As a mother, breastfeeding is something which has become very important to me. I fed my first child exclusively with formula milk, because I had had no exposure to breastfeeding at all and found the very idea a little bit odd if I’m honest!
But when it came to my second child I was a bit more clued up on what breastmilk is all about, and what a truly amazing substance it is. So I decided to try. He took to it like a natural, and we fed happily until a poorly informed health visitor told me I needed to top him up with formula, because he had started sleeping through the night and wouldn’t latch onto me to dream feed. That was the beginning of the end, and although I limped along until 6 months combining breast and bottle, I barely made it. I had fallen into the top-up trap. Thankfully I was more informed again with my next baby, and despite her having silent reflux and a lot of obstacles in our way, I fed her until she was 14 months old. My last two babies have also been exclusively breastfed too, infact I am still feeding my 22 month old. Its not been without its challenges, both of them were refluxers too, my little boy had a severe tongue tie and, if I hadn’t been so determined, I might have given up on many occasions.
So when i heard about a campaign being set up by two fellow photographers, to raise awareness of breastfeeding and to help normalise it in the public view, I knew I had to take part. The aim of the campaign is to get people to realise that breastfeeding is a completely normal biological thing, its not sexual or obscene, and feeding your child in public is not exposing yourself. Every mother should be able to feed their child without harassment, be it breast, supplementary feeding system or bottle. Sadly, many breastfeeding mothers face hostility when feeding their babies in public. But surely one of the many many beautiful things about breastfeeding is that it IS so convenient, that you have milk of the perfect composition and temperature, ready for your baby to drink the moment they need it?
So I put out a call for some wonderful breastfeeding ladies to photograph, to be part of the campaign. And these beautiful photographs are the result of my first shoot. This is the gorgeous Kerry, with her little cutie Gabby. We had a lovely morning in a local cafe, chatting and drinking tea, and when Gabby needed to be fed Kerry fed her, like it should be. I just captured them as they were, and the result is just breathtaking! How can anyone be offended by such a wonderful thing? This is a Mother’s love, a perfectly natural act, what our breasts were made to do! There is next to nothing on show, certainly less than you would see on any summers day at the beach, or any Friday night in town. Surely better than a screaming baby?
So please, whenever you see a mother feeding her baby, just give her a smile. At worst its just a friendly gesture, at best it will make her feel less self-conscious, more confident. Its not about breast vs formula. Its about a Mother’s right to feed her baby however and wherever she needs to, without fear of being critisised or asked to leave. Lets normalise breastfeeding.