Photo by Alyssa Milano/Instagram
Celebrities often give peeks into their private lives on social media, posting selfies or shots on set or in their closets. On Monday, actress Alyssa Milano posted an especially personal photo on Instagram, in which she is shown breastfeeding her almost eight-week old daughter, Elizabella, who was born on September 4. “Ah, the joy of suckling!” Milano captioned the touching photo, quoting author Milan Kundera’s “Life of Elsewhere. “She lovingly watched the fishlike motions of the toothless mouth and she imagined that with her milk there flowed into her little sone her deepest thoughts, concepts, and dreams.”
The black-and-white snapshot was met with overwhelming support from fans, receiving more than 20,000 likes. “Thank you for being bold and showing that breastfeeding is normal, and it’s ok to do it!” writes awilliams0415. “This makes me want another baby!” says kellogs_78. And, from apadilla2824, “Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Nursing is a beautiful thing! 9 months in and love the bond. You are a great example for others out there.”
The 41-year-old actress, who also has a three-year-old son Milo with husband David Bugliari, has fully embraced motherhood, tweeting about the difficulty of working out after giving birth (“First time working out since having the baby (4 weeks ago). Dear lord. Everything hurts.”) and the pains of pumping (“The breast pump needs to be totally reinvented. Something less primitive and more innovative.”). On September 30, she announced on her website that she is leaving her starring role in the TV drama Mistresses because filming was relocated from L.A. to Canada. “It’s with a heavy heart that I have decided that I can’t relocate,” she said. “I have two babies under 4. Being a mother and wife comes first and I just cannot uproot my children and separate the family by moving away.”
Milano is not the first celebrity to publicly share a breastfeeding photo. In July, actress Jaime King posted a photo in which she is nursing her son in bed. “I feel like now that I’m a mother, I realize that there’s a huge schism out there; that women feel judged because of what they choose to do and how they choose to feed their child. Why should we hide it?” she told People. In December 2013, supermodel Gisele Bundchen Instagrammed a photo with the hashtag #multitasking, pictured simultaneously getting her hair, nails and makeup done while nursing her daughter Vivian. And for her September Glamour cover shoot, new mom Olivia Wilde posed in heels and a designer dress while nursing son Otis. “Being shown with Otis is so perfect because any portrait of me right now isn’t complete without my identity as a mother being part of that. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing. I don’t know, now it feels like Otis should always be on my breast,” she told the magazine.
While many fans are supportive of these public displays of breastfeeding, other moms feel like they’re another source of pressure, and one study has found that celebrity nursing shots don’t do much to change the taboo of public breastfeeding felt by many mothers. “[These photos] felt like one more reminder of my inability to nurse,” mom Alexis Kowalksy told Yahoo Parenting. “Look! Gisele is not only gorgeous, but she can breastfeed!”
Still, Milano has said that the she’s all about support between moms rather than judgment, and that social media helps. “The best thing about Twitter is the interaction,” she said in a 2011 interview with Best For Babes. “I can ask a question about anything at all and get a good variety of opinions from everyone. When I tweet about breastfeeding or baby stuff in general, it feels good knowing that women are there to support each other. The mommy club is pretty special and I love being a part of it.”