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Mother's Milk

Editorial 14.09.23

Photographer Florence Mann Fashion Rachel Caulfield at Eighteen Management Beauty Emily Porter

Pants by Sloggi

Bra by Sloggi

“Breastfeeding is not only when I feed my baby, but a moment of calm when my baby can feel comforted, attended to and safe. It’s amazing how little work it is, no washing up, no sterilising yet always with you. I love that it helps my baby’s immune system and changes according to their needs. I’m so thankful I’ve been able to breastfeed because I know not all mothers can. I feel privileged to care for my baby in this way, and that’s why I love breastfeeding.”

Dress by Ashish

“As a new mother I’ve learned that breastfeeding is quite a contentious subject, there is so much pressure to breastfeed but not a lot of support to help new mothers and babies navigate it. My experience of breastfeeding has been mixed, it has been stressful and exhausting at times along with comforting and peaceful.”

Shirt by Samsoe and Samsoe, bra by Baserange, knickers by Sloggi

“I’m nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey having nursed all three of my sons. I feel a sadness but also want to celebrate that I was able to nurture them in this way. It has been quite a marathon but with so many sweet moments along the way.”

Jumpsuit by Lee Jeans, dungarees by American Vintage

Pants by Sloggi

“I love breastfeeding and I love the connection I feel with my daughter when I feed her. I also find it empowering; it is incredible what your body can do.” 

Pants by X, gloves by Raquette

Jumpsuit by Lee Jeans, dungarees by American Vintage

“I’ve found that it is a journey. It has been at times challenging, painful & emotional. I’ve received a lot of support and advice from family & friends luckily, but I don’t think enough support is readily available for new mothers; you have to seek it out in my experience. Which doesn’t seem right, especially considering there is a lot of pressure put on women to breastfeed. I think there generally should be more openness about it.”

Pink dress by Ratatam

Gloves by Raquette, jogging bottoms by Sunday Collective

“I imagined my breastfeeding journey long before I had children. I would be the mother who exclusively breastfed beyond my baby’s first year, as nature intended. I’d heard rumblings that it could be challenging but somewhat naively I believed that I could do it if I put my mind to it. The reality was different. I hadn’t considered that this wasn’t a solo project that I could will into existence. I only accounted for 50% of the participants – my baby and I were learning together.

Despite attending every local breastfeeding clinic, and working with La Leche League, two Lactation Consultants and a Cranial Osteopath, I was unable to establish a full milk supply for any of my three children. At that vulnerable time when hormones are fluctuating and emotions are raw the realisation that I wouldn’t be able to was a devastating blow each time. I cried many tears as I attempted to latch my babies onto my broken and bleeding nipples.

The pain of feeling I’d let them down far outweighed the physical. How could something so natural be so hard, why couldn’t I just feed my baby? With time came clarity, and eventually I found peace with combination feeding, using formula for my first two and donor milk generously donated by other women at the milk bank for my third. Whilst I am a strong believer in the benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother my experience shows that failure to breastfeed can leave mothers anxious and depressed. Breastfeeding education is a fine balance between educating on the multitude of benefits of breastfeeding without stigmatising other feeding options, because sometimes it just doesn’t work.

I am 8 months into this breastfeeding journey with my daughter. The difficult early days are a distant memory, and yet my struggles mean I don’t take this experience for granted. I adore the moments I spend feeding her, the closeness and comfort it gives us both feels nothing short of magical.”

Photographer Florence Mann Fashion Rachel Caulfield at Eighteen Management Beauty Emily Porter Hair Chloe Frieda Location Tea Room Studios
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