This weekend we hit the 13 month mark in our breastfeeding journey, and I can't believe it.
If you had asked me prior to getting pregnant how long I planned on nursing my child, I probably would have said 6 months- one year. Now I look back at my past self and laugh a little bit...oh how I knew nothing!
There are things you don't realize until you start breastfeeding.
#1 is that it's SO much more than nourishment. You are providing your baby with comfort and a safe place. It's a beautiful thing to know you hold that power.
#2. How difficult breastfeeding is for some of us moms (myself included!). Low supply issues, lip/tongue tie issues, inverted nipples, mastitis, sore nipples, etc. Or how difficult it is to continue breastfeeding, especially the full time working mamas who have to fight for pumping breaks at work (you mamas ROCK by the way!). Or moms on elimination diets (you mamas inspire me! What you do for your babies is truly amazing!) It truly is a labor of love to continue breastfeeding, and to work through all the struggles.
If you talk to me in person about breastfeeding portraits and why I choose to photograph them, you'll probably see tears form in my eyes. That is how passionate I am about photographing breastfeeding sessions. I was one of those moms with breastfeeding struggles, and for me breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I didn't want to give up, so I worked and worked to create the wonderful breastfeeding relationship we have now. It wasn't easy, and I know a lot of other moms struggle as well. For me, to be able to preserve these precious memories is a wonderful thing because I'm not only capturing a special bond between a mama and her baby, I am helping mom celebrate her struggles, to celebrate her perseverance, to celebrate her love and dedication to her baby.
The older my son gets, the more my “why” for taking breastfeeding portraits has changed a little bit. It's not just about celebrating a mother's journey to breastfeed, it's celebrating a journey that will eventually come to a bittersweet end. It's about capturing this bond you have with them while you still can.
So many of my mama clients come to me when they realize their babies are weaning and this precious journey is coming to an end. It's a combination of celebrating their strength throughout their journey, but also acknowledging the sad truth that this is it. It's a happy time, an emotional time, and an important time to capture.
If you are still reading, my point is to take breastfeeding portraits, moms. Celebrate this journey you have worked so hard for. Capture the beautiful moments that happen when you nurse your child. Celebrate how amazing YOU are for giving your child such a huge piece of yourself and giving such dedication. Have breastfeeding portraits to celebrate YOURSELF, your strength, your persistence, your struggles, and your love for your babies.
Because years down the road, you will want to have these portraits to look at. To remember this time in your life and tell your children about it. To look back and feel proud for everything you did for your babies.
You deserve it <3