Tree of Life breastfeeding images

The first Tree of Life image I saw was in a closed Facebook group of breastfeeding mamas in the Twin Cities. Ashley Vanderwerf shared a photo she edited in a post to the group. 

Screenshot shared with permission

The original post
Her post was simple and beautiful:

"I edited this picture of my daughter nursing. If anyone wants me to make them one let me know. :)"

The post went viral within the group, and by 10 a.m. on Friday, she had already edited over 300 photos for other moms. 

Multiple moms commented telling Ashley she should be charging for editing the images, but she responded, "I just want to make moms happy. I struggled with nursing and a photo like this made me feel amazing."

I wrote in a comment: "Ashley Vanderwerf — your images are so beautiful! It's amazing you're doing this for free. Maybe you could choose a charity or something moms could donate to? Maybe La Leche League or something?"

Ashley responded "Pay it forward. Buy someone's coffee, hold the door for someone, buy someone's lunch in a drive thru, it's Christmas time and you never know who is struggling right now and how much a simple gesture could change their day!"

The app
Many members commented asking how the beautiful images were created. You can download an app called PicsArt and then superimpose a transparent tree image onto your photo. There are other effects in the app to help you achieve the color and added details you want.

I haven't downloaded the app or tried to create an image. I was fortunate enough to have Ashley create one for me and I think it's beautiful.

I shared it publicly on my Facebook page. Ashley includes additional steps in her editing process — and it shows.

Spreading beauty
Moms everywhere have been downloading the app and editing photos for each other. I've seen multiple posts of moms asking for someone to edit their photos. I've also seen a post that was set up for moms to post photos they'd like edited and then other moms could reply with edited versions.

Many moms are sharing the edited images and including the hashtags #normalizebreastfeeding and #treeoflife among others. By sharing these photos with the rest of the world, we can share the beauty of breastfeeding and help make it less of a taboo

Many moms — myself included — have set their Facebook profile photos to be their Tree of Life photo. 

I've seen a couple blog posts giving directions for creating your own Tree of Life image, such as this one and this one.

Expanding the tree
Sometimes breastfeeding isn't possible or doesn't work out for one reason or another — including having babies in the NICU. Some moms choose to pump exclusively to provide the nutrition and antibodies of breastmilk for their babies.

Moms have been creating Tree of Life images of babies drinking pumped breastmilk from bottles. 

Screenshot shared with permission

I've also seen posts of Tree of Life images created showing fathers with their babies. Some show fathers giving bottles, others show fathers having skin-to-skin time with babies, and there are also images of fathers snuggling their babies.  

Screenshot shared with permission

I even saw a post of a Tree of Life image created of a mom who was pumping at work. 

Screenshot shared with permission

Another post showed a Tree of Life pregnancy image. 

Screenshot shared with permission

I also saw a Tree of Life image showing a little girl and her donor milk.

Screenshot shared with permission

So many trees
The feed of the original Facebook group of Twin Cities breastfeeding mamas became flooded with Tree of Life images. There was concern that posts from members seeking breastfeeding advice would get lost in the shuffle. 

The admins for the group created a subgroup where breastfeeding moms could create and share Tree of Life photos. The reason was so the original group's posts could focus on breastfeeding advice, support and sharing of accomplishments. 

There's also an Instagram feed by a woman named Cassandra that says she's created over 400 Tree of Life images so far — although I didn't see many posts on the feed.

Keep sharing
I love the Tree of Life photo Ashley Vanderwerf created for me, and, like so many others, I'm grateful she had the courage to share her photo and creative talent with us. At the time I wrote this post, Ashley had edited over 600 photos for other moms. All free of charge. Amazing.

Screenshot shared with permission

Please feel free to ask me questions about this or any of my previous posts. Check back soon for my next post. In the meantime, continue sharing your Tree of Life images with the world!


This blog is truthful and based on personal experience with the products or items mentioned. It doesn't have sponsors, and no one paid to receive positive reviews of their products. All of the links provided are for your convenience and are not "affiliate links" — Valerie doesn't receive payment or kickbacks if people purchase products based on her recommendations.

Valerie Moe is the Senior Graphic Designer for Minnesota Parent magazine. She lives in Bloomington with her husband, their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old twins. You can comment below or contact her directly here.