Tess Holliday Shares Snap of Her Breastfeeding Son as Fiancé Nick Defends the ‘Sexy’ Model

06/29/2016 at 02:30 PM ET

Tess Holliday Breastfeeding Bowie
S Meddle/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Tess Holliday has no qualms about extending her ideas of empowerment into new motherhood.

Proof? The size 22 model, who is celebrating her 31st birthday on Tuesday, posted a black-and-white snap of her 3-week-old son Bowie Juniper breastfeeding freely.

“I had to capture this moment because today was the first time I was successful at feeding lil Bowie [lying] down,” the body-positive second-time mom, who also has a 10-year-old son named Rylee, wrote proudly next to the photo she re-posted from fiancé Nick Holliday.

Alongside strong-arm and party-horn emojis, Holliday added the hashtags, “#normalizebreastfeeding” and “#motherhoodrising.”

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

And the accompanying text on the original post shed a little bit more light into the realities of breastfeeding and new parenthood.

“She actually looks really sexy here — but it isn’t always like that,” Nick wrote. “Sometimes it’s stressful and messy and nothing goes how you want it to. But sometimes it’s bliss.

“Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about feeding your child, wherever that may be,” he continues. “And for the women out there who can’t breastfeed, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that either.”

Sleep: 💤 1 Baby Bowie -10 Mommy #momlife #teamnosleep #worthit

A photo posted by Plus Model✖️ Mom ✖️ Feminist🌹 (@tessholliday) on

Just cuddlin with my two babies, both furry. #dadswithtattoos

A photo posted by Nick Holliday (@nickhollidayco) on

And though the Hollidays’ photos were meant to be positive and encouraging, like many social-media posts Holliday has made, they have received some criticism — which led Nick to set the record straight.

“Finding a plus size mother (two groups robbed of all sexuality) with whom I am in a relationship ‘sexy’ for being a good mum is not the same as objectifying [strangers’] body parts in public,” he added in an edit to his initial caption.

Jen Juneau

FILED UNDER: Babies , News , Tess Holliday

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 29 comments

Kim on

She is so big nobody wouldn’t have known she was preg without her constant announcement of it.

GoodTxGirl on

I don’t body shame but there IS LITERALLY NO WAY she is a size 22.

Shay on

Bre ast feeding is normal. Is it normal to share it with the world? Glamorizing obesity doesn’t make it any healthier. She’s grossly obese, and needs to go on a diet so she’s around to watch her kids grow up.

Julie on

Oh my, I just had to click on the story. Now how do I get rid of that visual. ICK!

Just Saying on

She’s definitely a size 22. Plus 4 or 5 sizes! And women, nobody wants to see your breastfeeding pics, no matter what your size is. Stop stop stoppppp.

CJ on

I totally agree that there is no way she is a size 22.

Tee on

I genuinely LOVE hearing celebrities that speak out about nursing their babies because I firmly believe that breast milk is the best thing for a child. (Please don’t misunderstand. I do NOT villainize women that cannot nurse or choose not to nurse for whatever reason. I simply think that breast milk is best for the baby unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.) But I have to admit that more often than not, I’m torn when it comes to photos of a woman nursing. On one hand, it can help people see nursing as being normal but on the other hand, I am a VERY modest person and don’t feel the need to take and/or show off half naked pictures of myself OR see half naked pictures of others. Nursing photos that are somewhat modest are one thing but pictures such as the one above are entirely different, at least to me. I don’t need to see a picture of an entire bare breast. I applaud Tess for feeling such confidence in her appearance but I’m curious… am I the only person that has found her to be pretty crude throughout this pregnancy? When it comes to both photos and words, I mean?

Anonymous on

Haters!!! This World is not just a Skinny World. People who have nothing nice to say should not say anything at all . We as people talk bullying all the time and we wonder where these kids get it from People like you who don’t have a life & have nothing better to then to mock others. Sad really!!!

lafemmekatia on

I breastfed all four of my babies and it was a good experience for me and the babies. I highly recommend that all moms at least try. (I know it doesn’t always work out for everybody.)
But I had my kids in the 70’s and while we did take lots of snapshots during the baby years, we weren’t so compelled to brag about our breastfeeding and our pre and post baby-bodies to the whole world. Hense no selfies of me with my boobs hanging out at the park.
I breastfed for a total of over four years and never felt compelled to flash anyone at a restaurant.
Now it’s all about showing off.
This Tess just enjoys grossing everyone out and laughs all the way to the bank with her check from “People Magazine”, but seriously…
That photo is nasty!

Callie on

Seriously? I’m speechless

AnonIA on

ABSOLUTELY NO FREAKIN’ WAY she is a size 22.

blessedwithboys on

Lovely lady, adorable baby.

But yes, she is at least a 26 or 28 and I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn she is a 30 or 32.

Also, as long as the baby is growing and thriving, there is no “wrong” way to nurse, but oy! does that look uncomfy! LOL

#normalizebreastfeeding
#dontlieaboutyourrealsize

B on

I don’t understand why all of you claiming there is no way she’s a size 22 haven’t figured out that SHE JUST GAVE BIRTH, of course she’s bigger than her normal size… put a cork in it already! Tess is gorgeous; rock on, Mama!

Audrey on

Her son is so adorable.

Evelyn on

I am so sick of her

Anonymous on

She is NOT a size 22!!!

Yikes on

Yay Tess! You mastered breastfeeding lying down… it must have been terrible having to overexert yourself to sit up and feed your child.

Anonymous on

And I bet all of you body shaming are so perfect and I’m pretty darn sure none of you are feminist because the way I see it none of us are perfect in our looks and for you to point out another woman’s flaws as if you have none yourself is just so disrespectful and on top of that you don’t have to live the way she looks.Tess has to feel good about herself and uf she feels good more power to her…women such as yourself us why I have no friends.Nothing but a bunch of catty ass women with nothing better to do than act like you’re back in high school making fun of the one girl that doesn’t live up to YOUR standard.Get a life already.

Claire on

Aaaannndddd how,long before the first vulgar remark?

Didn’t even have to go to comment #2

They’re merely jealous that she has a healthy baby, she’s breastfeeding, her husband finds her sexy and they’re not hiding away because these are modern day issues..
Yup, she’s fat. And successful with a family she has put together. She has love, family, money and I’m sure she won’t concern herself with the toothless, public school, trailer park set. Don’t you have a welfare check to cash?

Maria on

Am I the only one who is having a problem with the sitting position this baby is in? This is in no way suitable for a baby this young. She mafe herself comfortable but what about the poor child?!

sally on

you know what Tess, stop trying to get attention. NO, really. It’s annoying. You are fishing for comments. Go feed your child, go raise your child, go give your child attention and stop posting social media pictures.

sarah on

She is absolutely size more than 22 for sure.

Hanna on

Here’s a thought, just breastfeed. Why do so many people have to post photos of such a special moment. Keep them to yourself. Normalizing it is to just do it and go about your business, not everything has to be a huge f u c k i n g crusade.

blessedwithboys on

I’m not criticizing her size, I’m criticizing her lying about it being smaller than it really is – pre-pregnant.

I also don’t see why she should be called “Tess Holliday, size (fill-in-the-blank-number) model”. No one prints “size 0 model” after anyone’s name!

Anonymous on

We live in a world where we literally feel the need to brag about breastfeeding, it’s truly ridiculous. Do these women have NOTHING better to do?! Come on, at least if you’re gonna brag and post pics of something, make it worthwhile. Nobody gives a crap that you are breastfeeding. I swear, people these days are retarded.

Anonymous on

He is so adorable LOL

Hea on

I’m a size 18 or 20 (I don’t quite understand US sizes) and if this is what 22 looks like then I must be blind when I look in the mirror. Sure, I’m big and working on that but I am in no way anywhere close to that size. I read she’s 5ft 5′ tough and I’m 6 feet tall but…still… It can’t be.

Anonymous on

Anonymous, the world is not a ‘skinny’ world. It isn’t us against them. Every single human being is designed to be lean. Our bodies, including our bones, joints, and organs were not formed to have this much extra weight on our frames. People need to understand there is a reason obesity is so ‘common’ now, and it isn’t because it’s normal. It isn’t body shaming, it’s reality.

C on

I’m glad that she and her baby are healthy- but honestly, did the top photo really need to be shared on social media?

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters