Wednesday , 26 July 2017

‘We are not “still” nursing, we are just nursing’

Standing in front of the mirror, right after a shower, seeing your every imperfection staring back at you from the fog covered glass. We’ve all done this. Just stood there wishing we could change this and that. Our bodies do so much for us and demonstrate immeasurable strength. Yet we spend so much time thinking about how we can look better, rather than celebrating who we are. While there are often outside pressures from media and other women, we tend to be our own harshest critics.

Photographer Natalie McCain started The Honest Body Project to help women celebrate their bodies for what they are and learn to love themselves. The project is a series of photos accompanied by quotes from the subjects about their bodies and body image.

One of the series she includes in the project is focused on the normalization of breastfeeding, specifically full term nursing. She uses this series to try and assure people that women don’t nurse to feel superior, to get attention or for accolades, it’s just nursing. It’s just feeding our children. It is as simple as that.

“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.”
“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.”

Natalie aptly named the series “We are not “still” nursing, we are just nursing.” in hopes that she could break down a few walls of judgment towards moms who continue nursing their children past 12 months.

“I have nursed others’ babies as well, and someone close to me nursed my daughter when she was a baby, many times in fact. Some people think that is weird but I am so thankful that when  I was away from my daughter for work and school and I couldn’t pump enough milk for her I had someone who was willing, not only to care for her, but to nurse her. In some ways it was hard, knowing that someone else was providing for my daughter what I couldn’t at the time, but in so many more ways I was thankful that someone could provide it when I couldn’t, and each time I nursed my daughter was so much more meaningful to me.”
“I have nursed others’ babies as well, and someone close to me nursed my daughter when she was a baby, many times in fact. Some people think that is weird but I am so thankful that when I was away from my daughter for work and school and I couldn’t pump enough milk for her I had someone who was willing, not only to care for her, but to nurse her. In some ways it was hard, knowing that someone else was providing for my daughter what I couldn’t at the time, but in so many more ways I was thankful that someone could provide it when I couldn’t, and each time I nursed my daughter was so much more meaningful to me.”
“When the twins were getting close to 2 years old, I remember baby A nursing with me then all of a sudden he unlatched, babbled something I couldn’t understand to his brother, and then latched back on.  Seconds later baby B came over and latched on.  I know he must have been telling his brother to come and nurse!”
“When the twins were getting close to 2 years old, I remember baby A nursing with me then all of a sudden he unlatched, babbled something I couldn’t understand to his brother, and then latched back on. Seconds later baby B came over and latched on. I know he must have been telling his brother to come and nurse!”

She masterfully captures natural moments between mothers and their nurslings that allows others a glimpse into what that relationship is like. Her simplistic approach to the photos ensures the focus is on the moments of comfort, bonding, feeding and even some toddler silliness.

The stories the women share highlight why a project like this is needed, the misconceptions and judgment they have faced in their own journeys.

Normalizing breastfeeding is important because no parent should feel ashamed or judged about how they are nourishing their child.

It bothers me to hear people say, “When they can ask for it, they don’t need it anymore.” Children ask for nourishment from the second they enter this world. A newborn asks by crying, sucking their lips, and putting their hands in their mouth. An older baby might ask by tapping your chest or signing. And now my toddler asks by yelling, “MILKIES,” and pulling at my shirt! They ask from day one. They’ve just learned different and more evolved ways as they get older.”
It bothers me to hear people say, “When they can ask for it, they don’t need it anymore.” Children ask for nourishment from the second they enter this world. A newborn asks by crying, sucking their lips, and putting their hands in their mouth. An older baby might ask by tapping your chest or signing. And now my toddler asks by yelling, “MILKIES,” and pulling at my shirt! They ask from day one. They’ve just learned different and more evolved ways as they get older.
The question that bothers me the most with full term nursing is, “When are you going to stop?” Why do I have to stop? Do we have to have a date in mind? My child feels comforted, she is smart, confident, and independent so nursing isn’t holding her back in any way!  She loves to nurse, she loves to be close to me. Let’s face it, all these cute little faces are going to be teenagers one day and want nothing to do with their parents.”
The question that bothers me the most with full term nursing is, “When are you going to stop?” Why do I have to stop? Do we have to have a date in mind? My child feels comforted, she is smart, confident, and independent so nursing isn’t holding her back in any way!  She loves to nurse, she loves to be close to me. Let’s face it, all these cute little faces are going to be teenagers one day and want nothing to do with their parents.”

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