A simple app is giving mothers across social media a beautiful way to celebrate the beauty of feeding their babies and watching them grow. Across social media, moms are posting colorful, photoshopped images of their babies being fed, connected to their mothers by a painted tree filter and its system of superimposed, roots. These tree of life breastfeeding selfies will empower any new mom, regardless of how she nourishes her baby.
Cassie Cornell, whose lighthearted Instagram handle is @keeponboobin, came up with the idea and was interviewed by Dr. Milk founder and pediatrician Dr. Laurie B. Jones on her blog recently. It all started with Cassie wanting to create a piece of art to commemorate her own first year of breastfeeding, according to Dr. Jones. She started trying to design a flower overlay for her own breastfeeding photo to symbolize her "blossoming" into the child, Cornell explained.
“I was able to add a flower to the photo but didn’t really like the way it looked," Cornell told Jones. "That is when I decided to try a tree instead. I gave it a kind of artsy look through the app’s many filters they offer and just fell in love with it. I had originally intended to take a professional photo with my camera and do this all on the computer but I really loved what I had created.”
Cornell shared her own breastfeeding image among her breastfeeding support group and the idea became popular among other mothers who wanted to create artsy "brelfies," or breastfeeding selfies. Then other moms caught on and used the filter for bottle feeding, and even tube feeding, according to Today.
"The photos are such a special thing to show the bond between baby and mother," Cornell said. "It's amazing to watch my child grow through nourishment provided solely by my body...a movement like this makes me want to keep going through the hard days, odd stares and lack of drinking."
The tree of life breastfeeding images have taken off across social media. The app PicsArt recently even posted this video on how to use its tree of life filter yourself:
"Women are using the PicsArt app to upload their nursing photos and overlay an image of a tree and apply colorful Magic effects, which use artificial intelligence to recreate photos in realistic artistic styles," Megan Harmon, director of content at PicsArt explained through a spokesperson, in an email to Romper. "The resulting effect is pretty striking." (A step-by-step process on how to use the app is listed on this breastfeeding blog.)
Here are just a few of these amazing tree of life breastfeeding images being shared on social media right now (you can see many more on Cornell's Instagram feed):
(Cornell told Dr. Jones the midnight overlay is the most popular.)
So go ahead — snap your own picture or even use a picture you've had around for years and add your own photo to the thousands of tree of life breastfeeding images on social media, whether you're using a more unique filter like the ones on Cornell's feed, or using the crafty, creative PicsApp. Let's keep this beautiful movement going.