World Breastfeeding Week - Birth and Newborn Photographer / Plymouth Birth and Newborn Photography

This week is World Breastfeeding Week! Having joined the birth community in our area, I have learned so much about all things birth and baby. I've also learned to start to see beauty in places that I hadn't noticed it before (sadly). One of those places is breastfeeding. After photographing dozens of babies, I have also photographed dozens of nursing sessions and wow, those images always stop me in my tracks.

The bond is breathtaking.

As a mom who nursed for 18 months, I know first hand the bond that breastfeeding can create between a mother and baby. Capturing that bond in an image is always so stunning. Whether it is a brand new baby or an older toddler, this bond is always immediately apparent in nursing pictures and I know without a doubt that these mothers will love looking back on these images (once those long nights of cluster feeding and comfort nursing have passed).

The moment is fleeting.

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Even for those moms who choose to (and are physically able to) partake in extended breastfeeding, the sweet moments of rocking and quietly whispering to their babies goes so fast. Suddenly, one day, you realize that your days of breastfeeding are numbered and your child needs you just a little less. Its such a bitter sweet feeling; partly relief to be "free" and partly heartbreaking to be a little less connected. 

It's beautiful.

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Breastfeeding is just simply beautiful. A baby putting their entire trust and well being in their mother; their mother staring lovingly down at their child.

But it's beauty is far beyond face value. Breastfeeding in and of itself is a struggle; it takes determination, resilience and selflessness. It challenges even the toughest of women. It is literally giving your body to someone else for months on end. Its leaky and sore nipples, engorged breasts, pumps and shields. It is (or at least was for me) the most difficult thing you do in those early years of motherhood. And THAT makes it even more beautiful. 

A shoutout to the mommas who pump! I personally know moms who, for one reason or another, went the path of exclusively pumping and let me tell you, those ladies are rockstars. I mean, wow.

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A note to the moms who didn't breastfeed: You rock. Whether you couldn't or chose not to does not matter in the least. You fed your baby. Your baby loves you regardless of nipple or bottle, breastmilk or formula or both. Your strength and beauty as a mom is equally as noteworthy and praiseworthy. This post and the World Breastfeeding Week is simply in support of normalizing and celebrating the act of breastfeeding.