Photographer Natalie McCain brought together a dozen women and their kids for an intimate photoshoot that depicts the moms breastfeeding their toddler and school-aged children. Titling the series, “We are not ‘still’ nursing, we are just nursing,” McCain hopes to normalize extended nursing.
“Nursing this long has nothing to do with being ‘mom enough’ and it isn’t ‘extreme,’ ” McCain says on her website, The Honest Body Project. “We don’t do it for sport, to win an award, or to be recognized above anyone else. We don’t do it to prove a point, to make a scene or to be praised. We are just mothers nursing our children.”
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“No mother deserves to be judged for how she chooses to feed her child,” she says. “I personally nursed my children while they were toddlers and I can speak from experience when I say it is a very natural, beautiful thing.”
After trying to set a timeline for breastfeeding, the above woman realized it didn’t make sense for her and her almost 3-year-old son.
“My initial goal for nursing was to just get over the first two weeks which I’ve heard is the biggest hurdle and to go from there,” she says. “Once my son reached a year it dawned on me why do I have these “goals” for how long I feed and nourish my child?”
“Self-weaning is what is working for us. When my son feels he is done is when we are done.”
“It bothers me to hear people say, ‘When they can ask for it, they don’t need it anymore,’ ” the above mom says. “They ask from day one. They’ve just learned different and more evolved ways as they get older.”
The choice to nurse at an older age is the child’s alone, the moms emphasize.
“My second child weaned herself,” says the above mother. “It was quite a shock too. She unlatched and sat up abruptly. She looked at me and said ‘I don’t like it anymore.’ Like that, she was done.”
“There will be a day when he will no longer choose to nurse and I trust my son enough to tell me when that will be,” adds the mom above.
With this photo series, McCain wants to encourage moms to stop tearing each other down.
“It’s time we support one another,” she says. “What works for one family, may not work for yours, but that does not mean it is wrong.”