It's a situation most new mothers have faced: the need to breast-feed their babies in public. But for many, including photographer Tiffany Brown Anderson, breast-feeding can result in impolite stares or off-the-cuff criticism.
Brown Anderson had just given birth to her second son when she and her husband took him to a gathering at the house of a couple they had recently met.
As the small group of parents chatted in the living room, Brown Anderson began to breast-feed. The hostess made her way across the room, Brown Anderson remembers, and "made a moment of sweet small talk with me before gingerly asking me to — wait for it — 'Cover up.'"
The comment left her feeling "like a deer in headlights." And even after Brown Anderson left the party, she realized the experience had "disturbed me in a much more profound way than I would have expected."
"I never dreamed of such an experience in someone’s home, with other moms, where I had assumed I would be safe to nourish my baby in any manner I chose," she told Refinery29 via email.
Brown Anderson's right to breast-feed her child is also a legal one in Nevada and 48 other states where statutes explicitly allow women to breast-feed in any public or private place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The act of breast-feeding is also exempt from public indecency laws in 29 states, including Nevada.
Brown Anderson decided to channel her anger in a positive way. She wants to use her work to force the world to "talk more loudly about public breast-feeding." In March of 2015, she began photographing women breast-feeding their children in public — and sometimes iconic — places. One particularly striking image features more than a dozen moms breast-feeding near the famous "Welcome To Las Vegas" sign.
Brown Anderson said the juxtaposition of nursing moms in a city where breasts are often on display for other reasons was important.
"[It's] a place that sells sex and manufactured beauty everywhere, but where nursing in public is still a regular issue," Brown Anderson said.
Now, more than a year into the project, Brown Anderson is looking to connect with more mothers to feature as they "feed their babies in public spaces throughout their daily lives" across the United States and around the world.