The past few weeks have been crazy awesome. So many happy moments with my parents visiting and spending time with my now one-year old, who has started walking and chatting and interacting like a toddler on the verge. Since he turned 1 on the 14th of August, it has been hard to keep up with him and I am so thankful that my parents have been able to spend the time with us and share in the huge developmental leaps he has gone through in just three weeks time.
Sometimes there is just so much content and so many subjects I would love to share on my blog and while I am still working on consistency…. there are some moments and milestones that I need to spend alone time with before sharing, in order to properly appreciate and process in my mind and in my heart. One huge milestone for me and my baby was the fact that we have made it to one whole year of breastfeeding. It literally brings tears to my eyes and warmth in my heart when I think about how we have made it this far. It’s less a sense of pride but more a joy looking back on how he went from a 7lb 2oz 18.5 inch newborn to a bouncing 22-23 lb-ish 31-inch little boy. How many hours we spent sleeping together on the couch, nursing and napping intermittently. How strenuous being a “human pacifier” was, but seeing the secure and content look on my baby’s face made every minute worth it. How nursing can just soothe him for any reason whatsoever. And the quiet moments we get to spend together, gazing at each other and just locking in those moments. Those moments – which I’m so sad to say, we will never get back.
We have had a beautiful breastfeeding relationship from the beginning. He latched right away and was happy and content to satisfy his need to suck for comfort. But those first 4 weeks – were hard. Everything about breastfeeding actually felt counterintuitive, even though it is one of the most basic and natural human instincts for babies. Mamas on the other hand, we learn, we fumble, we think it will be one thing and it’s something totally different, especially this first time round. John Fredrick never took a bottle so those first 6 months (rather…10.5 months, until he started eating solids) were all Mama for food and nutrients. It was a lot of responsibility and breastfeeding Mamas give so much of their body, energy and nutrients just to produce, let alone the act of nursing, which is in constant flux. I am in absolute awe of the art of breastfeeding. I absolutely love breastfeeding my baby and hope to continue for as long as he wants/needs it…
So knowing all that…you might understand my joy when back in July, I won a contest on Facebook for a breastfeeding mini-session with A Thousand Words Photography here in Greenville. I had to submit a photo of me breastfeeding and talk about our breastfeeding relationship, I have to admit, I worked really hard on my entry! I never expected to win, but when I saw my name tagged in the winning post, I hit the roof with excitement! My husband was so happy for me, and seeing as the session was on August 20th – it was PERFECT timing since John Fredrick would be 1, and I looked at the session as also being a celebration of our one year of breastfeeding.
This photoshoot is especially meaningful to me because about 5 weeks earlier…I found out I was pregnant with our second baby! I will be updating on my pregnancy more in detail, but at the beginning I was insanely fearful that because of the pregnancy hormones, my breastfeeding relationship with John Fredrick would suffer or worse yet, have to end abruptly or prematurely. I was so panicked about it, you have no idea. I wanted to follow my baby’s lead when weaning and I knew he was nowhere near that point, and ideally I would love to nurse him until 2-3 years old. I called the hospital’s lactation consultant line and went to my support groups to see my favourite nurse Lauren, and she assured me that I would be just fine, so many moms nurse through pregnancy and end up tandem nursing two babies. Funny enough, she was the one that assured me I was doing a great job 5 weeks into breastfeeding, and helped calm my first time mom postpartum nerves. I also called one of the local La Leche League leaders in a slight panic and she offered amazing support and encouragement – which means so, so much in the daily life of a stay at home first time soon to be second time mom!! So far so good with nursing, we are still going strong and I am 13 weeks in, but again, I will be writing a lot more about that in detail in a future post. On to our breastfeeding photoshoot photos….which celebrate mine and John Fredrick’s 1-year of breastfeeding as well as breastfeeding while pregnant and hoping to tandem! I have been dying to share these photos and just haven’t had the time to update the blog so here they are.
I guess I should mention that if you have an issue with images of breastfeeding, then perhaps this post is not for you, and kindly move along. However, these are tasteful shots, and just downright beautiful images captured of a Mama nurturing, feeding and loving her baby….I know, because I was there 🙂 I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding images in this society…and honestly, I don’t get it. People all over the world feed and nurture their baby whenever it is needed and whether that is at home or in a public setting, the intent of the act does not change. I am proud to have taken these photos to capture moments that will probably never happen again, in let’s say, 3 years time. These are moments that we won’t ever get back, but memories that will stay forever in my heart and in my mind and are now captured beautifully by a talented artist. I am proud to be a breastfeeding Mama and I pray every day that God grant me the privilege to continue nursing throughout pregnancy and be able to tandem nurse both my babies.
It also helps that my husband is so supportive. He knows and totally understands and is in awe of mine and John Fredrick’s breastfeeding relationship and he doesn’t care for the tasteless criticism breastfeeding can sometimes fall under. He is amazed at how a Mother’s body can just produce everything that her baby needs and also fulfill such a beautiful emotional bond between a mother and chid. How can someone criticize that? It isn’t always so easy to find a “private place” to nurse, and my child hated being under a cover where he couldn’t breathe. My husband also makes me proud to be a breastfeeding Mama and to know he is supportive, brings me such encouragement and confidence. He was there for the whole photoshoot and loved seeing us pose and share these moments to capture.
These photos were taken at Cedar Park Falls in Fountain Inn which is such a beautiful park to check out and walk through. The weather was fabulous and the sun was shining so beautifully and was perfect for this earthy-bohemian photo session. This has to have been one of my favourite photo sessions we have ever done because I got to dress for the theme and based on the location and the poses, I knew they were going to come out so earthy and nature-inspired – which is totally our jam these days. Yes, I am a city girl at heart, and while cityscape-inspired breastfeeding photos would have its own appeal (has anyone every done that?), I was so happy to get down in nature and have my little man “all-natural” for this session.
Again, photos were done by Cari with A Thousand Words Photography here in Upstate SC, and she does amazing pregnancy, newborn and family photos as well…please check her out if you are ever shopping for beautiful photos. Hope you enjoy them!