International breastfeeding symbol

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The international breastfeeding symbol
Sign for a private nursing area at a museum using the international breastfeeding symbol at a museum in Dallas, Texas

The international breastfeeding symbol is a symbol that depicts a woman breastfeeding a baby. It was designed by Matt Daigle, a graphic artist and father, in response to a contest hosted by Mothering magazine.[1] The winner was chosen in November 2006 out of a total of more than 500 entries.[2] Daigle, who says his wife and son were the inspiration behind the symbol, released the copyright to the symbol to the public domain.

Increasing cultural diversity and personal mobility have motivated a desire for universal modes of communication.[3] The international breastfeeding symbol was created in the style of the AIGA symbol signs commonly seen in public places. Such symbols are intended to be understood at a glance by most people without written descriptions explaining what they mean.[4]

The international breastfeeding symbol was created to address the perceived problem of not having a universally accepted and understood symbol for breastfeeding available for use in public places. The modern iconography representing infancy usually involves artificial feeding or soothing objects, like a nurser bottle icon or pacifier symbol.[5] Nursing rooms have often used a baby bottle symbol to indicate what they are instead of a symbol of a mother nursing a child. It has been suggested that use of the symbol may be helpful in shifting the bottle-feeding cultural paradigm toward the biological norm of breastfeeding.[6]

In July 2007, the International Breastfeeding Symbol site, a website dedicated to the new symbol, was launched.[7]

Examples of uses of the symbol include:

  • In 2008, the South Sound Breastfeeding Network of the state of Washington, United States, featured the symbol on a "Breastfeeding Welcome Here" campaign.[8]
  • In 2009, the symbol was agreed to be posted at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Winter Park, Florida, United States, following a complaint by a restaurant customer that the manager of the restaurant had unlawfully asked her to cover her baby's head while breastfeeding.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mothering's Breastfeeding Symbol Contest Has a Winner.
  2. ^ Mothering Magazine announces winner of International Breastfeeding Icon Design Contest. November 13, 2006.
  3. ^ Hablamos Juntos
  4. ^ Symbol Signs: Society & Environment: AIGA
  5. ^ LLLI | Breastfeeding Myths Perpetuated by Culture, Society and the Health Care System.
  6. ^ Governance through metaphor project – commentaries | Union of International Associations (UIA) Archived 2007-06-25 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "The International Breastfeeding Symbol". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  8. ^ "South Sound Breastfeeding Network's Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign". Archived from the original on February 8, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  9. ^ Harris, Shay (August 13, 2009). "Breastfeeding battle at Chick-fil-A". FOX 35 News. Retrieved September 24, 2009.

External links[edit]