In 2015, following the birth of my second son, I started a project called “What Does Breastfeeding Look Like?” in which I attempted to answer that very question through the art of documentary photography.
Over the past 3 years, I have ventured into homes and documented the lives of mothers breastfeeding their young. From my home country of Australia to the remote villages of Brazil, I have tried to shed a light on what the breastfeeding experience is like for women around the world today.
As it happens, not only am I still working on the project, but I’m also still breastfeeding my youngest child. This is not something I planned on. I honestly didn’t think I’d be one of “those” mums. Turns out I am. It’s really just an occasional morning thing now. I wouldn’t normally whip my boob out on the side of a country road in front of a cute little chapel like the photo below (that’s the photographer in me). But I do breastfeed a child that talks, and I know most people think that’s wrong, gross, creepy and weird etc.
To be honest, revealing that I breastfeed a 3 year old is daunting (even to me – a breastfeeding advocate). I was, and am worried about the vitriol I’ll inevitably receive from friends, family and the general public. But this is my reality, and apparently, I’m well within the realms of normal. Yes! Normal. The best data we have suggests that the natural age for human weaning is between 2.8 to 3.7 years old (Katherine A. Dettwyler), or precisely 2.71 times the mother’s body weight in grams to the 0.56 power.
So I’m not going to hide the fact I breastfeed a child. And neither are the women who feature in the photos compiled here.
The WHO, somewhat misleadingly suggests that mothers breastfeed their young exclusively for 6 months up to 1 year and beyond. The WHO is suggesting this as a minimum. But how about we consider the ideal?
This is a collection of photographs of women breastfeeding “beyond”. Their children are all above the age of 1 year, and what they’re doing is completely normal.
More info: Instagram