It’s 2014 and women are still being stigmatized when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Just a few weeks ago, a Delta Airlines employee informed a customer that she could not breastfeed on a flight without a cover. The interaction between the customer and the representative created a firestorm on social media.
In an effort to demystify and educate the public and dads about the importance and normalcy of breastfeeding, photographer, Hector Cruz has created the “If I Could, I Would” photo series for his Project BreastFeeding campaign.
Hector’s own education, regarding the controversy and issues women often face surrounding breastfeeding, came after his wife Nicole gave birth to their first child, and she faced challenges breastfeeding. He wanted to play an active role in the process, and thought if only he could breastfeed, he would.
“When it comes to breastfeeding we think it’s none of our business, that it’s not our duty, but that’s so not true. Women need to see, and not just hear that we fathers support them and are just as invested in the breastfeeding relationship as they are,” Hector explains in a video about the new series.
“Women need to see, and not just hear that we fathers support them.” According to a recent guide issued by the CDC, Hector’s correct, men can play an integral role in supporting breastfeeding women. The report says that women are more successful at nursing when fathers support them, it also finds that dads who know more about breastfeeding are better able to encourage their partners.
The photos, intended to bring men into a the conversation, have become so popular that Hector is now starting a nonprofit dedicated to educating dads about breastfeeding. It’s his hope that education will aid in the destigmatization of women who choose to breastfeed, particularly in public.
Not everyone is a fan of the project, some critics have called it “patronizing”, and “annoying”, but others find Hector’s intentions admirable for bringing attention to a much needed issue.