Ohhhhhhh heavens. A few months ago, my mind was spinning. My journal will filled with scribbles, word clouds and ideas. Bottles and Breastfeeding and Babies and Unity and so many thoughts and so many ideas.
I love, love, loved breastfeeding.
For me, it was an incredible journey- very hard with my first, but ultimately was a huge emotional feat that made me feel so connected to my mama who had passed away before Ava was ever conceived. That being said, it was not my only method, I supplemented from day 1 (a nurse told me I had to due to her losing weight with jaundice), as well as pumped. With Genny, it was different. Easy, for the most part, except for the times it was tough, but overall, enjoyable and lovely and so happy.
I bottle-fed Ava. Genny was supposed to be nursed and bottle-fed, but decided she hated a bottle about five-months-in.
I never knew the decision to formula feed could come with so many emotions, until I watched my own sister make that decision when her first baby was a few hours old, as my aunt and I emphatically told her that SHE knew what was best for her and her new baby! Though that was my first window into formula feeding (she was also my second friend to have a baby), I have seen that scene play over and over again with friends and newborn clients, and to me, I support mom and her decision. She knows what is going to be best for them mentally AND physically. Maybe her milk hasn’t come in and baby is screaming and screaming. Maybe she is engorged and sore, in addition to her battle wounds from birth. Maybe she just doesn’t want to, and that is okay, too!
In my role as a photographer I meet so many women.
I meet women who have natural births, and women who almost didn’t survive their delivery. I meet women who never got to bring home the little one they grew for nine months. I meet women who choose to have a baby on their own, as well as women who adopt their little one. I meet women who have their first baby and then are thrown into the world of medical procedures and special education.
Parenthood can be really hard.
Parenthood can be really scary.
Parenthood can be filled with grief.
Parenthood is most often filled with joy!
Time and time again, I have noticed one unifying quality that each of these mamas possess- they LOVE their babies something fierce!
They love their babies to the very core of their souls, and back again.
We hold our babies, and gaze into their eyes, we count our blessings, we try to live in the moment, we admire their tiny features, we think about their future, we cry because we are elated, we cry because we are terrified, we cry because it is going by too fast.
We all want one thing for our children- we want them to grow up with good health and to be filled with love.
Breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding?
Should I pump?
Should I buy formula? What kind? Organic? Soy?
Should I use a glass bottle? Is my plastic bottle BPA free?
Do I have to cover my baby up while I feed?
What will my mom say about my choice? What will my husband say? What will my friends say?
The commercials say, Breast is Best, and I know how that makes mommies feel. Guilty. Defensive. Concerned.
Proud. Happy. Encouraged.
Bottle-fed babies grow up to be intelligent and kind human adults.
What if we decided to band together as women and respect each other? What if we decided to help a new mom out, rather than make them feel like their choice does not live up to your choice, or Amy down-the-road’s method of feeding?
At the end of the day, as long as we are caring for and nourishing our children, then what more could we ask for?
My goal is to photograph each mama and her baby the same way I approach every session, focusing on the details, the real-life moments, and the incredible bond that has been fostered!
In just a few months, I have had the privilege of photographing nursing moms, pumping moms, formula moms, supplementing moms, tube-feeding moms, lesbian moms, adoptive moms, moms of children with special needs, and I can say for a fact they are rocking the sh*t out of motherhood, and the way they fed their child made no impact on their ability to bond with or nourish their little ones. I have seen a steady stream of happy, healthy, babies who are deeply and incredibly loved!
Who is with me?
For more information on the United We Feed movement, please contact Caitlin : firstname.lastname@example.org