During a recent visit to London, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady called Tracey McEachran, a talented artist, photographer and mindfulness consultant among her many other talents. We connected after the event and to my surprise, she told me that she had worked on a project about breastfeeding mothers. I was curious to take a look and when I did, I couldn't believe the truth Tracey had managed to capture in her photos.
As I flicked through her beautiful images, I knew I had to share Tracey's images with other mummies all over the world because I found them to be supportive, encouraging, real, raw, and empowering at the same time.
Tracey says; "Returning on a flight from Spain I was sat across the aisle from a mother who was breastfeeding her two year old child. I was aware seeing a mother feeding an older child in a public space in the UK was a very rare sight.
On returning home I began to research various aspects of breast-feeding. To my surprise both our government and the W.H.O recommend breastfeeding children up to the age of two as a minimum. Given this advise why do we not see more mothers breastfeeding children beyond six months?
My aim was to produce a series of environmental portraits of breastfeeding mothers. I did not want to over sentimentalise the images, but wanted to question westerns society's taboos concerning breast-feeding older children in public spaces. I went on to work with young mothers as in the UK there is a very low percentage of young mothers that breast feed at all."
I realised, as a mother who breastfed her son up to 2 1/2 years old, that breastfeeding a toddler in public is indeed a rare site and many family members even started to comment on the fact that I needed to stop because "he's getting too big". I was also very embarrassed feeding Iasonas in public at times because I was conscious that people were surprised to see me feeding such a big baby. Essentially, it was what drove me to create the first MamaBib.
The fact is that we should all do what we feel in our hearts. If you have a desire to breastfeed into toddlerdom, that is completely your choice and when you focus on your baby and his/her well being, then nothing can stand in your way.
You do not need the approval of anyone around you - you are responsible for nourishing your baby and as the mummy, it's your right to make the healthiest choices. Breastfeeding provides lifelong benefits for babies and we need to support and encourage mummies to breastfeed for as long as they desire by dissolving taboos and negative opinions. If you know a breastfeeding mummy, tell her how well she is doing and make her feel supported. The very act of her breastfeeding symbolises affection, love, bond, nourishment, support, security, care, nurturing and so much more.
If you would like to see more of Tracey's work, I highly recommend visiting her website http://traceymceachran.com/photography/breastfeeding-mothers.html.