Since my friend Rhianna had her son back in November we've been talking about how she would love to do breastfeeding portraits. I have done a few in the past but the moms wanted to keep them private, which I totally understand and respect. Rhianna is probably one of the most open people I have ever met and told me I could post whatever I wanted. This was a really exciting session to plan. We had these photos planned for later in the week, but I stumbled across this amazing field of flowers while out on my daily walk in the park. I called her right away squealing and praying that she was available that night, since I had no idea how long they would last. Thankfully her schedule allowed some time that evening to get together. For something last minute it truly turned out Magical. When I photograph a mother feeding her child I always try to focus on the bond that they share, that is truly what breastfeeding portraits are all about. Now I know there are people out there who will dismiss this post as gross, weird or disgusting, but I REALLY beg to differ. I was breastfed as a baby and I hope with the grace of God my body allows me to do the same for my children one day. This is not a post to put down those who choose not to breastfeed or are unable to do so. I understand that not everyone's body allows it. I also understand in this crazy world we live in not everyone can invest the time and energy into such a time consuming and sometime frustrating process. Breastfeeding is hard, and it takes great dedication and determination.
This post is to help normalize breastfeeding. To the people who say that seeing a woman breastfeeding in public is gross, I say don't look, that issue belongs to you, she is doing nothing wrong. Every other culture around the world sees breastfeeding as a normal, natural process of a woman nurturing her child. For some strange reason here in the US women are shamed for it, I just don't understand our culture. Very often when photographing Newborns, moms cover up, as to not offend me or ask me if I mind that they breastfeed, my answer is always the same "If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother me." Then I proceed to hold a normal conversation with them while the baby nurses. My dream is to see a country that women no longer have to ask permission to feed their child, where they aren't gawked at like a circus sideshow while their child nurses and most of all where people stop calling breastfeeding gross. This is the choice that these moms made, why can't we as a culture support that choice?
So this Mother's Day weekend let celebrate this. Let's make a conscious choice to support all moms in their decisions, whether it is to breastfeed or whether breastfeeding wasn't for her. Every Mom is fighting a hard battle everyday, these are choices they've agonized over. Just because I support Normalizing Breastfeeding does not mean that I do not support a mother who couldn't or chose not to breastfeed. Every woman's choice in this matter is her own and how dare anyone for shaming or prosecuting them for it. As the old saying goes "Mother knows best."
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