Swimsuit model applauded for breastfeeding baby on the runway



Swimsuit model Mara Martin surprised audiences on Monday when she took to the catwalk breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter.

Martin was one of 16 models selected by Sports Illustrated for Miami Swim Week. However, when she appeared on the runway modeling a glittering gold two-piece bikini, just as many eyes were on her infant daughter, Aria. Sporting a cloth diaper, a green glittery wrap, and bright blue headphones, Aria was being breastfed and carried by her mother down the catwalk. Sports Illustrated captured video of the model heading back down the runway, smiling down at her daughter, and at the cameras, to a cheering audience.

The video has been viewed of 360,000 times since Monday, and the numbers keep rising. Martin posted on her Instagram about the reactions to her catwalk, saying, “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!” But Martin also wanted to shine a light on the other models who were also breaking down barriers, such as breast cancer survivor Allyn Rose and Paralympic gold medalist Brenna Huck. “Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!” Martin said in her post.

Just as Martin had hoped would happen, her walk down the runway with her daughter is inspiring women, with many reflecting on their own experiences as working mothers. Others were just happy to see Sports Illustrated celebrating a use for breasts outside of titillation.

Some were made uncomfortable by Martin’s actions, not because of the breastfeeding itself, but because they felt it looked like a publicity stunt. But others pointed out that when a baby needs to feed, they need to feed, and the world doesn’t stop for parents to feed them.

Overall, the response to Martin and baby Aria seems to have been positive. Martin thanked Sports Illustrated in her Instagram post, saying, “THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!!”

H/T NBC Washington

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey

Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently working out of St. Paul, Minnesota. They have bylines at The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, and Bullet Points. Follow them on Twitter @thedialogtree