I've had this desire to photograph a nursing session ever since having my daughter back in January of this year. Nursing was something I had fully intended to pour myself into upon having my baby. Throughout my pregnancy, I read books on breastfeeding and I visited internet sites that provided support for moms who wished to provide this nourishment to their children. And, along with all of the beautiful stories I read about the mother-baby connections that just "worked" and all of the claims that "anyone can breastfeed if they really tried," I read the stories of failure and the devastation and depression that comes when what should work, doesn't.
And, I thought, "That won't be me."
January came and I had my precious baby girl and I loved her and nursing in the hospital came easily. She latched on perfectly and my lactation consultant was on call for me. It was a dream! Despite the soreness and discomfort of getting into the groove (which I had totally expected) things just sort of clicked! I knew it! It was a light among the blur of decisions and the terrible sadness we felt after learning of our baby's heart defect.
We went home with our baby girl and a couple of months passed with some letdowns in our breastfeeding journey but many triumphs. And, then I had the most terrible case of mastitis. I remember feeling like I physically couldn't move. I couldn't life my arms. I couldn't feed my baby without wanting to scream. I would pump and not even a quarter of an ounce would come after thirty minutes. And, we introduced formula as a supplement because my screaming baby was hungry.
After that ordeal, I lost my supply completely. I would allow Ava to latch consistently and I would pump regularly and nothing came. Vitamins and hot packs and massages; nothing worked. My baby permanently went on formula after two months of exclusive breastfeeding and an additional month of desperate trying and formula supplementation.
I felt like a complete and total failure. I cried to my husband. And, I beat myself up constantly. I didn't try hard enough. I didn't give it all I had. That must have been it.
It wasn't until much later that I learned that the success rate for long term breastfeeding in infants with severe Congenital Heart Defects was less than 5%.
I wished I had images of those precious moments, feeding my girl. Images outside of just the cell phone snapshots. I wished desperately that I had professional, beautiful, styled images of me and my sweet baby. Because those moments were gone and much more quickly than I had imagined. I won't get those back. It was a fleeting moment in her little life and in mine.
So, I decided that I wanted to offer that to other mothers. I'm so thankful that my friend, Rayshal, was willing to be my test subject for my first nursing session back in the summer. It was absolutely beautiful and she and her sweet girl were such a dream to work with.
Don't hesitate to have a nursing session of your own! Not having my own is probably one of my biggest regrets. Thank you, Rayshal, for allowing me to photograph you and your sweet baby as the start of my nursing portfolio.
To book your nursing session, contact me today through the "Contact" tab on the website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.