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The realities of breastfeeding today—a photo essay

I ventured into over 50 Boston-based families' homes and lives to document their typical breastfeeding routines.

The realities of breastfeeding today—a photo essay

As a breastfeeding mother, the desire to share the realities of breastfeeding—the good, the bad, and the painful—led me to begin this project where I ventured into over 50 Boston-based families' homes and lives to document their typical breastfeeding routines. I'd strap my baby boy into a wrap (often nursing him while I photographed) and would talk with families about how breastfeeding fit into their lives. Below, you'll see the highlights of our days and will hear directly from the person in the picture about what breastfeeding means to them.

It was my overall goal that these photographs could empower families and make the barriers of breastfeeding more manageable. It is my hope that this project will continue to normalize breastfeeding and, in turn, help new parents feel more prepared, more informed and more supported throughout their breastfeeding journey.

As I began to nurse my second child, I found breastfeeding to be a great deal easier for me due to my experience with having already breastfed my older child, but also because of the confidence and support these families gave me. I am forever grateful to them and this body of work.

Emily and Eleanor

Gina Marie Brocker

Emily: "The first few weeks of breastfeeding were emotional chaos. The magic of feeding Eleanor with my own body was instantaneous, but it was immediately accompanied by self-doubt, fear, pain, and loneliness.

"By the third day, I was certain I couldn't continue. By the sixth day, I was certain I could. By the 10th, I wasn't certain of anything. Now I can't stand to think of the day that I finally stop nursing her. So many memories of her first weeks have faded in the months that have followed, but I can summon the simultaneous joy and dread of her first few feedings with no effort at all."

To see more of Gina Marie Brocker's photographs from the series Latched On, please visit her website.

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