Inspiring Photo Series Proves the Breastfeeding Struggle is Real

Having trouble breastfeeding? These stunning pictures will make you feel a little less alone.

When Florida-based photographer, Natalie McCain had her first child, she knew she wanted to breastfeed but she had no idea how difficult it would be. For something that's so special, and oftentimes, a fast way to bond with your new baby, McCain was devastated when her premature child couldn't latch on. It took two months of pumping and many lactation consultations to finally have her daughter easily breastfeed.

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 1: “I grew up in an extremely conservative household and was taught most of my life that breasts were purely sexual. I had no idea how I would handle breastfeeding in public. Soon I got used to my breasts being exposed and started to realize that I don’t have to feel shame.

It was because of her experience that McCain created one of the latest series in her Honest Body Project: 'Surviving the Struggle & Why Support Matters,' which is all about the difficulties of breastfeeding. The series highlights different women sharing their—totally normal—struggles in feeding their children. For McCain, it was important to empower women to realize that breastfeeding might not always be easy, but they're not alone in the journey.

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 2: “Thankfully my second baby only had trouble for a few hours or so and then a nurse suggested, ‘Why don’t you go skin-to-skin with her?’ We went skin to skin and boom she had the best latch ever.”

Related: 5 Gorgeous Photos That Lay the Bottle vs. Breast Debate to Rest

"I was very lucky to be surrounded by support and able to work through the struggles we had," McCain told Fit Pregnancy. "I wanted to create this series to help show that breastfeeding can be hard and that if you're having trouble, try to reach out and find support to get through it. If a mother wants to breastfeed, we need to support her as much as possible to help her succeed."

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 3: “There were a few nights at 3am, when I had not slept more than 3 hours in 2 days with nipples so chapped and swollen, that I cringed at the thought of her latching. Having the support and someone going through it with me helped a lot.”

This powerful series tells moving stories that are candid and raw, illustrating just how personal and emotional becoming a new mom can really be. It's a feeling McCain knows all too well: "I remember the second day in the hospital after having my son I was bawling my eyes out, my nipples were hurting and I forgot how being a human pacifier felt," she said. "The lactation consultant came and sat with me, reassured me, helped improve the latch, hugged me and reminded me that I can do this. I didn't question our breastfeeding journey again after that moment. Being supported is so important."

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 4: “I was really emotionally unprepared for the difficulties I had nursing this time since he was my third child and I felt so experienced."

Regardless if you're trying to breastfeed, did breastfeed or will one day, let these women's photos guide you.

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 5: “I thought about quitting every single day. We were supplementing with formula and I knew we could easily make the switch to formula at any point. I made it my goal to get through the end of that day. Then the next morning my goal was to make it through that day. Eventually it just got easier and easier.”

Honest Body Project Photo Series Supports Breastfeeding Moms Natalie McCain
CAPTION 6: “Everything seemed perfect at first but it just got more painful each time he would nurse. It was a toe curling pain…my nipple was cracked. I was very worried that we would have to stop. After about a week we went to the lactation consultant. She just adjusted his body around me and the pain was gone.”

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