When mothers are still shamed, judged, and questioned for feeding their children in public, it’s great to see someone celebrating the act of breastfeeding.
New mum Isabella Volvic, from Edinburgh, shares photos of herself nursing her baby to show that breastfeeding can be glamorous.
She hopes to give other nervous mums the confidence to breastfeed in public – and to show that nursing doesn’t have to stop you from rocking standout style.
Isabella said: ‘I often hear women saying they want to feed discreetly, feel anxious about breastfeeding in public and don’t go out as a result of that, which is a real shame.
‘It probably just reflects the way society views breastfeeding mums – that you should hide away and you shouldn’t care about what you wear.
‘But it’s really important not to lose yourself when you’re a new mum as it can be really isolating.
‘It’s important to keep your identity so I wanted to show I went out with my boobs out feeding her to send out that message that we can do this and it’s absolutely ok.
‘The response has been great, people have been really lovely about it, and it’s been great having people message saying “I didn’t know I could wear this” and go out or say they’re going to try it too.”
In one photo Isabella is wearing a Boohoo ruffle organza plunge bodysuit, pink Onjenu trousers bought on eBay, a vintage Gucci necklace and pink glitter boots as she sits in a fancy restaurant to breastfeed her child.
The post racked up more than 1,000 likes, shares and comments on Facebook, with hundreds of mums praising the striking snap.
One commenter wrote: ‘That first picture is absolutely stunning, you look like the most beautiful Renaissance Venus.
‘Your hair, the baby on the boob, the cocktail in hand, it’s just perfect.
‘You should get it blown up to life size and hang it in your living room, it’s that gorgeous.’
Isabella isn’t new to wearing whatever she likes. Throughout her pregnancy she chose to skip the traditional maternity wear and go for brightly coloured vintage outfits.
Post-giving-birth, she’s still wearing fun outfits to inspire mums to have fun with fashion through pregnancy and beyond.
Isabella said: ‘I love that my style doesn’t take itself too seriously.
‘Life is full of so many awful serious things that I think it’s important for fashion just to be a bit more of a freer, more frivolous and happy kind of component to life.
‘There’s so much to be down about and fashion can really be a way to just have fun. I don’t like fashion rules, I hate that ‘oh you can’t wear this with that’ – I think that’s nonsense.
‘Pregnancy wear is the worst thing in the world, I think there’s a huge gap in the market for maternity fashion that doesn’t make you feel you’ve lost who you are
‘It’s easy to feel like that anyway as your body changes so much – everything hurts, so it’s important to feel good during pregnancy.
‘I love fashion and have been into vintage clothing for quite a while.
‘Pregnancy was quite hard on the old fashion feels, I think maintaining who you are is important because your body changes so much.
‘Postpartum you’re faced with a whole different sort of body changes which can be really difficult – including breastfeeding.
‘I love fashion, it’s my creative outlet and it’s how I feel good about myself.’
Of course, even the most brilliant kaftan doesn’t erase the challenges of being a new parent.
Isabella is keen to share the reality behind her photos, admitting that she previously struggled to breastfeed in public and feel confident in her body.
She hopes that by speaking openly, she’ll empower other mums to move past those common fears and insecurities.
Isabella said: ‘I sometimes get people giving me nasty looks and wanting to move away from where I’m sat, clearly horrified that I’m breastfeeding in public.
‘Some have asked if I’m overfeeding her and if I need to feed her there and then. As I’ve said to them – you can’t tell a newborn baby it’s not a convenient time to feed.
‘When there have been issues I’ve chosen to let it go, more because I’ve got her with me and I don’t want to get into a dispute so I just brush it off.
‘Mums don’t know when their baby’s going to be hungry so situations like this can lead to some staying at home and then they get isolated and feel sad – and it can spiral from there.
‘I know people who struggle to go out because they’re worried the baby will need feeding and people are going to look, which is really sad.
‘To any mums out there struggling I would say to just go for it.
‘Pushing through that will really help. Where I am now is so much better than where I was at the beginning when I was really anxious about going out.
‘Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out on one occasion, there have been times when I’ve been trying to feed her and she’s been howling and people were staring.
‘Expect the first few times it may not go great, you may not feel that comfortable but the more you do it the better it’ll be.
‘Don’t give up, just focus on you and your baby.’
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