Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

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

This is Penny

South African, age 37
Location- at the Christ Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town.
Feeding her 2-year-old child
Photographed October 2019

While it hasn’t always been easy or comfortable (who knew a thrush infection on your nipples would feel like razor blades?!) and there’ve been two years of constant night waking, Ive come to really enjoy this special time-out we share together. It’s an intimate bonding session, it heals wounds, alleviates fear, reconnects us when we’ve been apart, sends him into a peaceful secure sleep and wakes him gently to enjoy his day.

And for me its quiet time. Sometimes we both fall asleep. It relaxes me. It re-centres me. Sometimes its just a 5 minute snack that helps me through the day- its that headspace I need to be a better mom.

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.