Phoenix area moms come together to break the stigma surrounding breastfeeding

Hundreds of nursing moms in the Valley came together in Chandler to donate to moms in need during the baby formula shortage. Now, they're working to empower and support one another.

No one ever said raising kids was easy, and when these moms faced criticism for breastfeeding, it made things that much harder.

"There's a stigma around it, always been a no-no," said Alicia Atkins, owner of Gasp Breastfeeding. "So we are trying to bring back the awareness, trying to make sure the stigma against it is no longer part of that."

Atkins is on a mission to make sure no mom feels alone or stigmatized for feeding her child in public. She and her group Gasp Breastfeeding hosted an event in Chandler this weekend for World Breastfeeding Month.

More than 350 nursing moms and their kids showed up.

"I love seeing all the moms, all the kids happy, to see everyone happy, and everyone supporting each other getting along," Atkins said.

During the baby formula shortage, many of these nursing moms stepped up to help those who couldn't breastfeed their children.

"A lot of these moms here today started re-lactating and donated to hundreds of moms across Arizona, they donated thousands and thousands of ounces," Atkins said.

Because keeping those kids happy and well-fed is what moms do.

"I've been breastfeeding for nine years consecutively, and I will say for this event I was still very shy about nursing in public but being here, seeing all the women come together in the heat and everything - we're all a community of strong empowered women doing what nature intended," said mother Jessica Russo.