Breastfeeding in public in the UK has only been legal since 2010. Just over 9 years ago women who breastfed in public could be charged under public order or indecency legislation, and mothers today are still being made to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. Within my project, I want to celebrate the gift which mothers have, and try to normalise breastfeeding. I want to show the powerful journeys which mothers undertake, each woman has a different story to tell - an inspiring story!
I feel that it is important to show that breastfeeding can be a beautiful thing; of course it can be very tiring, very hard, and very difficult, however the end achievement is empowering. The bond between the mother and the baby whilst breastfeeding is unbreakable.
Cath 37, Rose 7 months old.
Throughout my work I want to encourage more women to breastfeed; rates of breastfeeding in the UK are the lowest in the world. In 2010 it was recorded that 83% of women start off exclusively breastfeeding their newborn, however after six months that figure drops to only 1%. This is because of the struggles which new mums go through, such as latching, thrush, mastitis, and other medical issues, but also how society and the public view breastfeeding.
I want each woman to be able to share their experience of breastfeeding in order to show others that it is not always an easy journey. There are many difficulties which you will encounter along the way, and most importantly this is normal.
Rachel 42, Toby 7 months old.
Women should be proud of this incredible gift they have, not hide away from it. Women should not feel ashamed to be breastfeeding wherever they are, they should be confident knowing that they are giving their baby the best start to life. However, more often than not breastfeeding mums feel the need to be discrete, to hide away from everyone else, whilst feeding their baby.
I want my work to make more women feel comfortable breastfeeding, but not shaming those who have chosen to bottle feed, or those who have been through the emotional journey breastfeeding but, for whatever reason, have had to go onto the bottle instead.
I believe that women should feel comfortable with their parenting decisions, whether that is bottle or breastfeeding. They should feel proud that they are doing the best job they can, not shy away, worried about what the rest of the world thinks. As one of the mothers said,
"Fed is best, no matter how you do it."
Rosanna 28, Monty 16 months old.