CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CNN/WSMV) — A Tennessee dad’s campaign to get fathers more involved in breast-feeding has gone viral.
They are provocative pictures meant to start a conversation: men — some shirtless — holding infants as though they are breast-feeding.
Photographer Hector Cruz says it’s personal.
When his wife was pregnant he wanted to learn about caring for newborns but says he wasn’t allowed in breast-feeding classes.
So, when it came time for 2 a.m. feeding, “We had a lot of issues, and I did not know how to help. I felt frustrated, confused and helpless. I know if I felt that way, there are other fathers out there facing a similar struggle.”
That’s how Project Breast-feeding was born.
The Clarksville dad was surprised by how many people wanted to take photos for the campaign.
“I’m in a military town,” said Cruz. “A lot of the guys who have posed are active or retired military — found that once I started talking to other dads, a lot of them felt the way I did.”
Cruz says the goal is to not just to get people talking but to engage and educate dads.
He also hopes the pictures help tackle any stigma associated with public breast-feeding.
“I decided that I was going to change my community,” said Cruz. “If I can make my community a breast-feeding-friendly community, I will have succeeded. I don’t have to worry about my wife going anywhere and breast-feeding my daughter.”
According to NBC News, a CDC report out last year noted that women are more successful at nursing when fathers support them.
Cruz says that’s why it’s important to educate dads about the process.