October 21, 2013

This is Breastfeeding in Real Life {Photos}.

As someone who breastfed for nearly two years, I can honestly say that it was simultaneously one of the most rewarding and one of the frustrating things I ever did.

At several points, I was tempted to toss the nursing bra and break out the formula. Unlike my mother, who claimed she had “no problems” and that nursing was as natural to her as breathing, I was not so lucky.

Instead, I suffered from crack nipples, low milk production and a very nasty bout of mastitis that left me in boob agony. Still, breastfeeding had its positives, too, not the least of which was a feeling of closeness and bounding with my daughter. (Even now I marvel over how cool was it that I was providing my child with life-giving nourishment that came from my own body.)

Once I became pretty good at breastfeeding, I was amazed at how my formerly modest-self had no problems breastfeeding in public even when I had forgotten to pack a blanket or my handy-dandy “nursing wrap.”

I remember thinking once that short of a few idealized paintings I saw of Madonna breastfeeding the baby Jesus, there really weren’t a lot of depictions of nursing mother much less “real” mothers like me who were the opposite of the serene Virgin Mary.

Apparently, I was not alone in thinking that.

Five years ago, Connecticut-based photographer, Stacie Turner, started taking pictures of breastfeeding mothers. While she claims her images are to some extent “posed and idealized,” her goal was to depict the experiences of “real mothers.”

As a mother of now seven-year old twins that she nursed for close to three years, Turner makes no qualms that she is a breastfeeding advocate, but insists that she is not saying her choice is right for anyone.

Rather, she claims her goal is to normalize breastfeeding and make “all mothers” feel comfortable about their choices.

For the rest of Turner’s lovely photographs, visit her website here.


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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photographs: via Stacie Turner Photography}

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