In recent years, not much has changed on the expertly curated Instagram account of Hannah Polites, the lifestyle blogger known for sun-kissed selfies in colourful bikinis, sipping coconuts in various, tropical paradises.
Oh, except for the happy, smiling baby girl on her hip.
And what exactly is the cost of a bikini model becoming a mum in the age of Instagram? Since giving birth to Evaliah, now one, last August, Polites estimates she’s lost 50,000 male followers.
“I’m still the same person as I was before I had a baby,” the 26-year-old, who is also a midwife and fashion designer, tells Mamamia.
“I still share the same interests in fitness, fashion, travel and food and although I am lucky enough to have an amazing new role as a mother, it doesn’t define who I am, it’s just another thing that I do.”
Featuring her daughter in every few posts, Polites acknowledges the overall feel and tone of her social media presence, and consequently her following certainly has shifted to reflect her current lifestyle.
“My page has evolved over time to reflect the stages of life that I’m in. Since starting social media six years ago, I’ve undergone so many changes in my life – I’ve graduated from university, started working as a midwife, spent a year abroad, gotten engaged, bought a house and had a baby,” she says.
“I was a single teenager travelling the world solo [when I first started] and now I’m getting married, am parenting, and renovating our house so the following I attract was always inevitably going to change.”
While her lifestyle may be different, all the trademarks of her original account remain the same. So why is a woman in a bikini holding a child less appealing than one without? Are breasts only sexy when they don’t have mouths to feed?
Yes, 50,000 followers is a drop in the ocean for the woman who has over 1.5 million social media users engaging with her brand, but it’s also representative of a minority who feel bikinis and babies just don’t mix.
Although Polites isn’t sure exactly why she’s lost her appeal, she’s not all that fussed about it. And why would you be when you’re the happiest you’ve ever been?
Listen: Should women stop the post-baby-bikini selfies to encourage ‘bouncing back’? Mia Freedman thinks so (post continues after audio…)
“I’m posting the same images in a bikini, I just now have a baby on my hip and the biggest smile on my face, I’m the most content I’ve ever been in life,” she says.
“I’ve become more confident and comfortable in my skin since becoming a mum… Although I post photos of my baby, breastfeeding and parenting, there are so many other dimensions to my personality other than motherhood. [Those male followers] just might not particularly like seeing photos about babies and therefore have lost interest, and that’s totally fine by me.”