Does anyone else feel like breastfeeding mothers can't catch a break?
I know I do.
That's part of why I found these images of mothers breastfeeding their toddlers taken by Natalie McCain so damn compelling.
For part of her "Honest Body Project", Natalie captured mothers in the intimate act of feeding their children.
What makes these photos so eye-catching is that these women look like you and me, beautiful and strong, and the fact that the children that they are breastfeeding are toddlers.
Mothers who nurse their toddlers catch a ridiculous amount of flack for doing so.
People are so quick to judge others about the way they chose to parent, and when you factor in a woman's body, in particular, her breasts, it's like strangers don't have enough judgment to pour out!
We don't see women nursing toddlers everyday, because many women who do have been taught to be embarrassed or ashamed of doing so.
That's what makes these photos Natalie McCain took so magical.
They are beautiful and striking, and send a message about mothers who breastfeed toddlers:
There is literally nothing wrong with it!
IT IS WHAT BOOBS ARE FOR, YOU GUYS.
In fact, the World Health Organization says that babies should breastfeed exclusively for six months and breastfeed in addition to eating other foods up to age two AND BEYOND.
If you want to judge someone, how about instead of judging the moms who decide to breastfeed their kids into their toddler years, you judge a society that continues to think it knows best how to deal with a woman's body.
I'm not a mom, but my best friend is one, and she's still nursing her two and a half-year-old. You'd be amazed and what people think it's acceptable to say to her about it. As if it's their business what any breastfeeding mom is doing.
I kind of understand the whole controversy surrounding stuff like the "free the nipple" campaign. I don't agree with people who think nipples, and boobs in general, should be hidden out of sight, but I also understand that we live in a society where women's bodies are totally sexualized.
Of course women who show their nipples are going to be shamed.
And of course, that's also going to apply to women who are just trying to nurture their growing child.
But that doesn't make it right.
The stigma against women who still nurse their toddlers is real, and it's also awful.
I don't mean to stand here with my hands on my hips shaking my head and preaching, but a woman who is breastfeeding her toddler isn't "weird" or "gross", she's chosen to continue to provide breast milk to her developing child, something countless studies have indicated is ESSENTIAL to their health, wellness, and brain development.
If you see a mom nursing a toddler and cringe, YOU are the problem.
She's just doing what she believes is best for her child, and she deserves our respect and support, not our censure and judgment.
Ultimately every parent has to figure out what works best for their body and their kid.
We're mammals, we breastfeed, which means whether the prudes like it or not, you're probably gonna see some nipples in your time on planet earth.
Deal with it.