incredibly beautiful, but I felt in photography the bottle side had not been portrayed that way,” the Graham, Washington photographer said. “I wanted to help change that, as well as educate people on why a mom would choose to bottle feed.”
Whitman was inspired by fellow moms who chose to bottle feed, either as a personal choice or because of circumstances out of their control.
“For some, the choice of feeding their babies rather than letting them starve is a very real scenario,” she wrote on her blog. “I was surprised to find out some of the reasons women choose to bottle feed that I had never before considered.”
Whitman’s best friend Brittnae, for instance, can’t breastfeed because of a medical condition called Insufficient Glandular Tissue. This means her breasts don’t have proper milk-making tissue. Other reasons why women can’t breastfeed include wanting to share bonding time, mastectomy and low pain tolerance.
The photographer hopes her project will help eliminate the shame some women feel when bottle feeding.
“I don't want a mom to feel shame for nourishing her baby via bottle,” Whitman said. “My hope is that as moms and a culture we would encourage one another in doing what is best for our babies. Whether bottle or breast, it comes down to doing what works for baby and mom.”
Flip through the slideshow below to see more from Whitman's project, "Bottle Feeding is Beautiful (Too!)."