A same-sex couple have posed for a series of intimate photographs, showing how they take it in turns to breastfeed their baby.
Claire Eden-McIlroy and her partner Steph, posed for the photos with their daughter LJ to raise awareness of LGBT families.
The couple, from Australia, asked birth photographer Lacey Barratt to capture the moment both breastfed LJ, who was born in January 2017.
And when Lacey shared the images on Instagram, the story made headlines around the world.
Claire, 29, who gave birth to LJ, told the Daily Mail, ‘It’s something we do every day in our house and we wanted to raise awareness of same-sex couples.
‘Even without carrying a child you can still nourish and feed your child from your body.’
Can we talk about breastfeeding and same sex couples for a minute? Can we talk about how NORMAL this should be? Having a desire to share the responsibility with your partner is normal and POSSIBLE. Ladies, did you know, that you DO NOT have to be the birth mother in order to breastfeed? Adoptive parents, surrogacy parents, you can breastfeed your baby! Same sex male couples, did you know that you can find a woman to wet nurse your baby? Have donor milk? SNS? The possibilities are endless, and should be respected as a heterosexual couple is. [ps if you know this gorgeous couple. please refrain from tagging.] I also, will not tolerate ANY bullying or name slinging on this page. ever. Equality is deserved by everyone <3 . . . . #equality #samesexmarriage #normalizebreastfeeding #melbourne #humansuncensoredproject
‘We had no idea it would become such a talking point’
Claire explained that Steph had really wanted to breastfeed their baby. So after advice from a midwife, she began taking a prescribed drug to trigger her body into producing breast milk.
She also started taking fenugreek, a herb which is often used to increase milk supply.
And when LJ was born, Steph began using a hospital grade pump to stimulate her breasts every two hours.
Claire added, ‘It’s a way for [Steph] to bond with the baby and ease my load.’
The couple have now set up a Facebook page, The Co Feeding Mums, after being inundated with messages from people wanting advice on how to co-feed.
And they posted, ‘This week has been pretty C-R-A-Z-Y! A photo of us feeding our daughter interested, confused and amazed people. We had no idea it would become such a talking point.
‘We’ve been inundated with messages of support and also of people wanting advice on what we did to achieve both cofeeding and induced lactation … Being able to reach so many people and normalize the process of induced lactation and cofeeding has been so amazing.
‘We look forward to continuing to share more of our story and hopefully inspire some others to do the same.’
‘Can we talk about how NORMAL this should be?’
Photographer Lacey had originally been in touch with Claire and Steph about a photo project she was organising.
It was only when she met them, and they talked about both breastfeeding LJ, that she asked if she could photograph them while they both fed their daughter.
She then shared the images on Instagram and wrote, ‘Can we talk about breastfeeding and same sex couples for a minute?
‘Can we talk about how NORMAL this should be? Having a desire to share the responsibility with your partner is normal and POSSIBLE.
‘Ladies, did you know, that you DO NOT have to be the birth mother in order to breastfeed? Adoptive parents, surrogacy parents, you can breastfeed your baby!’
Her Instagram feed was filled with supportive messages. Emmalouchambers wrote, ‘This is so beautiful. The bond each of them will have, not to mention shared feeding responsibilities … That’s one lucky baby.’
And Oatcakeadventures posted, ‘This is so amazing! And I bet it makes life way easier for those mamas! Now, is it possible to make my hubby lactate please?! I could do with a full nights sleep!’
Have you tried to induce lactation or have tips for women wanting to relactate? Why not share your advice and experience in our Coffeehouse forum, below.