Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

An Interview: Breastfeeding101 – A portrayal of the pleasures & pains of breastfeeding

This is Emily

South African, age 29
Location- at the Christ Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town.
Feeding her 16 month old twins
Photographed October 2019

Feeding my twins was hard in the beginning. I had an amazing doula who helped me latch them both, and she helped me tandem feed them from the day they were born. But my girl had a bad latch that I could not correct, even with the help of a lactation consultant, and my boy had a mild tongue tie, all leading to painful blisters almost constantly for those first seven months. I also had something called vasospasm which caused painful spasming of my breasts whenever i was even a little bit cold. It was a lot of pain. With time it resolved, and now breastfeeding is just a joy, a wonderful way to comfort and nourish my babies.

In 2019 I published my first book, Breastfeeding 101, which features candid portraits of 101 breastfeeding women as well their honest stories. In this blog post you see one of the mothers represented with a short personal blurb about her breastfeeding journey.

The idea for this book was unexpectedly sparked three years ago when I started seeing a lot of controversial social media content about breasts, nipples and breastfeeding.

Looking forward I hope my book can help normalise what is already a women’s most natural act. I would love to see the breastfeeding percentage rate in South Africa double. It came as a surprise to learn that, according to the 2018 statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO), our country has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world.

Breastfeeding 101 features mothers from South Africa as well as around the globe and serves as a first-hand body of information – an unintentional handbook – directly from the women it captures.

Breastfeeding 101 is a book that wasn’t intended as a manual but may serve as one.

Basic info about the book:

Title: Breastfeeding 101
Publisher: Self-published via Staging Post
Format: Hardcover, 22 x 27cm, 224 pages
Price: ZAR385
Available for purchase via Exclusive Books, The Book Lounge and directly from the author.