Lithuanian Chicago resident Ivette Ivens is a firm believer in women having the right to breastfeed publicly and that it should not be stigmatized the way it has been.
Although breast feed is highly encouraged and promoted worldwide by health organisations, it is often discouraged and looked down upon when it takes place in public.
Ivens hopes that these images will help to normalize breastfeeding and encourage those who disapprove to view it from a new perspective.
Ivens has just released a photo book entitled Breastfeeding Goddesses, showing stunning images of women doing what comes naturally to them, breastfeeding their children.
Ivens’ goal with the photo series was to show how women really feel when they are breastfeeding their children.
The settings for the shoots are usually outdoors alongside nature, although one shot was taken on a busy street, to capture and highlight the campaign of “anywhere, anytime.”
Ivens’ explains she creates a fairy-tale theme so that, “These images depict the way each woman feels while nursing: pure, beautiful, saintly and celestial.”
It is Ivens’ belief that women should have the free right to breastfeed wherever and whenever their child needs fed.
Ivens fed her older child until he was just over three-years-old and still breastfeeds her 10-month-old baby and nurses them wherever she chooses whether it’s churches, parties, farmers markets or top designer stores.
Ivens’ opinion is also that women should be free to choose how long they see fit to breastfeed and they should not be given rules on what society deems acceptable.
The photographer’s opinion is that a mother and child are capable of making that decision between themselves and strangers have no right to make that decision, as they are not a part of that bond.
Ivens’ hopes that raising awareness and promoting breastfeeding in public will encourage people to stop questioning an instinctive aspect of parenting and inspire people to be less critical.
Ivens’ goal is to give mothers photographs that are meaningful and which they can treasure forever. She explains further, “My favourite part of my work is to feel. If you feel it, if you connect, magic happens.”
The images shown here along with others that are published in Ivens’ book were recently part of an art show in Chicago which was entitled, “I breastfed my toddler: Art that explores the beauty of extended nursing.” The show celebrated the women who choose to nurse their babies for longer than is usually deemed normal in society.
You can visit Ivens’ website here.