This is a personal project I’ve wanted to do since my first son, Harrison, was a baby. I wanted to show what our ‘normal’ was when it came to breastfeeding.
After hearing so many people worry that they were breastfeeding too often, or not enough, or that their child woke up too many times in the night. After hearing them ask the question, ‘is this normal?’ I wanted to show that it is.
This project, however, has been falling to the bottom of the to do list since I first thought of it. By the time I finally prioritised it, I had 2 sons, both of whom I am breastfeeding. My ‘normal’ has changed, but it’s still normal and still I want to share it.
These photos were taken over 24 hours, with every breastfeed being photographed and timed.
My husband, 2 sons, my mum, and I, were on holiday.
My sons were 2 years and 4 months, and 9 weeks old respectively.
Anyone know what ‘normal’ is?!!
Is it a toddler who sleeps through the night? Is it a baby who wakes up hourly? Is it bed sharing?
Is it breastfeeding, exclusively expressing, formula feeding?
The truth is that it’s all of these things. Every parent is different, every child is different, every situation is different, so we’ll all do things differently. What’s important to remember, though, is that all those ‘different’s are normal.
For me, it’s normal to breastfeed. I breastfeed my 2 sons who are now 2 and a half years old, and 6 months old.
Breastfeeding might not seem ‘normal’ to some. Breastfeeding 2 children might not seem ‘normal’. Breastfeeding a toddler might not seem ‘normal’, but it is.
It’s my normal. It’s lots of people’s normal.
There’s nothing special, or extravagant, or outrageous, or offensive about it. It’s just what we do. It’s boring really, mundane, just another family’s meal time routine.
But, like all things child related, it’ll be judged. Some will love it, some will hate it. Both parties will make their thoughts heard on the subject. But whilst the debates ensue, I’ll be here, doing my normal, whilst you’re there, doing yours.
For those who want a glimpse in to a different normal, or perhaps want to celebrate a normal similar to their own, here is what 24 hours of breastfeeding looks like to me.
It’s ‘normal’ for my toddler to wake a few times through the night.
It’s ‘normal’ for my baby to sleep for a long stretch at the beginning of the night, and wake up a couple of times in the morning.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed both at once.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed them separately.
It’s ‘normal’ to play games with my toddler, whilst feeding the baby.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed my sons to sleep.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed my newborn 12 times a day, for a total of 3 hours and 36 minutes.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed my toddler 9 times a day, for a total of 1 hour and 22 minutes.
It’s ‘normal’ to spend 4 hours and 58 minutes breastfeeding in a single day.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed at home.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed in a cafe at lunch.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed in a pub at dinner.
It’s ‘normal’ to breastfeed at a friend’s house.
It’s just as ‘normal’ to breastfeed my toddler in public as it is to breastfeed my newborn in public.
So, if you’re feeling alone when you’re up for the 4th time in a night feeding your babies, or when you’re breastfeeding in public, or when you’re taking a couple of hours to get ready to go out having paused for the 3rd feed, you’re not. I’m there too. We’re ‘normal’.
To the trolls
A little message to the internet trolls who will criticise and scold.
Every comment, like, and share, of this post helps increase its reach. It spreads my message that breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, and tandem breastfeeding, is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
I thank you, in advance, for helping spread this positive message
I’d love it if you would #ShowMeYourNormal with this hashtag. Give me a tag too so I don’t miss it. Whatever that ‘normal’ looks like (breastfeeding, expressing, donor milk, formula feeding), it’d be great to show other people they aren’t alone. No judgement, no wars. Just support.