World Breastfeeding Week 2019
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2019, I decided to offer a special for all nursing mothers in order to document this important time in their lives. Thanks to an old friend from school, I was able to photograph 18 incredible moms and their nurslings. The shoot took place a little after the festivities of World Breasteeding Week 2019 were over but the cause, normalizing breastfeeding, is something that we can support and talk about all year long.
As a birth and lifestyle photographer, I am passionate about documenting life authentically and all things motherhood are near and dear to my heart. Moms (and all parents) make so many sacrifices for our families so recognizing these choices and journeys helps to encourage each other and show our support for all. Birth photography is my specialty but there are so many different milestones and events that occur both before baby arrives and after they are born. and my heart yearns to capture all of them. I want you to be able to look back at your photos and remember the details and moments that define your story.
Below, I have included some of these moms’ own words that they gave me permission to share in this article.These are their stories and I am so honored that they shared them with me and are allowing me to share them with you. I asked them to think about including their struggles, favorite things about breastfeeding, and tips for new moms. I hope that moms reading this find helpful words of advice and/or solidarity. I also hope that anyone reading this who is not currently breastfeeding or planning to can learn some of the struggles that many nursing mamas face and maybe understand how being supportive can greatly increase our chances of breastfeeding successfully!
Breastfeeding has been an amazing and insane journey, and it means so much more than you could ever imagine. There is always help, always! Facebook Breastfeeding groups have been our lifeline through this journey, and we are still learning! I always tell people, breastfeeding starts out so hard, but before long it could end up being the easiest thing about having a baby.
It's been 7 years since I embarked on my breastfeeding adventure. One of the best things about motherhood for me is having the ability to nourish my babies over the years. I've worked incredibly hard and have stayed dedicated to this demanding task, and it was ALL WORTH IT. 56 months between my 4 kids to be exact, and still going!
• Breastfeeding is the best way for a baby to receive all their nutrients, and is important until at least the age if 2. Even at the age of 2, breast milk provides a huge percentage of his/her energy needs.
• "She doesn't need boob milk anymore, just give her cows milk!". Okay, let me stop you there. I'm raising tiny humans, not cows. Human milk is full of protective factors like secretory IgA, an antibody which protects the mucous membranes of the gut and respiratory tract from infection. Lactoferrin and Lysozyme + hundreds of other different components in the body help to protect breastfed babies from illness by stopping sickness in their tracks. Because of this, my kids rarely get sick. Just take a sample of breast milk and look at it under a microscope. Everything is moving and alive! Can formula do that? Nope! Around 3 million living cells, aka leukocytes, are found in just 1 tsp of breastmilk. Amazing!
• Feeding my babe straight from the tap gives my skin the ability to detect pathogens in her saliva, allowing me to produce antibodies to fight them before she gets ill. That alone blows my mind.
• Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to prevent the chances of getting breast cancer!
• It gives her a rush of oxytocin which makes her feel happy and sleepy. My breast milk during the night will actually integrate melatonin into my milk giving her extra sleep strength.
• It's instant pain relief when she hurts herself and helps her calm down after a tantrum.
• Breastfeeding creates the most beautiful bond a mother can have with her child. Knowing that I am the sole provider for my child's nutrition makes me feel like a hero..talk about self esteem boosting!
I feel incredibly proud of myself and other Mama's who choose to breastfeed their little ones. It's hard. It hurts. It's demanding. But oh! it is so, so beautiful.
Once I'm done nursing my sweet baby girl, my goal is to start donating milk to the NICU and other places that are in need of breastmilk.
*Here's a helpful tip! Make some lactation cookies. Google a recipe online and bake away. Put the made batches of cookies in the freezer and take one out when you feel you need to boost your milk supply. It's seriously a lifesaver!
How amazing is it that our bodies are designed to make milk that meets the day to day needs of our little ones?
This opportunity came at such a special time for me and 2nd child. I always struggled with supply nursing my first son and I am greatful that I was able to give him some breast milk the first 9 months of his life. I’m so happy that when my son was 2 months old my body was able to produce enough breast milk to exclusively breastfeed. It’s such a joy to nurse him and knowing that he is getting antibodies to help his immune system and nourishment means so much to me. It also gives me another reason to hold and cuddle my baby boy. If there are any moms who struggle with supply I highly recommend Almond milk! Almond milk really helped get my supply up. I’ll drink one cup of the chocolate flavor with breakfast and one in the evening. And of course drinking lots water helps too.
For my first child, breastfeeding was a challenge: she was in the NICU for the first several days of life and had bottles as a result, which made getting back to breast difficult, so we used a nipple shield, and she also had ties, which caused thrush and cracked nipples and all kinds of problems, but we got the ties cut and weaned from the nipple shield and then spent several months fighting low supply/low weight gain and dairy intolerance issues, until everything evened out at about 6 months, and we continued breastfeeding until she was 2.5 years old.
Breastfeeding can be beautiful, intoxicating, even, connecting your soul to your child's, but it's also hard and about persevering through the phases. I'm glad I've been able to breastfeed my two children. It's not something that came easily to me, and I could have easily given up, and I still could, so every little milestone is something to be proud of--I made it through colostrum, I made it out of the newborn phase, the first teeth, I made it to 6 months, to a year, I made it to two years. Now, I just look to the next goal for my newest little, and that's all I can do.
Where to even begin. For me the hardest thing I encountered was repeated clogged ducts that kept coming back in the same place and ultimately had a lasting effect on my milk supply. I was no longer able to produce enough for my baby, she lost weight, I got shamed by her pediatrician, and ultimately found donor milk to supplement with. The physical discomfort was nothing compared to the emotional toll. The other thing I continue to struggle with is working full time and sending my child to daycare. I find pumping to be a bit degrading and I’d much rather be with my baby 24/7 to allow her to nurse on demand. All of it is worth it for the intense bond my baby and I share. I love being her source of comfort and I hope to continue being her source of comfort for years to come.
Being a mom of twins, the hardest part is the time it takes to breastfeed them, even with tandem feeding and the back pain that comes with it, but I would not change it for the world. I love the bonding that we have, the m way they look up at me so lovingly. "Don't give up" will be my advice. There will be time it feels like your milk is drying up but it is probably just the body adjusting to the demand. Stick with it because breastfeeding is so worthy.
My breastfeeding journey was difficult at the start. Amelia was jaundice and would fall asleep before she could latch to feed. We tried different positions, had to strip her down to her diaper and use a cold cloth to keep her awake and it still wasn’t enough. I really wanted to be able to breastfeed her and wasn’t ready to give up. I asked for a pump to help my milk come in and would syringe feed Amelia when she was awake. The nurses on the Peds floor worked with me in between Amelia’s phototherapy sessions. We were able to establish a latch and the nurses would tube feed milk through the side of Amelia’s mouth while Amelia was on my breast. This helped us establish a good latch/breast relationship and Amelia became a milk loving machine. I never thought I’d love breastfeeding as much as I have but it has created such a special bond between Amelia and I. We went through a heartbreaking miscarriage with our first pregnancy and so I cherish every moment with our sweet little rainbow. Knowing that I can soothe her and make her feel safe, happy and loved while nourishing her with all the breast milk goodness is the best feeling in the world!!
To new mommas, never give up on your breastfeeding journey if it’s what you really want. Ask for help, seek out a Lactation consultant and find what works for you and your baby. It’s a magical journey!!!
3rd bf babe. 9.5 yr-5 months. But longest journey. I've worked hard, and I'm more mature than 21 yr old 1st time mom, me. My 2nd had a posterior tongue tie and a high arched pallet. Hurt like the dickins to feed. Stopped at 3 months. This finale and surprise babe has been a breeze. Untile teething. At a fresh 5 months he has FOUR teeth! We are working through it! Mini goal is 6months, almost there, then 12 months at least. Lack of sleep, but a loving bond... One day at a time all for the love of my Finale baby.
With my second baby, Isabella, I had such an easier time with our breastfeeding journey. I was able to save another 3,000oz (as I did with my first) by pumping excess milk after feedings. My 19 month old toddler still enjoys my breast milk in a sippy once a day💕
My favorite thing about breastfeeding, of COURSE is the bond you create with your child. Your body is so amazing; you create a whole human, and then it continues to nourish that human outside the womb. I even nursed friends babies, and gave them my milk, via bottle.
The one bit of advice for new moms trying to breastfeed; it’s hard as hell. I can’t tell you it’s not. It’s exhausting, demanding, and it definitely hurts, but, it is 1000000% worth it.
After nursing two children back to back, I will always breastfeed any future baby that exits my body, any baby that needs it, mine or not.
Breastfeeding is awesome, and I whole heartedly hope that a mom that wants to give up, takes it day by day and ends up pushing through 💕
The hardest part about breastfeeding is feeling like you’re not giving your baby enough. When you have moments like that, it makes you want to just give up, making a bottle seems so much easier & a lot less stressful BUT, you have to push through!
We’ve been doing this journey for 18 months but, I almost stopped when Lillianna was 2 days old because I didn’t think I was producing enough. NEVER trust what you pump, that does NOT determine your output! Baby will always get more milk than what a pump can get.
Fight though those tears, that pain (trust me it goes away), fight through all those struggles that come with breastfeeding, it is so worth it and if you feel like you can’t do it anymore, that is OKAY! Don’t be hard on yourself, always always always remember, fed is best!
Hardest part was trusting my body when people and even a nurse told me my milk wasn’t enough.
Advice: your body knows what your baby needs . Relax and latch 💗
The hardest thing about breastfeeding is remembering to not stress about anything in life. Any amount of stress or upset emotions can cause a dip in supply. Remembering to drink a sufficient amount of water is also critical. I’m a huge soda fan. I’m blessed with my supply. I plan on going to school for becoming a lactation consultant in my future. What I love the most about breastfeeding is the happy vibes it gives me. Knowing I am doing what is the absolute best for my children makes me feel blissful. With my first, I couldn’t fully breastfeed. I lost my supply at 6 weeks due to postpartum depression and anxiety. So, when I found out about our second daughter, I studied and researched to the fullest about breastfeeding. She will be 2 in November and still occasionally breastfeeds. It’s her comfort. Our son, who is 3 months, is EBF and makes a huge mess when eating from a bottle. So anywhere I go- he goes. I have almost 300 oz frozen. For a new mom looking to breastfeed- I encourage you to push through anything your new journey throws your way. Lanolin, a correct latch & you’re set. Just make sure you drink your water! Oh, and don’t listen to everyone when it comes to Fenugreek supplements. That only works for some. You don’t want to risk your supply by trying to up it, and the opposite happens!
The hardest part about my breastfeeding journey was the first 2 weeks when my baby would not latch and I was feeding him through a syringe. I had an over supply so when he’d latch, he was ‘choking himself’ because he couldn’t swallow all that came out as he sucked. Also getting comfortable with breastfeeding in public, my family was supportive but the looks given by strangers was what bothered me when i was only feeding my child.
My favorite thing about breastfeeding is the bond that my son and I have created, it’s cost efficient, and always ready!
Tips for new breastfeeding moms: don’t give up, your body was made for this! Stay hydrated, eat properly, and nurse as often as baby shows sign of hunger. In order to make milk you have to move milk! 💙
This was my first big project and I am amazed and humbled that so many strong women trusted me enough to participate. For more images as well as information about this session and future projects, please make sure to follow us on social media and sign up for the client newsletter. I look forward to planning more projects and meeting more awesome people along this journey!