Why The Elle Breastfeeding Cover Photo Is A Big Deal

Why The Elle Breastfeeding Cover Photo Is A Big Deal

The June issue of Elle Australia features model and mum Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding her son, Zion. The photograph is due to appear on the subscriber edition of the magazine. The gorgeous photo shows the model in designer clothes, nursing her four month old son.

The breastfeeding cover wasn’t pre-planned, but happened naturally when four month old Zion needing feeding partway through the shoot. When those working on the shoot saw how beautiful Nicole looked while breastfeeding Zion, they asked her to move back onto the set, so they could continue shooting.

The magazine’s editor in chief, Justine Cullen, told Fairfax media the cover was a “celebration of motherhood and style”. Nicole Trunfio told Elle Australia the photograph represents a “special moment where my worlds have collided.” When the model saw the cover, she is reported to have teared up at the beautiful image.

Why The Elle Breastfeeding Cover Photo Is Such A Big Deal

The cover might have left Nicole with a tear in her eye, but it’s not just an important cover for her. This is a big deal for mothers and babies everywhere. In an era where breastfeeding photographs are routinely banned from social media for being ‘offensive’, this cover goes some way towards normalising breastfeeding. Breastfeeding isn’t offensive. It is normal, natural and beneficial to both mother and baby. The magazine cover goes someway to dispelling the widely held view that breasts are sexual things that need to be hidden away (unless they’re on the front page of men’s magazines to make profit… that’s totally fine); they are for feeding babies, and there is nothing more natural than that.

Breastfeeding should be something we see regularly, and yet instead it is hidden away behind closed doors, under breastfeeding covers and, horrifyingly, even behind bathroom cubicles. This resistance to breastfeeding in public means that many new mothers simply don’t know what breastfeeding should look like, or how to do it, and this can lead to problems when their babies are born. Normalising breastfeeding gives more women a chance to see and understand breastfeeding before their babies are born.

Some women give up breastfeeding, or don’t start in the first place, because they feel so anxious about breastfeeding in public. Others wonder if their breasts are even capable of making enough milk, which may be harder to believe if they saw more women breastfeeding, more often.

By shooting this empowering front cover, Elle Australia is showing women just how public breastfeeding can get. If Nicole Trunfio can breastfeed on the front cover of a magazine, then surely breastfeeding at the cafe down the road from your house can’t be too difficult, can it? If women can breastfeed their babies whilst wearing very expensive designer clothes and having a camera aimed at them, then it’s probably ok for you to breastfeed your baby on a park bench.

The stunning cover shot is powerful because it breaks down stereotypes. Sadly, there is still a stereotype of the type of woman who breastfeeds. Some people still hold the view that ‘only hippies breastfeed’, and while that view is falling out of favour as people realise just how important breastfeeding is for babies and how many different women breastfeed across the world, this photo may go someway to convincing a few more people.

BellyBelly contributor, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and wonder woman breastfeeding expert, Renee Kam, says: “Breastfeeding covers are important to demonstrate that women are able to combine many aspects of their lives such their jobs, their sexuality and their motherhood including breastfeeding.”

Nicole Trunfio is a working mother, she is beautiful and empowered, and now she is a public advocate for breastfeeding. On her Facebook page, she posted the following status:

Nicole Trunfio Breastfeeding

Nicole’s description of her world’s colliding is important, because it shows that women can breastfeed their babies and still focus on their work, their identity and the things they love. The photograph captures a moment in time where a strong, successful woman paused from her work to take care of her baby. She is glamorous and stylish, and though she is the first to admit that that’s not how she looks when she’s breastfeeding at home (breathe a sigh of relief all you die-hard pyjama fans), this photograph proves that motherhood can be stylish. ‘Mumsy’ isn’t used to mean striking, stunning or empowered, and yet this photograph proves that this is exactly what mothers are.


When you’re caught up in the daily grind, breastfeeding is a mixture of soggy breast pads, snotty nipples and hours spent trapped under a feeding baby. It can take up to eight hours a day and can sometimes feel more like a chore than something to be savoured, but this photo shows how beautiful breastfeeding can be.

If it encourages a few more women to snap a breastfeeding selfie, or even book a photographer to catch the moment for them, so that they have something to look back on in the future and say ‘wow, look at me, I looked so beautiful breastfeeding my child,’ then that can only be a good thing.

So, if you’re reading this as a breastfeeding mother, make sure you capture your breastfeeding journey on film before it comes to an end. The photograph will serve as a powerful reminder of your strength and determination, as well as the love you feel for your child.

Photo credit: Elle Australia




Fiona Peacock is a writer, researcher and lover of all things to do with pregnancy, birth and motherhood (apart from the lack of sleep). She is a home birth advocate, passionate about gentle parenting and is also really tired.


  1. Thank you!!!! I love this article. I am also a fashion model, designer and NEW FIRST TIME MOTHER! 🙂 I feel so happy and confidant now that I see a fellow #supermodelmom that also Breast feeds!
    I get funny and weird looks from strangers on the train whenever I am beast feeding my newborn in public.
    Way to go #motherhood!!

  2. Sorry, but this type of shot sexualises the process. I have breastfed both of my children (still feeding my two year old) so I am not prudish about that, I just think these images are appropriate within certain contexts.

    1. Sorry but how is this sexualising? Women need to feel they can openly breastfeed anywhere and the more this is seen (hopefully) the more it will be accepted as simply the norm. If a mother in the public eye is promoting this then great! Such a shame that in the western world this is even up for duscussion..

  3. This is beautiful. I am a breastfeeding mama of 8 months and I have taken the pledge to #normalizebfing . Breastfeeding needs to be normalized and this helps so much!

  4. “The breastfeeding cover wasn’t pre-planned, but happened naturally when four month old Zion needing feeding partway through the shoot. When those working on the shoot saw how beautiful Nicole looked while breastfeeding Zion, they asked her to move back onto the set, so they could continue shooting.”

    And they also asked her to stop breastfeeding and strip the baby naked? I’m calling nonsense on this. It’s a beautiful picture, I love it, the public needs to see more breastfeeding…but I’m pretty sure someone wanted to hop on board the Gisele Bundchen train, and this was NOT spontaneous.

    1. Yes it was… If you look through the other pics from the shoot the baby was naked in every picture. So she didn’t strip him for this he was just already naked.

    2. A lot of women nurse their babies without clothes because the skin to skin contact promotes bonding and milk flow.

  5. Totally agree with Sarah. Whenever I breastfeed my baby I also stand up, strip her naked, adjust my coat to a jaunty angle and then pout agressivley with the wind in my hair. For gods sake! I am very keen that more women feel they can breastfeed in public – I feed my daughter whenever and wherever she needs it. But don’t tell me this has anything to do with spontaneity or wanting to promote breastfeeding. It’s headline grabbing. Nothing more. Which is a shame really.

    1. I couldn’t agree more with you ladies.
      Great to see women/models publicly breastfeeding but this is not normalizing, it’s not spontaneous and of course it’s about grabbing attention but not for the right reasons.

  6. breastfeeding is essential for a healthy baby. I have 10 children have been breast feeding for 17 years. I also work and have some helpers. I wouldn’t change anything in my life. I hope that every one see this as what it is a natural process. Natural is always best. Seems like the Hippies were right about a lot of things.

  7. i love how they bring in the “it’s ok to have breast on men’s magazines”. As if men give a shit about public breastfeeding photos. It’s women that do this to other women. Moms against moms. It’s pathetic. Leave us out of it.

  8. Soooo Elle Australia – why is the cover with the breastfeeding mother only used in the issue printed for subscribers and the cover that went out to retail outlets is completely different?

  9. All positive things, yes. But holding/breastfeeding a naked baby wearing designer clothes is just asking for trouble…

  10. It’s great that she’s breastfeeding her child, I just don’t think it belongs on the cover of a fashion magazine. I wonder if Elle would ever show an image of woman bottle feeding…..

  11. I’m not breast feeding nor am I a mother. I think this photo is beautiful. Women need to stop feeling shamed or shaming others for something that has existed since the dawn of man. It’s flippin ridiculous that people make this such a big deal. It’s healthy and natural……who cares if it was staged, it needs to be seen so the stigma can be removed and we can move on to more important matters like IDK children needing a safe world to exist in. Ladies you’re beautiful mothers.

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