Victorian women photographed breastfeeding their babies

The trend died out in the 1940s due to the invention of the formula

Rachel Hosie
Tuesday 14 November 2017 11:09 GMT
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A mother breastfeeding a child, USA, circa 1910.
A mother breastfeeding a child, USA, circa 1910.

Breastfeeding can, unfortunately, be controversial.

Whilst it’s completely natural, normal and nothing that should be hidden away, some still believe that mothers shouldn’t nurse their infants in public.

There are lots of women - and some men - fighting to remove the stigma and taboo from breastfeeding, but it turns out many Victorian women were advocates of bringing their babies up on breastmilk, despite the general prudishness of the time.

Newly revealed photos show women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries breastfeeding their babies with pride for the camera.

The photos reveal women with their babies on porches, sitting on blocks and in rocking chairs.

The general acceptance and openness with breastfeeding is particularly jarring compared to modern society, given the Victorians were known for their strict moral code and prudishness towards things like nudity.

Due to the rise of photography, it’s thought that a trend developed of breastfeeding mothers having photoshoots with their newborns.

But in the 1940s, more women moved on to nursing their babies with the formula after the new invention was encouraged by doctors.

Across the pond in the UK and the rest of Europe, wealthy families had wet nurses so the trend for breastfeeding photoshoots didn’t catch on.

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