verb, provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
As a mother I’ve been immersed in the breast vs. bottle debate from very early on.
Myself, I chose to breastfeed. In fact, I didn’t even consider an alternative even though breastfeeding didn’t come easy. I fought for it. My son was born a few weeks early, and being a small baby he had trouble breastfeeding. The first couple of months were a nightmare, but I fought tooth and nail for it, and ended up breastfeeding long-term, well into his third year.
On hearing some of my acquaintances decided not to breastfeed, or quit after a couple of weeks, I’d privately sneer to myself and say they hadn’t tried hard enough. After all, if I could do it, so could everyone, right?! I was well in the camp of “breast is best” and “my way or the highway”.
But as time went on, I changed my mind.
I’ve met more parents, mainly through being a family and baby photographer, and witnessed and heard many different stories of breastfeeding and bottle feeding. I blogged about it, and I’ve become wiser and more accepting, seeing beauty in both ways.
Whichever way you choose to feed the baby is beautiful. Be proud, because you’re nourishing their body, and the connection with you is nourishing their souls too.
Nourish is about just that.
Documenting all the different ways we feed our babies. The beauty, and the struggle.
Natasha was quietly confident, this being her second child. She knew what to expect, and what to try. This was the first time we'd met but she didn't have any hesitations about being photographed and just got on with the business at hand: providing nourishment to her newborn son. I have many beautiful images of her that I'd created in the short time we had together, but I love this one the most.
Last year I've started a new personal project, Nourish, intended to document and celebrate the many ways we feed our babies. The project is still in it's infancy, but I have many wonderful images I'm yet to share, so even through I feel like there's still a long way to go before I'm going to get anywhere, I want to start sharing what I have.
When I had my son, over 6 years ago now, I had the whole birth thing figured out. Really, I did.
I went to Active Birth classes, learned all about the process of labour and birth, went to acupuncture sessions, had Chinese herb foot baths and did headstands in a local swimming pool (much to the amusement of the onlookers) to turn my breech baby around (really, I did) because I was determined to have a natural and, preferably, drug-free birth (which, again, I did).
I'm telling you all this not to brag, but to say this: with parenthood, there's this universal balance at play. If one thing comes easy to you, another one, inevitably, will be hard as hell. I consider the birth part as having been fairly easy for me (the 4-day labour notwithstanding), but what I didn't expect was that breastfeeding - the thing I didn't even consider to be "a thing that could be problematic" - would turn out to be so damn hard.
Today a breastfeeding support group I used to go to at Kingston Hill Children's Centre celebrated it's first birthday and I, together with two other "veteran" mummies popped in to say hello and have some cake to celebrate the occasion. It was lovely to see all the new mummies with their newborn babies, getting to grips with breastfeeding. It was also a good reminder on how quickly the time flies, and that we need to appreciate and enjoy every moment of parenthood, however difficult we find it at times.