Breastfeeding stories penned

2019-09-10 06:01
Leah Hawker

Leah Hawker

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Fears of breastfeeding may be a thing of the past as a Leah Hawker tackles the topic in her new book titled Breastfeeding 101.

Leah is a professional photographer based in Woodstock.

Her work focuses on gender-based issues and her curiosity around the topic of breastfeeding and the breast. She compiled a 224-page book full of portraits and narrations as well as essays around the topic.

The project took her three years to complete as she travelled to various countries speaking to different women from diverse backgrounds.

During this time, she conducted 101 interviews and penned them down.

Leah’s favourite part of the book was to learn “totally new and often very surprising new facts” about all these women. She said the stories covered are not just about South African women.

“I photographed mothers from Somalia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Austria, Holland, Namibia, Malaysia, China, Portugal, South Africa and more,” says Leah.

She added that it is important that knowledge about cultural differences are shared, and feels the hardships of breastfeeding mothers should be embraced. Hence, she saw it fit that while summarising versions of the featured women she also tried to maintain the integrity and natural voice of each mother. “What makes Breastfeeding 101 special is that it is a first-hand information, directly from the women concerned about their breastfeeding experiences,” Leah says.

She hopes the book will change the stereotypes surrounding breasts and mothers who breastfeed.

“I was shocked when the 2018 statistics of the World Health Organisation was released and saw that our country has the lowest breastfeeding mothers in the world,” Leah says.

The book is targeted at new mothers.

It was launched at The Book Lounge in the central business district on Thursday 1 August.

V The book is available nationwide at Exclusive Books and other stores for R385 each. For more information visit


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