If you’ve been here any length of time you know that breastfeeding photography is something I’m extremely passionate about. It’s also something that isn’t openly offered by very many Murfreesboro, TN photographers. I’m writing this post to share with you a bit about my story, why breastfeeding relationships are so important to me, and how important, special, and necessary breastfeeding photography really is.
Breastfeeding saved me. That’s not an over-dramatization or a knock against formula or a plea for attention – it’s just the truth. Breastfeeding saved me and saved my relationship with my first child. It held us together physically and emotionally when postpartum depression and colic were trying their hardest to isolate me from myself and from my beautiful little girl.
Breastfeeding was impossibly hard at first, but with the help of an angel of a lactation consultant, Eleanor and I figured it out. That didn’t make my ppd or her colic go away though. Those still raged. I didn’t know why she was crying and my postpartum depression told me that it was my fault. That I should know. PPD told me that I shouldn’t be her mother because I couldn’t take away her pain.
Eventually it became extremely apparent that something deeper was causing Eleanor’s pain, inability to eat solid food, and discomfort physically and emotionally. With the help of an amazing team of doctors and therapists we discovered that both she and I had Ehlers-Danlos – a genetic connective tissue disorder. It caused my baby to have delayed oral motor function and extreme sensory processing challenges. Ellie couldn’t drink from a bottle or cup without aspirating. She couldn’t eat solid foods without choking and gagging. She was emotionally and physically overwhelmed by even the smallest things.
Breastfeeding was the thing that sustained her and it was the thing that taught me that I was good enough for her. It comforted her when NOTHING else could. Breastfeeding nourished her and made her feel safe in a world that her little brain couldn’t process or cope with yet. Our breastfeeding relationship taught me that I was EXACTLY who my baby needed.
In the beginning of my motherhood journey, I had NO idea how important breastfeeding would be to me. I didn’t know that it would give me a connection to my baby that would carry both of us through challenges we couldn’t even imagine. Breastfeeding photography honors that journey and relationship. Breastfeeding is SUCH a short-lived journey, even if you practice full term breastfeeding like I did (full term breastfeeding just means your child weans when they are ready, rather than on a specified schedule).
Nursing sessions can be documentary or stylized and both are so beautiful. The beautiful messiness and raw nature of documentary breastfeeding sessions capture the REALNESS. Those memories are important. They’re precious. Sometimes they’re hard to look back at, but they carry so much emotion and joy too.
I adore stylized breastfeeding photography. The goal is to focus on the emotion you feel when you think about your breastfeeding relationship with your baby(ies). It romanticizes this piece of motherhood in the most wonderful way. Beautiful wardrobe to make mama feel confident and strong, a dreamy backdrop, and beautiful light. Laser focus on the relationship between mother and child. The details, like a baby reaching up for mamas face and a mother gently stroking her baby’s nose, are in the spotlight.
Ready to schedule your own breastfeeding photography session for you and your baby? Have questions about breastfeeding sessions or my photography services? Click the link below and fill out the short form and let’s chat!
Ashley Erin West – Currently Booking 2022
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Family and Motherhood Photographer based in Nashville, TN and serving the Middle Tennessee area – offering:
Couple, Maternity, Adoption, Fresh 48, Newborn, Breastfeeding, Milestone, Family, & More.
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