When Vanessa Simmons launched her breastfeeding awareness campaign, Normalize Breastfeeding, she never expected it to become as successful as it did.
But this week -- only a year after launching the campaign -- the San Diego-based mother-of-three actualized her dream of creating an official holiday in support of normalizing breastfeeding. Now, June 27 is the first International Day to Normalize Breastfeeding.
The success of her campaign alone, which uses art and photography to tell stories, was not enough for Simmons.
So, she sent a proclamation request to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer in hopes of establishing an official holiday celebrating breastfeeding and, in turn, motherhood.
Simmons told Huffington Post,
This day is about mothers committing to nourish their children with breast milk — whether nursing, pumping, [or] donor milk — and the public committing to supporting them whenever, no matter how long they choose to breastfeed. My vision is to remove the taboo of public breastfeeding from modern society.
After gaining approval from Mayor Faulconer, the Normalize Breastfeeding team members reached out to other cities; they planned promotional events throughout the country, and Simmons also plans to travel internationally to promote the cause.
Simmons will continue to use photographs of the breastfeeding mothers she encounters in her travels for her campaigns -- something she committed to doing since day one.
You can see some of the inspiring portraits below, and learn more about Normalize Breastfeeding here.