Dads 'breastfeed' to raise awareness

Campaign aims to educate fathers, fight stigma

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The photographs may be a bit jarring to see at first, but a Tennessee man says the purpose of the pictures is to help new dads understand breastfeeding.

Photographer Hector Cruz created "Project Breastfeeding" with the slogan "If I could, I would." Cruz has enlisted several new fathers to take unorthodox photographs depicting men in a breastfeeding position.

Cruz says he thought of the campaign through personal experience. When his wife was pregnant, Cruz wasn't allowed to attend breastfeeding class, leaving him in the dark when his child was born.

"We had a lot of issues and I did not know how to help," Cruz told WSMV-TV. "I felt frustrated, confused and helpless. I knew that if I felt that way, there are other fathers out there facing similar struggles."

Cruz says his campaign is not about the "wow factor" of the photographs. He wants dads to feel comfortable with breastfeeding and understand how to help their loved ones.

"I decided that I was going to make a change in my community," Cruz told WSMV-TV. "If I can make my community a breastfeeding friendly community, I will have succeeded."

Cruz says since starting the campaign, he has had a surprising interest from a number of men who not only wanted to participate in the photographs, but also wanted to learn more about breastfeeding.