Model Mara Martin.

Stunning Sports Illustrated model dominates the catwalk while breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world to do, but it seems wherever mothers try to do it, they just get shamed. Regularly in the news, we've seen stories of women attempting to feed their babies in public, and whether they do it on a train, in a cafe, a park, an airport, or a restaurant, all they seem to get is outrage in return.

But model Mara Martin is on a mission to change this - and she took her operation to the front line of the fashion industry this week when she breastfed her baby daughter while strutting down the runway of the Sports Illustrated show.

The proud mother of five-month-old Aria was one of the 16 finalists chosen by Sports Illustrated through an open casting call at Miami Swim Week. She took to the catwalk in a sparkly golden bikini with her top pulled down on one side to feed her daughter, who wore soundproofing headphones in order to protect her ears from all of the noise around her.

Her appearance on the Sports Illustrated show runway thrilled mothers all over the world, with thousands of people on social media praising her for normalising breastfeeding.

"You are sooo amazing! Love you so much for doing this!!," commented Instagram user @carolinelunny. She was joined by @terra_tara_ who wrote "FINALLY! We are becoming civilised!!!! Thank God! We are so behind and backwards!! Thanks for taking a huge step forward in our culture’s mindset. [sic]"

However, the model was, of course, also subject to comments from shocked opposers who berated her for daring to feed her child in public. "Just don't get why people have to shove breastfeeding in your face. you don't see a model walking down the catwalk bottle feeding a baby do you just stupid it's not even about equality. If you want to breastfeed or bottle feed thats great, the whole world doesn't need to know, [sic]" wrote Twitter user @beccaatkinsonx.

Taking to Instagram afterwards to discuss her powerful statement, Mara expressed her excitement and determination, writing: "Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalise breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! [sic]"

However, she was keen to point out that, while she was happy the story had touched hearts around the world, at the same time, it shouldn't be headline material. "My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see, " she wrote on the social media site. "One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don’t know your IG handle ??‍♀️), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!! [sic]"

Hear, hear, Mara! What a hero!