An Illinois photographer is shining a positive light on nursing through babyhood and beyond. In a series of photos titled "I Breastfeed My Toddler" (and in her forthcoming book, Breastfeeding Goddesses), Ivette Ivens beautifully captured the complicated, visceral side of breastfeeding, how it can make you feel powerful and nurturing and serene -- often all at the same time. Moms and babies were shot in windswept, ethereal settings and bathed in warm, natural light, but perhaps what's more striking is the look on their faces: tenderness, joy, love. It's not what many of us think about when we consider nursing past the one- or two-year mark -- which is exactly Ivens' point.
In fact, the mom of two is a bit of an authority on the topic. She breastfed her son past his third birthday, and currently nurses her 10-month-old. "Children know when it's time to wean off. Mothers do, too. Strangers don't know, so they shouldn't care," Ivens said in an article on The Huffington Post. As her art shows, the nursing a toddler is anything but fringe. Check out a few of our favorites photos below:
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
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Photos courtesy of Ivette Ivens