Model Struts Down The Runway While Feeding Her Baby And The Internet Is Cheering

Diply 17 Jul 2018

People have a lot of opinions about how babies should be fed. A lot. But I'm not here to talk about the pros and cons of breastfeeding or formula. That's a discussion for another time.

What I am here to highlight is an awesome story about a mom. This time, for putting herself out there to help normalize breastfeeding so others can feel more comfortable feeding their infants while also living their lives.

Mara Martin is a model from Monroe, Michigan. 

Instagram | @_maramartin_

Recently, she was picked as a top 16 finalist in the Sports Illustrated Swim Search. As part of that honor, she got to walk the Paraiso x SI Swimsuit runway on July 15, 2018.

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Mara is also a new mom with an adorable five-month-old girl named Aria.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

So, like any new mom with things to do and a dream to pursue, Mara took Aria along with her to the Florida show. She didn't intend to make headlines.

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When the time came for Mara to strut her stuff, she didn't do it alone. Aria came with her, happily breastfeeding.

Frazer Harrison | Getty Images

While her mom looked great in a golden one-shoulder bikini, Aria wore coordinating green bottoms over her diaper and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help stay calm.

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By the next morning, the story had hit the internet and Mara and Aria went viral.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

Hers was only one of the incredible highlights of the show, which also included plus-size models, a cancer survivor with a double mastectomy, and Paralympian snowboarder Brenna Huckaby.

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"Wow! WHAT A NIGHT!" she posted the next morning alongside a screenshot of just one of the headlines.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

Walking in a Sports Illustrated runway show had been a lifelong dream, but she'd never expected to make history at the same time.

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According to MJ Day, a SI Swimsuit Editor, the action wasn't planned ahead of time.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

The start time had been pushed back and it was Aria's dinnertime, so Mara had sat to the side to feed her.

"When I was talking with the girls backstage prior to the show beginning," Day explained, "I saw that Mara's baby was sleeping and peacefully nursing. I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse."

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Mara was surprised and excited by the idea, according to Day.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

"I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are. For me, I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months."

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Unsurprisingly, there was some backlash, with people accusing Mara of doing it as a stunt, or even forcing her baby to wait for dinner until it was time to walk.

Twitter | @LauraSpencerOne

But mostly there was an outpouring of cheers and support for working to normalize breastfeeding in public.

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Sure, it may seem like a silly thing to get excited about, but the more we see women breastfeeding in public, the less noteworthy it'll become.

Twitter | @Inverseswirl

And that's the point. If a model can breastfeed and still look great, so can any woman.

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"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!" Mara said on Instagram.

Instagram | @_maramartin_

But she was also quick to point out her belief that the other women on the runway were more deserving of headlines.

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"One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country, one woman had a mastectomy, and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself."

Instagram | @_maramartin_

"Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"

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"Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!!"

Frazer Harrison | Getty Images
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