During a recent newborn session, I was asked by my client to photograph his wife while she nursed their baby boy. He said, “I’d love for you to photograph my wife while she nurses him. He is so peaceful and quiet during this time.” This is not a request I hear often, especially from a dad, but I thought it was such an incredibly sweet request, and I was happy to do it. He watched tenderly as his little boy received nourishment from his beautiful wife – I was quite touched. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and natural thing and part of the bonding process between mother and child – bottle feeding too (I’ve done both). Think about it – feeding your baby is a HUGE part of those first few weeks home with baby when everyone is settling in and getting to know each other – why NOT document it?
It really got me thinking how I would have loved to have photographs of myself nursing my children. I’ll admit, having my breasts on film would have been a little scary for me, as I wasn’t comfortable with how big they were (EE cup). I’m afraid you wouldn’t be able to see my baby’s head in there! Ha ha! All kidding aside though, I really would love to have those photos now. Nursing with my son wasn’t always wonderful. It was frustrating and I did lots of crying, but when we got it right, those are moments I’ll never forget. My daughter was much easier, not sure if I was just better from experience or if she was just a better nurser, but I truly enjoyed those private moments with her and even miss it at times.
Nourishing your child, be it by breast or bottle, is probably the thing you do most often when you bring home a new baby (besides changing diapers, of course). It makes sense to document that time and capture the beauty of that relationship between mom and baby while nursing or even dad and baby while bottle feeding. It was nice to take a break from those posed and cutesy hat and props photos of this little boy and just capture him and his mommy in their most natural pose of the day. Watching and documenting those touching and private moments in the life of a family – that is what I love so much about this job. Big thanks to Bill (you know who you are) for your wonderful suggestion and for reminding me that some of the most beautiful moments happen in between prop changes.