Depending on how many young mothers you might know, you may or may not have seen this post on Facebook over the weekend:
It’s a series of photographs that, well — are in equal parts beautiful and likely to make anyone who isn’t a breastfeeding mum feel uncomfortable.
Shot and edited by Singapore photographer couple Jen Pan and Ray Co, the first two of three-parter “The Magical World of Breastfeeding” features two mums with their babies, and on Pan’s photography blog, she also tells their stories.
Pan and her husband have worked the photography circuit for years, and were inspired to move into mum and baby photography when she became pregnant with her second child, who is now 15 months old.
The series, in her words, is for her “a stand against workplace discrimination“. Pan, a 31-year-old mum of two, says she has heard many stories of women who faced difficulties at work because they needed to pump their milk to store for their babies — one mum, for instance, was put on probation, and told her pumping milk at work was affecting her efficiency.
Another was discouraged from pumping milk discreetly at her cubicle — she was doing that because there was nowhere else for her to do so — and was told it was distracting to her colleagues.
On average, writes Pan, a nursing mum would take about 20 minutes to pump milk; this would have to be done between two to three times during the day at most. Compare this with a person who might perhaps take coffee or smoke breaks that amount to similar, if not longer times, she argues, and it no longer makes sense for one to be treated differently from the other.
And indeed, why disallow a woman from doing what she needs to do to ensure her baby/ies are nourished, right?
It’s also dangerous, by the way, for a woman who is actively producing milk to not be able to let it out at suitable intervals — boobs that get too full will swell and leak, and lead to great pain.
This results in mastitis, an infection that involves fever, lumps in the breasts and a lot of discomfort (imagine your chest feeling like it’s about to explode) in general, and the solution? More pumping!
Anyway, here are more photos from Pan, of Audra, a brave mum who posed with the youngest of her three kids in the centre of the Central Business District:
And here’s another series of photos Pan took, this time with a young mum in the woods:
Applause for these two brave mums!
Now, if you came here just to gawk at pictures of exposed boobs, here’s something you can do: If you happen to know someone at work who is breastfeeding a baby or needs time out to pump her milk, give them some encouragement, support and space — encourage your boss to be kind to them too.
Top photo courtesy of Jen Pan Photography.