First and foremost I need to start by saying that I do not believe there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way to feed your baby. There is only what works best for you and your baby.
For me personally, breastfeeding didn’t come easily to start with. I am so incredibly grateful for the support I was given that allowed me, not only to reach my breastfeeding goals, but to exceed them. It completely blows me away that my body produced everything that my boys needed at the time. I really enjoyed the one on one time breastfeeding allowed me with each of them, and to this day it is still one of my favourite parts of becoming a mother.
This project is about not just about supporting breastfeeding women with their own personal choices but, also making those choices accepted in the wider community. Feeding a baby is normal. Feeding a baby when & where it needs to be fed is normal. And if that ‘when and where’ happens to be at a coffee shop, a supermarket, the library, or some other public place – that’s normal.
Here are a few of my favourite images from this year’s sessions and the stories that go with them, I hope you enjoy them.
If you are struggling with breastfeeding please seek help. A great place to start is the Australian Breastfeeding Association(ABA) website. If you would like to speak to a trained volunteer counsellor, then call the ABA helpline 1800 686 268. If you are local to the New England NSW area you can find the the local ABA support group here. Alternatively, for down-to-earth, no-nonsense information on breastfeeding, co-sleeping/bedsharing, & attachment parenting, head to The Milk Meg (you can also find her on facebook)
“Throughout my pregnancy with April, I dreamed of breastfeeding. In fact, I romanticised the idea. It would be simple, natural, instinctive. That wasn’t the case. My nipples cracked and bled. Mastitis crippled me time and again. I cried night and day for the hours that she greedily attached herself to my body. It was a physical, psychological and emotional battle. And then it wasn’t. Then it was beautiful, effortless, creating such a unique bond with a little girl who thrived from the nourishing, vitamin rich liquid gold that my body produced at the perfect temperature and volume. Breastfeeding became all that I imagined and I took great pride in seeing her little body flourish, the accumulating delicious rolls and extra chins. It has been quite the journey. Sharing our breastfeeding story is so important – to inform, support and normalise something so organic and at the core of our human existence.” Elitia & April(6mths)
“We had to overcome a lot of obstacles…tongue tie, lip tie, gastro-oesophageal reflux and recurrent ear infections. My son continued to persevere with feeding, so I did everything I could despite my own discomfort, to give him the health, wellbeing and nutritional benefits he needed. After medication and surgical treatment we’re forever bonded by these struggles to achieve success on our breastfeeding journey. Today we are both content to be able to enjoy our experience as easily as a stroll in the supermarket.” Angela & Jameson(26mths)
“I’m proud of what we’ve overcome to get where we are. The village we’ve found through breastfeeding using a supply line and donor milk has given us the most amazing support, and we’ll be forever grateful for the difference that’s made to our breastfeeding relationship.” Alex & Freddy(3.5mths)
“Breastfeeding has reminded me that, after a traumatic labour ending in an emergency c-section, my body *can* do what it needs to for my baby. I am so happy to be able to give her the best start possible.” Bree & Pippa(11.5mths)
“Hazel’s dad has type 1 diabetes and we were advised that breastfeeding was one way that we could reduce her chances of developing it. It was a lot of hard work at the beginning, but it was just too important not to persist.” Catherine & Hazel(14mths)
“I have breastfeed Savannah the longest out of my 3 children. She has FPIES(a severe food allergy) which meant that she was unable to tolerate anything other than breastmilk until she was well over 12mths old. She is now eating most foods but she still likes breastmilk best.” Samantha & Savannah(18mths)