Tuesday, June 14, 2011

International Breastfeeding Symbol with a Toddler Twist


During Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2010, Christy, mom of three, found that the official International Breastfeeding Symbol (created by graphic design artist, Matt Diagle, in 2006) did not quite reflect the realities of nursing her older baby at the time. With a "gold medal in gymnurstics" her now 26-month-old son did not fit the image of a baby nursing in arms. Desiring a fitting image for her Facebook profile picture during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, Christy propositioned her friend at Skribblings by Skratte to come up with a more telling depiction of toddler nursing. "When I first asked him, I wasn't sure how he would react to the request," Christy said. It was a bit different from Skratte's typical images, but in the end "he thought it was really cool."

The International Breastfeeding Symbol was chosen by Mothering Magazine in November, 2006, after more than 500 artists submitted their versions of a symbol. It came upon the heals of Mothering staff noticing an "image of a baby bottle on an airport sign announcing the location of a 'parents lounge' [that] infuriated us and got us thinking: Isn't there an international symbol for breastfeeding?" Too often modern icons used to symbolize baby-friendly locations depict artificial feeding or soothing means, such as bottles and pacifiers. The International Breastfeeding Symbol would fill the gap for a universally accepted and understood symbol for locations where nursing moms are welcome to meet the needs of their little ones.


Daigle, a stay-at-home-father, freelance graphic designer, and cartoonist, said that his breastfeeding wife and son were the inspiration behind his creation. He designed his original icon in the style of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) signs frequently displayed in public settings. They are those that must be able to clearly relay ideas regardless of language or the ability to read or hear. A steadfast advocate for on-cue nursing (anytime, any place), Daigle told Mothering, "As a profoundly deaf individual, I know how important it is to communicate through visual means. This is why I wanted my design to communicate clearly and quickly that breastfeeding facilities are offered or nearby." Find more from Daigle at The Graphix GuyM.Diagle Toons and read more of his behind the scenes story on the symbol here.

Skratte's alteration of Diagle's design (signed over to public domain) was perfect for Christy, who is now expecting her fourth child. It is symbolic of her youngest son's favorite nursing position, and one that breastfeeding mothers the world over recognize. The feedback on this image came as a welcome surprise to Christy, who says she does not know many other breastfeeding moms in her area, and fewer still who nurse their babies past one year. "I thought I would just post it as my Facebook pic and that would be the end of it. We live in a very rural Midwest area, in a very small town. When I first posted the picture, most of my local friends just said, 'I don't get it...' so I got really (rather stupidly) excited when I saw it was getting so many positive comments, and that so many other parents understood what it meant."

Truly, this nursing position and the fun antics of toddler gymnurstics are ubiquitously recognized on a global scale. As so many will attest in the Joy of Nursing Toddlers, hardly is there a mother who naturally feeds her baby for a normal duration of time that doesn't also find herself as the underside of some milk-making jungle gym at one point or another. Christy is thrilled that despite cultural, language, and even parenting differences, mothers around the globe relate to this toddler icon, "I think that's awesome! I just wish that more of them lived closer to us!"

If you'd like to purchase a poster of this toddler breastfeeding image, or check out more of Skratte's work, visit Skribblings by Skratte on etsy. Christy says, "He is a really great guy, and a very talented artist."

World Breastfeeding Week is scheduled to take place globally August 1-7. 

Several peaceful parenting moms and dads had fun altering the toddler image a bit more to place on advocacy shirts for themselves and their little ones. You can find some of their creations available in the breastfeeding section at MadeByMomma



















Breastfeeding Advocacy Shirts & Onesies Available at Made By Momma


First ever BREASTFEEDING MAGNET SET by Mama's Felt Cafe!

More Breastfeeding Symbols with a Twist!

To add yours to this collection, send to DrMomma.org@gmail.com


By Monica:


Creator Unknown:


By Stephanie:




By Nyssa:


By Cynthia and Danelle:


From the Valentines Day Nurse-In:


Resources for nursing mothers (books, sites, articles) linked on the Breastfeeding Resources Page.

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31 comments:

  1. This is so my life right now, and my baby is only 10 months old.

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    1. Ditto here. He likes doing deep knee bends while nursing. Kind of defeats the purpose of eating if you burn it off at the same time, lol.

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  2. Wow, Christy!!!

    There are a few places in town that display the original design. The back of my van also sports it :)

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  3. I thought I was the only mama who utilized this nursing position!

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  4. LOVE!!! Perfect representation of toddler nurslings.

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  5. haha this is totally my 9 month old... I call it the "keg stand"!!

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  6. Too bad it doesn't spin, haha!

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  7. do they make one with a twiddler? :)

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  8. If the baby's head was on the opposite breast, that would be my daughter when I lie down and nurse. She clearly wants to suffocate me by sprawling all over my face. :-p

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  9. This is AWESOME! I'm cracking up at lunch and my co-workers think I'm nuts. Clearly they've never nursed a toddler ;)

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  10. I've never let him (20 months) do this because it seems uncomfortable and painful. We usually nurse in the face to face position, or even in the football hold still, and of course, side by side lying down. But I think its great for those who don't mind it, and I love the design!

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  11. Love it! That is so my toddler

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  12. Regarding the t-shirts at Made by Momma - is there any way they could include a shirt with a deeper/wider neckline to make it easier to nurse in? (Yes, I'm one of those mommas who "whip it out" from the top of the shirt - so much easier for my size F breasts).

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  13. Haha, fantastic variation of that sign! If I am godwilling given children I will definetely nurse them and for a long time too. I was nursed until I was 20 months old and my sister's oldest until she was 22. That is not extremely long really but both my mom and sister got a lot of comments on nursing so long. Here in Sweden nursing a child under 1 year is totally OK but nursing after that is seen as a bit strange.

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  14. It would be super cool to see a tandem nursing one with both the infant and toddler. :)

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  15. Hahaha... Yes. Now we need a tandem nursing one. Thats me.

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  16. was hoping to see one with the "underarm" hold for while you are walking around...or two of them while you are walking around with the legs flailing out to the sides (sort of like the top one, add legs, heads supported). :)

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  17. The alt design is also for nursing after a cesarean!

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  18. i absolutely love them!

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  19. Love these! My kid does that too but in a million different ways/positions!

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  20. Thanks for this! Love the twin "gymnurstic"s one near the bottom, boy do I know that one, haha! Is it okay for me to grab this to use for a profile pic?

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  21. love it! I thought it was only my baby who does this kind of gym lol (she has never really lay quietly while nursing, always twisting and turning and climbing....)

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  22. Wow this is great for you and Skratte. He does some really great work, huh? I hope you sell a lot and both make good profits from it.

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  23. To the last Anon ~ items at Made By Momma are sold at cost. There is no profit made, but it is a great location for parents to 'gather' items they have made or requested in the past. An easy, inexpensive way to get quality items at the lowest price. We have fun shopping there too. :)

    And yes, Skratte and the others who made alternative logos did an amazing job!! TALENT!!

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  24. Wow! Mine does this and I thought we were the only ones! After all, I had never seen another toddler, or even an older baby, nursing before. I figured I just had a super active little guy. This just goes to show you how we have lost generations of communal knowledge on breastfeeding, and how important this online community is.

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  25. Oh I want the technicolor one with the single toddler gymnurstics design!

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  26. These are simply wonderful! It is so nice to find other like minded families! My now (and still-sometimes-nursing) four year old and (still-nursing-many-many-times-each-day) 2 year old are/were both active gymnursers!

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  27. Hi! I would like to print some shirts and rompers. Can I use the logo? It's really cute and cool!

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    1. You are welcome to print for yourself, Rem. The variations were created by and for Made By Momma: http://madebymomma.spreadshirt.com/breastfeeding-C46979 All the items there are sold at-cost for advocacy purposes (no mark up) and the graphics are done freely by mothers as well. But if you are printing merely for yourself and your family, you're welcome to use their work.

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