Mums are sharing the experience of breastfeeding in artistic style, uploading embellished #TreeOfLife images to Instagram as they celebrate the mother-baby bond.
A fresh perspective
The standard (yet gorgeous!) breastfeeding selfie – aka #brelfie – is getting a make-over, with Tree of Life imagery being artfully layered over the usual mama-baby snaps.
The Tree of Life is a cross-cultural symbol of strength, nourishment and transformation.
The #TreeOfLife #brelfie images apply this nurturing symbolism to real-life mothering – a place where strength, nourishment and transformation are daily considerations.
The movement is going viral, with thousands of #TreeOfLife photos popping up across Instagram. The shots are created using apps like PicsArt.
The images depict a similar theme and shared experience, yet are uploaded by a diverse range of mums across the globe and they all have different things to say about their baby-feeding journey.
They’re part of a push to promote the normalisation of breastfeeding and are sparking deeper conversations about the challenges and triumphs of feeding babies – by breast or not.
“Normally I am a very private person when it comes to breastfeeding because it’s been such an intimate experience. Countless late nights and quiet moments stolen away have become my safe place too. I’m not just nourishing my child, I feel like I’m nurturing my soul,” one mum posted alongside her #TreeOfLife image.
“When Nikae was a month old & still latching. Now Nikae is 8 months old & whenever I try to stuff my boob into her mouth she’ll scream like no tomorrow. So I’m stuck with pumping & god knows how much I hate pumping. Can’t believe this baby has grown so much, surviving just from drinking breastmilk my body produces for her. Life’s amazing the way it is.. no matter how tough it is. Being a mom is life changing & I’m so proud to be her mom,” another wrote.
As you can see, the images are triggering lots of different feelings and reflections.
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Normally I am a very private person when it comes to breastfeeding because it's been such an intimate experience. Countless late nights and quiet moments stolen away have become my safe place too. I'm not just nourishing my child, I feel like I'm nurturing my soul. I am so grateful my daughter nursed until she was 2.5 and now her brother at 19 months is still going strong. Honestly, I don't know how I'll react when he finally is done since he is my last baby. Part of me will be happy but the other part will probably ugly cry. Until then I can celebrate his sweet face and our bond with this amazing artistic opportunity to share our special place. #fulltermbreastfeeding #treeoflife #nursingmom
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I never posted a picture of me breastfeeding the boys because it was rare that they latched on. I wanted to bf so bad and having preemies definitely made it more difficult. Breastfeeding was certainly harder than I ever imagined and the exhaustion that came with having twins was extreme. I exclusively pumped and bottle fed my milk and added in formula for extra calories. This #treeoflife trend that's gone viral has really touched me so I created one with one of the few magical moments captured by my husband. My goal is to breastfeed my next baby (in a couple years) and I'm excited to master it. This photo though, captures it all and makes my heart so full ❤️ Oh and if this photo grosses you out, kindly get the fuck off my IG 😉 #breastfeedingtwins #mamasmilk #breastfeeding #fedisbest #twinmom
Fed is best?
While mums are quick to applaud the shots, others are keen to point out that not everyone is able to breastfeed, and that these photos can trigger feelings of sadness and disappointment in some women.
“While I adore all of these #treeoflife photos popping up all over IG, because they are gorgeous, it also stirred up all those emotions I worked so hard to come to terms with on my breastfeeding journey. I tried for three+ months to produce and provide for my baby. I took shots of every nasty thing possible. I was a slave to the pump. I cried more often then I should have. Those wasted tears and energy was time I could’ve spent just cherishing my little one. Here’s to all the mamas who couldn’t, or didn’t breastfeed. Can we all just remember #fedisbest!!” One mum posted.
Perhaps you’d like to join the #TreeOfLife conversation or share your own photo with the world?