Brelfies: The not-so-new breastfeeding trend taking Facebook by storm

The internet is abuzz with a “new” trend: brelfies. A cheeky mix of selfies and breastfeeding, brelfies are exactly what they sound like — moms posting pictures of themselves nursing their babies.

What’s so revolutionary about this? Nothing, really. Brelfie is a clever, funny term for something moms have been doing online for years — even back when selfies were still called “MySpace pics.”

Brelfies are in the spotlight now thanks to moms posting nursing photos as a form of protest over Facebook’s tendency to pull down photos of breastfeeding moms. Most women agree that censoring breastfeeding sexualizes and stigmatizes the act of feeding a baby. There’s nothing obscene about breastfeeding, so why make it a shameful or shocking thing?

Some attribute the breastfeeding selfie trend to celebrity mom brelfies, but the truth is, women have been doing this for as long as they’ve been able to post pictures online.

Some women share breastfeeding pictures in support and solidarity. “I have shared in a variety of breastfeeding and parenting groups to encourage and support other women,” says Anne Younger, a mom from Wisconsin.

Many moms seek to normalize something that continues to be characterized as shocking. California mom Janelle Hanchett says, “I share nursing photos regularly on my blog (which averages 300,000 views a month) and on social media (Instagram), for one reason: Normalize it. I only put those stats in there to make clear that I’m sharing in front of thousands of people. Literally. Don’t care.”

Others share photos in celebration. “I actually had professional photos taken when our family photographer offered breastfeeding mini session. I even posted a few on Facebook for family and friends,” says Virginia mom Stephanie Himel-Nelson. “I think it’s important to normalize breastfeeding but I also want to make sure I remember this special time.”

And some women post brelfies in good old-fashioned protest, especially when mothers are criticized for breastfeeding in public or breastfeeding without using a cover.

While everyone may be talking about brelfies right now, nursing moms know the trend is timeless. Why? Because breastfeeding is just another part of life — a beautiful activity that’s as normal to document as standing in front of the bathroom mirror before going out on the town.

The fact that people continue to criticize breastfeeding photos at all is all the more reason to continue posting them. Bravo to all the moms who post brelfies, even if they’re stuck with a really silly buzzword for now.

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