Portland woman wants to normalize breastfeeding in public

FILE - Breastfeeding. (Aurimas Mikalauskas / CC BY-SA 2.0)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) - Andrea Leoncavallo, a local photographer, is using her craft to end the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in public.

A mother at a Connecticut Target store says she got called "disgusting" for breastfeeding her baby in public last year. In 2015, another mom was told she couldn't breastfeed at a local Marshall's, which led to a group of mothers gathering at the store for a "nurse-in" to show their support.

Leoncavallo is spending her time photographing nursing moms for a project called "101 Breast places to Feed Your Baby in Portland."

The idea came to her when she visited Kenya and saw a billboard in Nairobi that included a woman's nipple.

"I was, like, staring at it because I was, like, that would never be anywhere in the U.S. because we never want to see anybody's nipple in that way," she said. "If we see it more and if we practice seeing it, it's not going to be a big deal. Little kids are going to grow up ... if it's in the media in a positive way, they're not going to be so shocked when they see it in their park or their coffee shop, which is why I wanted the photo series to be in public."

She blames our culture for sexualizing breasts, instead of celebrating what they're intended for: feeding children.

"I always admired people I saw doing it in public without covering up because I don't think you have to. I mean, if you want to, that's one thing," she explained.

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