World Breastfeeding Week may have ended but August is still National Breastfeeding Month and that can only mean one thing, more breastfeeding portraits. If you have been following for a while, you may have noticed that I have a special place in my heart for breastfeeding photography. Not only because it is a way to share how I feel about breastfeeding as a movement, but also because I can connect with those moms and their nursling on a deeper level. Today I have a few recommendations for those mamas wanting their own breastfeeding portraits but who aren't quite sure how to go about it.
Here are my top tips for booking your own breastfeeding session:
The best age for booking a breastfeeding session
There is no wrong age to book a breastfeeding session, whether you have just begun your breastfeeding journey with an infant or are at the end of it with a weaning toddler. Each stage is different and deserves to be captured. An infant is a breeze to photograph since they nurse on cue and seem to always be hungry or looking for comfort. I suggest that you do not book a nursing session too early on with a newborn. Definitely wait until you have settled into a comfortable groove with baby. You don’t want to book a session while you’re still trying to figure out a proper latch because it simply will not go well. Once you feel that you have gotten the hang of things, you can go ahead and schedule a breastfeeding session.
The best time of day to schedule your session
I recommend following your regular routine and booking your photo session at a time when your child regularly nurses. We all know that children nurse on demand and not necessarily on a schedule so just do your best to choose a time of day that will work for you. It’s best if baby is neither full nor super hungry. Hungry babies make grumpy babies, which makes the whole experience unpleasant. When hunger strikes children’s emotions become heightened. Tears flow and mom begins to stress. When this happens, I will give mom and nursling some time and space to adjust and then return to shooting the photos after the child has settled down into their nursing groove. If you are wanting an outdoor session the best time is definitely during sunrise or sunset. If those times conflict with your child's bedtime, then a studio or at home session when baby is awake is best.
What to bring
I recommend bringing your nurslings’s favorite stuffed animal, a favorite blanket, or any other item that is used at home for soothing and comfort. A professional photoshoot can be intimidating for a little one. An item from home provides some familiarity and can help make the experience less scary. PROPS are not necessary. A breastfeeding session should be all about that special bond between mother and child. Of course, heirloom items like a special blankie or a book that you always read are okay.
What to wear
Go for a low cut dress or a loose top with easy access to the breasts from above. Speaking of easy access, I also recommend going bra-less. Straps can be distracting and tend to get in the way. I am a lover of neutrals. My goal with every nursing session is to capture that brief quiet moment that is shared while breastfeeding. I find that neutral colors such as white and cream allow the me to showcase the mother/child relationship in a very natural and harmonious way. Absolutely avoid hot colors such as yellow, orange, and red. Also stay away from busy patterns or anything that could distract away from that sweet moment. After all, "simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication."
Hey there! I'm Anel. Houston photographer, wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to four wild kids who I homeschool. I love nature, capturing motherhood, and living a slow simple life. I also blog over at Tender Nest Blog