Bikini model breastfeeds baby while walking in Sports Illustrated show

Model Mara Martin with her 5-month-old daughter Aria. Photo:Mara Martin/Instagram
Model Mara Martin with her 5-month-old daughter Aria. Photo:Mara Martin/Instagram 

This year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit show featured something a little different: a model breastfeeding her baby as she walked down the runway.

The new mum, Mara Martin, strutted down the catwalk in a gold bikini while holding her five-month-old daughter, Aria, in her arms.

The little one was also sporting a bikini, as well as some noise-cancelling headphones.

Martin was one of 16 swimwear finalists chosen to walk in the annual Miami Swim Week show in Florida, US.

On Monday, she took to Instagram to say how surprised she was to make headlines for "something I do every day" but also hoped the photos would help to "normalise breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!"

The move certainly struck a chord with many mums who took to social media to praise Martin for her bold runway walk.

"I never liked the feeling of being stared at when I breastfed in public, even if I covered myself up, so thank you for showing women that you can feel comfortable no matter what," one commented. 

"Great job representing all of us nursing mums! You will get a lot of push back... but I hope you realise how powerful and amazing you are!" another wrote.

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And one summed it up with: "Thank you on behalf of women everywhere!"

Sports Illustrated posted a video of Martin on the catwalk on its Instagram account with the caption: "GIRL POWER!"

The show, which focused on promoting body positivity, also featured models in a variety of shapes and sizes, with US Paralympic gold medal snowboarder Brenna Huckaby leading the final walk down the runway.

 - Stuff