Friday, 10 June 2011

Breastfeeding Beyond One: A Gallery for Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Beyond One Gallery!

My recent post, Ten Reasons to Keep Breastfeeding Beyond One, has been my most popular so far.  For this reason I have decided to create for UK Breastfeeding Awareness Week a photo gallery, a 'virtual nurse-in' if you will, of 'over-ones' being breastfed.  I really hope that by bringing these images together we can offer support and normalisation to those who have decided to nurse their children beyond one.  Often it is assumed that feisty and educated women don't ever have moments of self doubt or insecurity and therefore don't need encouragement or approval.  This is not the case - I know because I am one!  It is always great to feel the solidarity of others who have made similar choices and who are often swimming against the cultural tide.

I also hope that the gallery will raise awareness of extended breastfeeding as an option for those who might not otherwise have considered it.   

Seeing Is Believing:
In a society where many women feel unable to nurse in public, we rarely get to see babies and children being fed from the breast.  This matters.  Nothing better illustrates why it matters than a story taken from the excellent book, Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, by Meredith F. Small.  She tells of how a gorilla who had been born and raised in captivity, gave birth to an infant, but held it incorrectly to her breast and was unable to nurse it.  The keepers had to bottle feed it to ensure its survival.  During the gorilla's next pregnancy, as an experiment, the keepers asked breastfeeding women to nurse their children in view of the gorilla's enclosure.  When her second baby was born, the gorilla turned her baby to her breast correctly and was able to successfully feed it herself.

In our topsy turvy world, it is usually considered ok to admit to leaving your child to cry themselves to sleep, but somehow more taboo to share with others how you snuggle your toddler to your breast at bedtime until they drift off in your arms.

By sharing these beautiful images of loving moments with their children, the women who have chosen to participate in this Gallery are helping to break down this taboo, and doing a great service to all mothers, present and future.  I am extremely grateful to them for their contribution.

Post Script, August 2011: Since I created this gallery, it has been immensely popular, and even now it is still being viewed by people every day.  It has even been noticed by Roy K Philip, Paediatrician and Neonatologist, and President of the Irish Paediatric Association.  He stated: "The more our teenage girls see breastfeeding in our society, the less taboo for them later.  Practice, praise and promote breastfeeding.", and congratulated all involved in the gallery on their efforts.

If you would like to add an image to the Gallery please email it to mamamule@hotmail.co.uk.


All images have been removed from this post due to child protection concerns.
More info: http://mamamule.blogspot.com/2012/02/should-we-share-images-of-our-children.html










































  













16 comments:

  1. I have replied to you on Brit Mums as the same funny thing is happening with me with stats. I got your comment about my blog referring people to yours. I can't explain it either but at least you were in my blogroll. I had someone referring to me and I wasn't in their blogroll.

    I am still breastfeeding Aaron and he will be 1 on 15th June 2011. xxx

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  2. thanks liska!
    well you and aaron certainly qualify so please do send me a pic! xxx

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  3. Hello my dear,

    Have just emailed you a pic of me tandom feeding F & J (aged 16 months and 1 week)..

    If I find any others will pass them on
    x

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  4. fab! i've v excited about this! xxx

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  5. So exciting!!! about time people saw the "normality" of something so beautiful. I'm proud to participate with my daughter.

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  6. thank you so much for being a part of it! xxx

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  7. Wonderful post - thank you. I've just scrolled through all my photos and can't find any. Probably because it's always me who takes the photos. Will see if I can get one later, if you're still taking them.

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  8. thank you tasha!
    yes you can send me the photos anytime, that would be fantastic! x

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  9. unfortunately I don't have any photos of me feeding my daughter now aged 6, who chose to stop feeding from me of her own accord when almost aged 2; I am now feeding Isaac, who will be 8 months old next week. If your post is still active when he is over 1, I will delightedly send you a photo !
    This from a hypnobirthing homebirther (and I still look normal to the untrained eye ;o)

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  10. oh yes please do! and if you have any 'on location' breastfeeding pics of any age, please do send them for the other gallery of women using their Booblicious Baby Feeders!
    thanks for reading xxx

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  11. Great photos!

    You just don't see older babies and toddlers being breastfed out and about.

    If more people did, I'm sure fewer people would be disconcerted by it, and more women would do it too!

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  12. thanks mammasaver. i do try to fly the flag in that respect myself! but i have found a gradual cut off point...maybe around 2 or so, where i started to feel more uncomfortable in public...i wonder what other people's 'threshold' is...at what age do you start to feel uncomfortable, either nursing, or seeing someone else nurse?
    x

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  13. I especially love the fifth up from the bottom! :) I cannot get a photo of my daughter nursing to save my life; she's 21 months and for almost a year thinks she has to pull of to "pose" every time she sees the camera. :) I'm about to have baby number 4, though, and hope to get at least one good photo of my two nurslings sharing "Boops."

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  14. thanks Sarah! do send a pic if you get one, i would love to include it! meanwhile all the best and enjoy your forthcoming birth xxx

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  15. This is so inspiring. I must confess, despite myself and every ounce of my feminist being, I feel self-conscious breastfeeding my 13 month old. I find the pictures above beautiful and amazing, have breastfed long term myself and support it but find myself embarrassed and apologising if we feed in public now. Partly because my small one is a bit of an, ahem, aggressive feeder, but also because I feel judged. Isn't that terrible. We don't have any pictures of late feeding last time or this. I don't know if you've seen it, and you can link if you want to, I did write a piece about a picture in the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery this week, and how it so brilliantly captures breastfeeding an older more experienced baby (and I thought of you Mule which is why I dug this post out again!).

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  16. thanks so much L i've read and linked to your wonderful post.
    i'm glad this inspires you to keep going, that is precisely why i created it! if you do get any pics perhaps you would like to send one?
    i don't think it's your fault that you feel judged...maybe it's not anyone's 'fault'...we all need to work together to break this ridiculous taboo.
    xxx

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