9 Gorgeous Photos of Moms Breastfeeding Beyond 12 Months

Natalie McCain's photographs are always so gorgeous and inspire so many moms from all over the world that no matter who we are or what we look like, as long as we love our children we are all truly beautiful. Her latest series, "We are not still nursing, we are just nursing," showcases moms who choose to breastfeed beyond the one-year mark. 

I spoke with the wonderful Natalie and asked her a few questions about her latest series. 

What has been the reaction to the "not still nursing" project?

The reaction has been amazing. The series has been shared thousands and thousands of times and continues to get more views daily. You don't typically see portraits of mothers nursing older children, but this is the reality for many mothers and they feel the need to hide that they do it because of how the public views it. No mother should feel ashamed for how they choose to feed and nurture their child, whether it be breastfeeding for one week [or] three years, or formula feeding. We all do what is best for our children.

What do you wish people understood most about extended breastfeeding?

Extended breastfeeding isn't done to be extreme. It is just a continuation of an absolutely natural and beautiful thing. It seems strange to those who have never done it, but when you are nursing your child and neither of you wish to stop, it feels completely normal. The benefits of breast milk don't just run out after one year. There are many benefits to mother and baby, and as long as both wish to continue, there is no reason to stop.

What's the next project for The Honest Body Project?

I have many series in the works. I am so excited to share them with everyone! My next series will be featuring bottle-feeding mothers, because I am passionate about all mothers feeling confident and supported no matter how they choose to feed their children. It breaks my heart that any mother feels judged because of how she chooses to nurture her child.

 

Images via Natalie McCain/The Honest Body Project 

  • 'Nursing isn't holding my child back in any way'

    1

    “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.”

  • 'Nursing twins'

    2

    “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!”

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  • 'As soon as he nurses, all is well with the world'

    3

    “I never in 1 million years imagine my son would be 3 1/2 years old and still asking for 'milks' daily. There are some mornings he wakes me up in a very loud abrupt manner, and the selfish side of me just wants him to leave me alone. But there are more times when he wakes me up in such a sweet loving way, snuggles up next to me, and in the cutest voice ever, tells me he can smell my milk and asks if he can 'please pretty pretty pretty pretty please have milks.' He could be in the worst of moods but as soon as I let him enjoy his milks, all is well in his little world and it sets a much more positive tone to his day.”

  • 'Children ask for nourishment from the day they enter the world'

    4

    “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.”

  • 'Self-weaning is what works for us'

    5

    “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. As our nursing journey has progressed I then set some milestones like six months and one year. 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?  We are almost three years into this breastfeeding journey. I never once had the thought of 'I’m going to stop nursing at such-and-such age.' Self-weaning is what is working for us. When my son feels he is done is when we are done.”

  • 'I've found it very helpful to have my partner's support '

    6

    “My goal has been to nurse my kids until they are done. I’m so fulfilled that we’ve been successful so far. Never in a million years did I think I’d be nursing three though, with having twins shortly! I have found it really helpful to have my partner's support in whatever makes me comfortable, especially when it comes to being around other people. I think that took us all -- but especially him -- some getting used to, but now I’m not sure he even notices!  I’m glad we at least don’t have to go through that transition again. We can just focus on survival.”

  • 'We can tackle the emotions she is feeling'

    7

    “When I notice my daughter starting to get worked up we practice deep breathing and I offer her some mama’s milk. Together they help her feel a sense of confidence that she can tackle the emotions that she is feeling.”

  • 'I'm proud and comfortable with my choice'

    8

    “When my son was 16 months old we were going to be flying together. I knew he was going to want to nurse on the flight and I was so nervous of what my seat mate would think when I was nursing my rambunctious toddler. Would they stare? Would they be judging me? I had an older lady sit next to me [and] notice I was nursing, and [she] went on to tell me how wonderful what I was doing was. I immediately felt so much more at ease about my decision. My son soon after self-weaned. Now with my daughter, I’m proud to say we full-term nurse, we don’t have a time frame we are looking to stop, and I am proud and comfortable with my choice!”

  • 'The bonds I have with my babies'

    9

    "I cannot begin to describe the bond I have with my babies or the love I feel for them each and every time I look down at their sweet faces while they nurse.”

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  • 'We Are Not Still Nursing, We Are Just Nursing'

    10
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