Heather Gallagher is a documentary photographer often behind the photos you see here on Love Child. One of the first conversations we had when we met during a shoot was about breastfeeding. I was new to the breastfeeding game and she was more than willing to share some advice. It was during this time, nearly two years ago, that she mentioned she was still breastfeeding her son who was 2 at the time. Fast forward two years to 2018, my breastfeeding journey ended at 13 months (about to start round 2 with new baby next month) but Heather has continued her journey, allowing it to slow and eventually stop when her four year old son is ready to self-wean. While extended breastfeeding is normal in so many other countries, it is met with differing views here in the US. Like everything having to do with breastfeeding, we continue our fight to normalize it and accept that the journey is different for every family. Heather stopped by to share her experience with extended breastfeeding, the benefits she has noticed, and how she plans to allow her son to self-wean, today on Love Child. Photography by Kayla Gonzales of Austin Birth Photos
Tell us a little about yourself and family.
My husband, Tim and I have been together for 11 years, married for just under 9. We moved to Austin in 2011 from NYC where we met and together we have a four year old son, Lee (short for Levon). We both own and run our own businesses that focus on community, St Elmo Brewing Company and Heather Gallagher Photography.
Did breastfeeding come easy for you?
Did you ever feel the need to hide your choice to practice extended breastfeeding from your family or friends?
Have you faced any criticism for your choice to continue breastfeeding beyond infancy/toddlerhood?
Critics say there is potential for “emotional dependency”. Have you witnessed this with your child?
Were there points in your breastfeeding journey that you or your son began to wean?
How often do you breastfeed your son?
Let’s talk about your supply. How much milk do you think you still produce? Has it always been consistent?
What benefits have you seen from extended breastfeeding?
When and how do you plan to wean?
We’re letting nature take its course. He’s showing less and less interest and my supply is dwindling. It’s classic supply and demand. I can feel this chapter coming to a close and as much as I’ve had my moments of wanting it to be over, now that I know it is soon coming to an actual end, it’s bittersweet.