Happy World Breastfeeding Week AND Awareness Month, everyone! This year, breastfeeding parents welcomed a brand-new unofficial spokesperson to our club: Ashley Graham, who very quickly went from model to model breastfeeding mom (and also still model) when son Isaac was born in January. Seriously, her social media accounts are a treasure trove of photos proving how committed she is to nourishing and bonding with her child — and the way she normalizes doing so in the public eye is cause for celebration.
As we dive into our admiration of Graham and her superhero body, we also want to pause to acknowledge that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and every parent should feel empowered to make the choice that’s right for them and their child. For Graham, though, breastfeeding appears to be just one more part of the parenting journey that she’s so openly sharing with her fans and attempting to destigmatize, just as she shared naked pregnancy photos, too.
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In the August digital issue of Elle, Graham talked to fellow mama Kristen Bell about the body changes pregnancy brought. “When I look at my new stretch marks and the changes that my body went through, it reminds me that, as women, we’re all superheroes,” she said. “I’m always reminded that our bodies were built to do this. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to give birth, but I didn’t realize it until afterward. … At first [my body’s changes] felt devastating, and then when I met Isaac, I said, ‘No, this is exactly what every woman has talked about for ages. This is not just a battle wound. This is something that has changed my life forever, and I’m going to celebrate my new body.’”
Husband Justin Ervin’s photo shoot of that body gave us evidence of its power, so even if she’s not technically breastfeeding in it, we’re going to start here:
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Aug 3, 2020 at 9:29am PDT
Just chillaxin’ by the pool? Sure, but baby Isaac looks anything but but relaxed as he lunches — just look at that iron-first grip he has on his mama’s boob.
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Jul 25, 2020 at 7:10pm PDT
Here, Graham is pumping so she can give her babe the “breakfast of champions.” Also note her multi-tasking mama skills as she checks her email too.
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Jul 10, 2020 at 8:53am PDT
We had no clue that breastfeeding could look downright majestic until she shared a photo (also shot by Ervin) of herself feeding Isaac in the middle of her aunt’s farm in Nebraska for Vogue.
“My husband, Justin, my son, and I have been out here on my aunt’s farm—Being here means so much to me. This is where I would come every summer to see my family and be with my cousins. The most important thing has been remembering to ‘fear not.’ Turn your TV off, get off social media, and remember not just to think positively, but to speak it,“ Thank you so much for featuring me among so many amazing creators @voguemagazine ❤️ 📸 & 🎞 by @mrjustinervin
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Apr 23, 2020 at 2:37pm PDT
Her public breastfeeding journey began when her son was two weeks old, and they introduced baby Isaac on her YouTube show, Pretty Big Deal.
I remember holding Isaac for the first time and telling Justin, “Now we’re family forever” I have so many reasons to be grateful; all of the love and support from this amazing community, an incredible husband, and a beautiful baby who has opened my eyes to just how amazing this world really is. @mrjustinervin and Isaac, thank you for being my favorite @prettybigdealpod guests so far ❤️
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Feb 4, 2020 at 1:15pm PST
Isaac was off-screen napping for most of the show, but when he finally woke up, she plopped him on her boob and let him nurse away. Though the camera was on Ervin and away from Graham for the latch-on process, the fact that the edit was so quick makes us a wee bit jealous of how easy it seemed.
The following week, Graham shared a “coffee and milk” outing, as she and Isaac enjoyed their morning beverages at a Brooklyn café.
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Feb 13, 2020 at 2:43pm PST
The model was less glam after that, when she showed us what breastfeeding looks like for her at home. “Multitasking Sunday,” she wrote of a pic of herself in bed and on her phone as Isaac nursed. This is all such a natural extension of Graham’s willingness to bare all to her fans.
A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Feb 23, 2020 at 12:13pm PST
Graham reached a new milestone in breastfeeding later in February, marking the occasion with a video on her Instagram Stories.
“First pump in an Uber,” she wrote. “Ever so slightly awkward.”
If Graham wasn’t being sarcastic about that “ever so slightly,” then she’s even more impressive than we thought, because pumping is the worst. Maybe it’s just me, but without the snuggling cute baby in hand, it feels more than slightly awkward to strip down and attach a plastic contraption to your breasts. And yet, that’s precisely how working moms like Graham can keep the breastfeeding journey going while not cutting into the other things that need to get done. When we see moms like her pulling out the pump in a car service, we can all feel so much better about doing the same.
A version of this story was originally published on February 26, 2020.
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