Mother Defends 'Tandem Breastfeeding' of Both Her 3-Year-Old and 1-Year-Old Daughters: 'This Is What's Right for Us'
Chelsea Craig was taking photographs with her two young daughters when her oldest daughter Addy, 3 years and 8 months, started getting fussy.
To calm her down, Craig, 28, began to breastfeed Addy, along with her 16-month old daughter Emilynn – and motherhood photographer Mae Burke caught the tender “tandem breastfeeding” moment on film.
“I take pictures that are very candid moments, and if their children happen to want or need to breastfeed, then I just keep taking pictures like I normally would,” Burke tells PEOPLE.
Craig feels the photos capture her and her girls in a moment that is beautiful and pure.
“I look at the expressions on my girls’ faces and my expressions towards them, and it’s a feeling that I get,” Craig tells PEOPLE. “[Mae] put feelings into images. I told her, ‘I want you to get us living life, and what it feels like for me to be their mother.’ When I saw the pictures, it was just that.”
Although the breastfeeding photographs were not planned, Craig is happy she will be able to show them to her daughters when they get older.
“Any opportunity I have to capture that moment, I want, because I don’t know what their memory of it will be 20 years from now, and I know that I want that to share with them,” says Craig.
The Texas-based mom says she never intended to breastfeed Addy for more than a year, but she’s let Addy take the lead on letting her know when she’s ready to stop.
“That’s how we reconnect and hit reset for her when she’s in a mood,” says Craig. “I don’t know how much longer the journey will be. I thought I knew three years go, but I didn’t.”
Craig does not consider herself to be a breastfeeding activist – she is just simply doing what she feels is best for her family.
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“I’m very confident in the decision that this is what’s right for us,” she says. “I consider myself a supporter of women’s rights and the choices that we make as moms. For some, that’s breastfeeding until the kid is 7, for some that’s breastfeeding until the kid is 2 weeks, for some it’s not breastfeeding at all, and that’s okay with me.”
“Women should know their opportunities and be able to make their choices for whatever is best for them,” she continues, “and we should embrace that because it’s not our decision to make for someone else.”