The hashtag #TreeOfLife has been a huge trend over the last few months with women sharing edited feeding photos, many with personal anecdotes about the image. Many are visually stunning and heartwarming reads.
The creators at PicsArt state: “The Tree of Life has served as a symbol for connecting all forms of creation throughout most of our history. Recounted in folklore, culture and fiction, it has often related to immortality or fertility. Today, it has become a representation of the #normalizebreastfeeding movement.”
We at ‘Don’t Judge Just Feed’ think the photos are beautiful and a wonderful way to capture and celebrate the nourishment of baby from mother. It’s sad that it is being targeted as a breastfeeding movement by the creators (and the media) as this simply adds to the breast/bottle division and judgement that exists within motherhood, with our feeding choices/needs often scrutinised and very heavily pressurised.
We love that hundreds of gorgeous bottle feeding photos have been adapted to Tree of Life photos too, again depicting a baby gaining nourishment from their parent. In our opinion, it shouldn’t matter if it’s from a breast, bottle or tube; we love seeing them all.
Natalia Sarah of ‘New Mummy Adventures’ writes a short post on her physical inability to breastfeed, how pressures in society made her feel and going public with her Tree of Life photo (albeit without the PicsArt edit!):
“This is my Tree of Life photo.
I was unable to breastfeed. I had had an operation on my breasts years ago which meant I knew I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed even before I fell pregnant (it wasn’t breast enhancement surgery for anyone curious!). It certainly made it easier to plan for bottle feeding, but I also felt the immense guilt of not being able to breastfeed Ava.
For a long time I’d heard the phrase “breast is best”, especially during pregnancy. It was on posters at clinics, in the hospitals, on disclaimers on the formula websites (which I saw when carefully researching which formula I should use….)
It’s pretty tough to hear that phrase repeatedly when you can’t breastfeed, because it means that anything other than breast milk must be “second best”, and that’s tough to accept when all you want is the VERY best for your little one.
In reality, bottle was best for Ava, because without formula, she had nothing from me.
I honestly love the tree of life photos, and if I could have, I definitely would have breastfed, but not all mummys can. Given my experience, breast milk very clearly has many benefits, but I think unconditional love is best, no matter how us mummas end up feeding our bubbas”
Thank you to lovely Natalia for allowing us to share her story.
Where you can find Natalia:
Instagram:New Mummy Adventures
If you are interested in sharing your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org