As a former postpartum and newborn nurse, breastfeeding is near and dear to my heart and, at every opportunity, I offer breastfeeding photo sessions.
I breastfed all three of my children for at least a year each. It was the most precious connection to share during that time and, often, I think back and kick myself for mindlessly scrolling my phone during that season rather than soaking in the moment and cementing it in my brain.
I always broach breastfeeding photo sessions during my consult calls. Sometimes moms will agree immediately, “yes, that’s a great idea, I love it, let’s do it!”.
Other times (this is the rarest response), I’ll get an immediate no. It’s not for them, they’re not at all interested, the subject is closed. I always respect any mother’s decision and never question her after she’s firmly said no.
The rest of the time (this is probably the most common scenario), potential clients will take a moment to digest the idea, having never considered it before. And in that event, I will jump up onto my soapbox and off we go.
Breastfeeding Photo Sessions Soapbox
During my soapbox confessional, I share that I was a postpartum nurse for the first nine years of my nursing career. Part of my job was helping new moms and babes learn how to breastfeed successfully and it’s one of the things that has carried over into my photography business –> such a perfect melding of the clinical and artistic sides of me.
In our phone call, I remind her of what we all know to be true: that the breastfeeding relationship is finite – it *will* end. And I tell her that no one else will share that particular relationship…just her and her baby. Breastfeeding photo sessions are the perfect, poignant way to document those tender moments that will be over at some point in the near-ish future, possibly before she is quite ready.
Well…when you put it that way, Liz!!
Reasons to Consider Breastfeeding Photo Sessions
Another thing to consider is that many lifestyle newborn sessions (the place where the majority of my breastfeeding photo sessions occur) consist primarily of the baby wanting to cluster feed and be at the breast (whether sleeping or nursing, the baby doesn’t really quibble 🤣). I have had lifestyle sessions where the baby wanted to nurse basically my entire time there…which is *totally* normal.
In those early days, the baby should be able to nurse on demand. This not only cements the skills being learned but also is key to establishing a healthy milk supply. And it keeps everyone happy! Okay, maybe not mom allllll the time…but there is something to be said for being the solution to every woe your baby experiences. And there’s nothing like a milk-drunk baby, amiright?
Breastfeeding sessions don’t just have to be about mom and baby, either. This is a great way to include the furry family members as well and it takes some of the pressure off mom to be the full focus of the photo! I usually ask dad to bring the family pet over and have him/her lie down just next to or in front of mom’s feet. Sometimes the pet will be super interested in what’s going on – and then we get really sweet pet and baby interaction – and other times, he or she will just lie protectively at momma’s feet, keeping a close eye on the stranger with the clicky box. Either is fine with me!!
Breastfeeding Photo Sessions Don’t Just Have To Be At Home
Don’t forget about my beautiful white studio and my pretty egg chair! Mommas are starting to request photos in this chair next to my amazing “wall of windows” (ok, it is actually a sliding door but thanks to all of our much-loved trees blocking the sun, the LED lights make it a “natural light” dream spot). I LOVE it when I get a request for the egg chair, whether it’s for breastfeeding photos or for mommy-and-me shots. Regardless of the subject matter, the results are guaranteed to be timeless, gorgeous, and adored by my clients.
**One final note: breastfeeding photo sessions, unless specifically deemed otherwise, are kept private and off my socials. Sometimes a mom will tell me that I can use the photos for marketing but mostly these photos are private and for the family’s eyes only. The photos used in this blog post were shared with permission.
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Mount Airy, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.