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Breastfeeding stories: Chaneen

This was from my first ever session doing these breastfeeding images. Chaneen and I wanted to get together and give mothers of all colours and heritage a voice. It was an honour and pleasure to work together. This is her story.

Chaneen: “Growing up I never saw anyone breastfeeding. I have a vague memory of one auntie who possibly breastfed – however it was always quite hidden, and the comments she received from other family members were always one where she or her son was the brunt of a joke. “He’s too old for that now,” or “he’ll be attached to you until he’s 16” were the type of comments I remember them making. I never really paid too much attention to it, I just thought it was fine and that the baby looked really happy so it must be the right thing. And I continued on about my life not knowing what breasts were actually for until I was already over 20 weeks pregnant. I’ve gone to an antenatal class and I had learned about the breast crawl, the nutritional value of breastmilk and the ever-changing state of breastmilk particles to adapt itself to meet both mother and babies needs. After learning this and sharing this information with a few of my close friends and family members it dawned on me pretty quickly that most people don’t know anything about breastfeeding. Therefore I was always the most knowledgeable one in the room, and whenever comments came my way that suggested I shouldn’t continue to breastfeed I felt as though I knew better.

The research that I had done made me feel really confident in my decision to continue breastfeeding. In the early days I had one midwife in particular who helped me latch the baby on. Outside of that I don’t recall having much breastfeeding support. Once I started sharing my own breastfeeding journey online I did become part of a massive online community of breastfeeding mothers, and there was so much encouragement and so much information being shared that we all felt quite supported by one another, although there was a general consensus that each mother wished she would have had (more) professional support after giving birth.

I found quite a lot of support in my family once I had made it very clear that I had no intention of stopping breastfeeding at six months, and once I had educated on the nutritional value, and the emotional and mental benefits for both Mother And Baby for extended breastfeeding.

My tandem feeding journey was brilliant, of course it had its ups and downs just like anything else. But it was another thing that I was capable of, even after being told by healthcare professionals that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed both a baby and a toddler, or that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed during pregnancy. Having busted those myths I feel incredibly empowered, and I know that I have empowered hundreds if not thousands of other women to continue their journeys despite ignorant advice that they may receive from friends, family, society or even healthcare professionals!

I have recently just finished breastfeeding my youngest daughter at the age of three and weaning was something that I found to be quite easy because I followed a structure that I had created based on what I understood to be the best way. I offered much emotional support for my child, for myself, and I offer a lot of emotional support around breastfeeding and motherhood in general on my social media channels"


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