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People are upset about this breastfeeding photo for all the wrong reasons.

Alas, this picture will just about do me.

I’m calling it.

This photo is bullshit.

This breastfeeding picture has created controversy around the world after it ignited the “when is a child too old to be breastfed?” debate. Let me begin by saying, FORGET IT. I don’t give a baby’s-merconium-smelling-fart about how long a mother chooses to breastfeed her child. Hell, breastfeed your child during her high school graduation for all I care. Go for it.

But I do have a problem with this.

Paulina Splechta, the photographer, told Mamabean, “I am proud to be able to capture this amazing moment, but I am even more hopeful that through the work that I do, I can help contribute to spreading the word in our society that breastfeeding is normal.”

Newsflash: this moment is not normal.

The Waves 

I would struggle to swim in that swell BY MYSELF. Let alone with a child. Let alone with a child suckling at my breast.

breastfeeding photos

I’m really worried about this woman’s lovely top. 

Also, I couldn’t even wear that top without being paranoid of sticky, dirty baby fingers coming anywhere near it.

The Sunset

Two words come to mind when I see that sunset. Witching. Hour.

I cannot do anything or be anything other than a slave to my children at this time.

“Would you like another yoghurt, sire?”

“Shall I do the buttons up on your pyjamas?”

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Sometimes I feel like bloody Carson The Butler from Downton Abbey as I dress and feed my tired, emotional people.

Going outside? To the beach? In the water? My head might spin off if I think about it any more.

The Position

When you’re breastfeeding, it’s all about the position, right?

Football hold. Traditional hold. Latching. Burping. Gagging. My heavens, I could write a book about it. (Because we all know we need another book on breastfeeding). Let me paint a picture for you:

The average mother is propped on a comfortable couch (or the most comfortable she can find), cushions surrounding her back, pillows under her arm. Sometimes she’s sweaty from being so – well, so bloody – close to another body. It’s a process. It’s a process when you’re in the comfort of your own home.

breastfeeding photos

Breast-feeding at the beach doesn’t look like this. 

Breastfeeding AT THE BEACH? I’ve tried it. It is possible the most awkward and ridiculous and crying-inducing activity a mother can do. Sand everywhere, the baby doesn’t feed properly, the baby is hungry, the baby is cranky, it’s glarey, windy, rocky, shelly and annoying because all you want to do is: ENJOY THE BEACH.

It’s basically the complete opposite of this picture.

Today, I viewed this photo with other mothers from our office. Women who have spent night-after-night massaging their breasts with olive oil in a bid to eradicate mastitis.

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Women who have paid physios ridiculous amounts of money to heal their sore necks from persisting to latch a babe onto their breast and almost broken their neck whilst doing it. Women who have endured sticky jewellery and watches as they’ve unknowingly filled with leaking milk and vomit.

Women who know that breastfeeding certainly doesn’t look like this.

At all.

Breastfeeding is much, much more.

In the morning, it’s beautiful.

In the day, it’s demanding.

In the afternoon, it’s annoying.

In the evening, it’s painful.

Alissa.

In the middle of the night, it’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s unforgettable. Through the tiring minutes, you know this is a short season. A moment you won’t share with anyone else. It’s pure. It’s precious.

Breastfeeding isn’t about anyone else.

But this photo is for us. She’s staring at you and me. And I think that’s a real shame. For her, her baby and us.

Because it’s not real for anyone.

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