It is World Breast Feeding Week!
In the short 5 months since my daughter’s birth I have logged more hours in a rocking chair, nursing pillow on my lap, with her attached to my breast, than I ever thought possible. Breastfeeding is a strange collision of doing nothing and doing everything all at once. It is to know the touch of a tiny hand and to reach your daily touch quotient, sometimes before 9 am. It is to produce life giving liquid and wake up covered in it. Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding is beautiful. Breastfeeding is bonding in a way I’ve ever know. It is messy. It is all consuming yet routine. It is complex and yet controversial. It both a grace and a grind. In the end it is life and life is beautiful.
As a mom and photographer I adore these images. I also know first hand that it is not always possible for every mom. I supplemented formula for the first week of my daughter’s life because that is what she needed. We fought hard and were able to resume exclusively breastfeeding. However it was not with out many tears and dark self-doubt. If we needed to stay with formula we would have. Please know my heart for you and your family is nothing but love and support. Keeping tiny humans alive is HARD! I choose to honor breastfeeding, especially the first latch, in my work but it in no way is meant to discount other forms of feeding. You are all seen, all loved, and all supported. Keep feeding those babies.
While you do enjoy some of my favorite images of mamas feeding babies. Maybe even while feeding your own.
– xo, Erin
These images will always be special to me as it was the first time a mom asked me to document this special moment. She knew their journey was coming to an end soon and wanted pictures of their time. While my work has improved since then I will always be inspired by these moments.
So often the images I make of breastfeeding revolve around the first latch. Watching a baby find mama’s breast and know that this is life and comfort is such an incredible thing.
Yet, it is also a skill that has to be learned, both for mama and baby. I love watching amazing nurses, midwives and lactation consultants teach us new moms and babies how it is done.
I love how nursing a new little one seems to quiet the room. Tiny fingers are explored, hair is caressed, and features are examined. Family gathers to embrace new life and the bonding begins.
Sometimes birth does not follow our well laid plans. Babies come early or there are complications and the first days are spent needing the life giving support of the NICU. Mom’s pump and pray that one day they will experience a breastfeeding relationship. Feeding takes place among wires with heart monitors beating out lullabies.
Breastfeeding is often a journey that last long beyond the first latch. It follows us into our lives where we juggle nursing covers and family members. Babies become more alert and grab noses, squirming as they eat. It because an adventure and challenge as it evolves.
And sometimes it looks like a mix of donated milk and pumped milk and formula and whatever it takes to feed your babies. Times two! Moms (and dads) feeding multiples have my upmost respect!
How great is this perfect latch! This little one was enthusiastic about eating from the very beginning.
And there is nothing better than a milk drunk little one!
Wanting resources to support you on the breastfeeding journey? Check out La Leche League for more resources