Candice Swanepoel Has Been More Shamed Over Breastfeeding Than for Posing Topless

Candice Swanepoel spoke out on Instagram about the stigma of breastfeeding in public. (Photo: Getty Images)
Candice Swanepoel spoke out on Instagram about the stigma of breastfeeding in public. (Photo: Getty Images)

Breastfeeding shame is not exactly new — protests, bizarre controversies, and even a Donald Trump-ism have been shining a light on the stubborn sexualization of this natural act of feeding for years now. But nothing highlights the issue more than becoming a new mom yourself, as Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel has discovered recently.

“Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children,” she wrote in a Sunday afternoon Instagram post alongside a close-up shot of her infant boy, Anaca, nursing at her breast. “I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I’ve done in the name of art..?”

Swanepoel, 28, goes on to note, “The world has been desensitized to the sexualization of the breast and to violence on TV…why should it be different when it comes to breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is not sexual it’s natural- Those who feel it is wrong to feed your child in public need to get educated on the benefits breastfeeding has on mother and child and intern on society as a whole.”

The model’s post has already been liked more than 438,000 times and gathered more than 6,300 comments. And although there was some back-and-forth about how women who breastfeed should have “dignity” by doing so in private or with the use of a nursing cover, the vast majority were supportive.

“Amen sister. Don’t ever be ashamed to FEED your baby,” noted one fan. “The people who are offended need to grow up and realize a mother feeding her baby is the most natural thing in the world. The WHO [World Health Organization] recommends children be [breastfed] for at least two years for optimal health and brain development. If they don’t like it, maybe they should be the ones asked to leave.”

Victoria's Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel walks the runway in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)
Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel walks the runway in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

An 18-year-old praised Swanepoel’s post, telling her, “You posting this makes a very great statement bc it’s not only coming from someone who people all around the world already know but it’s coming from a Victoria secret model — someone who many girls look up to …”

Another supporter said, simply, “A model worth following.”

Still, Swanepoel is not the first model to get in on the breastfeeding-in-public conversation. Nicole Trunfio appeared breastfeeding on the cover of Elle Australia in 2015 and tweeted it out with the hashtag (#NormalizeBreastfeeding), followed by Caroline Trentini on cover of Vogue Brazil earlier this year. Before nursing became cover fodder, Olivia Wilde breastfed her son Otis for a 2014 spread in Glamour. And, even earlier, Gisele Bundchen shared an Instagram pic of herself nursing her 1-year-old daughter Vivian while getting into hair and makeup; Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova shared a nude photo of herself nursing her son; Miranda Kerr did the same with a pic of herself feeding her own little Flynn Bloom; and heiress Lydia Hearst posed with a baby at each breast for a much-buzzed-about Equinox ad at the start of 2016; all became viral hits, just like Swanepoel’s new contribution.

“Thank you for this empowering message,” noted yet another one of her fans on Instagram. “You are right — breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world [and] no mother should feel ashamed of doing it.”

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