milk time :: breastfeeding portraits

I've been lucky. Both of my babies took to nursing easily and stuck with it for over a year (Gus is still nursing). Though it had certain challenges (e.g., the sheer duration of Hazel's nursing sessions nearly killed me... 45 minuts plus?!?!), it has for the most part been an easy and incredibly special relationship with both of them. 

I know that many women have to fight very hard to keep up a breastfeeding relationship with their babies. Some overcome incredible obstacles, and others have to stop sooner than they'd prefer, or never even get to start at all. So this can be an emotional subject for many mamas. 

Yet for those who have been given the gift of a breastfeeding season with their little ones, I wanted to create an opportunity to capture this one-of-a-kind, fleeting-but-incredible relationship. I've noticed how many mamas take cell phone selfies of themselves nursing their babies, which tells me that there's something in us that recognizes that this stage of the motherhood journey is worth documenting, worth telling. So these mini-sessions were created with that truth in mind. 

Over the course of about three hours, Sara and I welcomed 14 mamas and their nurslings, ranging in age from 2 months to 28 months, into Cedar Tree Birth & Wellness to eat some nourishing foods, talk with one another about breastfeeding and motherhood, and watch their babies play together. Meanwhile, each nursing duo (or triad!) came into a separate room, one at a time, to be photographed together. 

I can't begin to tell you how special this was, how absolutely heart-melting and sacred. As a breastfeeding mama myself, I could deeply feel the connection and love and vitality of each of these pairs. I noticed that there is something so wonderfully common and universal about breastfeeding. It's as old as time, and babies are babies and mamas are mamas, which means that this really transcends any individual or culture. And yet each relationship was as unique as the two (or three) people that it is composed of, each session had it's own feel to it, it's own quirks. It's deeply personal. 

But I'll stop gushing now and allow you to see a quick sampling of these images (every mama signed off on a model release! i love how we're getting less embarrassed about breastfeeding!) It was SOOOOO hard to choose just one image from each session to share here, but I did my best. :)