Breast or bottle? That is a question that has been asked for ages. I ask this every time I have a newborn session. I have given birth to 4 of our 6 kids and The philosophy on breast feeding vs bottle feeding has continuously changed through the years. When my mother was having children breast was best and women really looked down on those that chose to bottle feed. The negativity became so bad that when I was having my first two children there was a movement towards the acceptance of bottle feeding as well as accepting an individuals choice. Yes, breast is best as it is a natural form of nutrition for baby and the best form of giving baby the nutrients he needs but women should not be made to feel bad or that they are doing something wrong if they bottle feed.
I was lucky when I started having kids that this message was getting out there. I tried to Breastfeed with my first child and ended up back in the hospital with him at 3 days old. He was very dehydrated, jaundiced and lethargic. Poor guy was limp as a wet rag as they repeatedly poked him trying to find a blood vein. He never even cried as they did this he was so weak. I had no idea why he had been crying so much I would see babies on TV crying for hours and I simply thought that was how some babies were. I didn't know something was wrong until my mother came by that day to check on us. He wasn't nursing right. Despite my sore bleeding nipples and all the hard work I put in trying to breast feed him, he wasn't getting the nutrition he needed and wasn't nursing right. At the hospital they gave him a bottle to get something in him right away and he guzzled that bottle so quickly. After he finished, He sighed contently and that was the first time I had seen him happy and not crying since we had left the hospital after he was born.I left the hospital a bottle feeder. I felt defeated and like maybe there was something wrong with me. I felt like a failure. My grandma had breast fed as well as my mom. Everyone in our family breastfed and I grew up learning that that was just the way you feed your baby.
Image of me courtesy of Kori Hobbs Photography
Although I couldn't breastfeed my baby, I was determined to still have that "bonding" experience that you hear about with breastfeeding moms. Every time my baby was hungry I would make sure I held him as I fed him his bottle. I strongly believe in holding your child and not just propping up the bottle for them. I would sing to him look at him and talk to him as he ate. I definitely bonded with my baby. Just because it was a bottle didn't matter. I was still giving him nourishment and I was still holding him close and bonding. I still had those special intimate moments with just me and my baby that I still remember to this day and cherish. I came across some magazine articles talking about acceptance of bottle feeding and respecting women's choices. I read about how I was not a failure and that I was not "less" than others because I bottle fed. Because if that movement among society to accept bottle feeding I gained my confidence back.
Over this past year I have seen a few photographers whom I follow on Facebook do breastfeeding portraits. They are beautiful! I also had a baby of my own last December and I was shocked to see how much society has reverted back to shunning and looking down upon bottle feeders. Yes, I do respect BOTH choices and I will always respect my clients and friends choices when it comes to bottle or breast, pacifier or not, etc, etc, etc. I wanted to do some breastfeeding portraits of my own so I found a beautiful momma this last summer and we did some portraits. All this time though I have had an idea in the back of my mind. Bottle feeding portraits! The purpose of my doing breastfeeding portraits is to capture the intimacy, special bond and beauty between a mother and baby during that special time. Well I know that bond and intimacy but as a bottle feeder. I decided I was going to offer bottle feeding portraits also. So I got together two beautiful mommas and my vision for this photo series was born. I wanted to show that there can be just as much beauty and just as much intimate moments with your baby no matter how you choose to feed. I want the bottle feeding moms out there to know that you are just as important to your baby feeding him a bottle as you would be as a breastfeeding mom. I don't do these photos to start a controversy over breast or bottle and I don't take one side or the other. I just want to show the beauty in this special time a mother spends with her child as it doesn't last long and I feel is a special moment to be captured and cherished and remembered for a lifetime. My baby in my story above is now 15. He is smart and an amazing young man. He is my baby boy almost grown up. Cherish these moments you have with your babies as they wont be babies for long.
Enjoy the images of these beautiful mommas bonding with their beautiful babies.
We now offer breast/bottle feeding sessions as a mini session available year round. They can be done in-studio or outdoors. The mini session includes a 30 minute session and CD of 5 images with print release all for only $99 Email me for more info or to book a baby feeding mini session.