Spokane Motherhood: Breastfeeding Stories, Spokane Photographer

Breastfeeding Group Portrait, Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers

In support of World Breastfeeding Week, and the PBAP, some local Spokane mamas joined me for a group breastfeeding portrait. After the incredible response from last year, I invited these mamas to share their stories. Thank you again to each of you for participating; it’s truly an honour to share your portraits, and your stories.

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“Roman is my 3rd child and I successfully nursed both of my other babies before him. He was born at home and we were able to have immediate skin to skin contact and special time together. I felt that I had done everything “right” to ensure a great start to breast-feeding, so when he failed to latch and generally showed no interest in feeding, I was confused and disappointed. I mean, breastfeeding is natural, so it should be easy, right? My disappointment began to give way to stress and fear when he still was not eating on the third day after birth. I began to think that there might be something wrong. I was able to have a lactation consultant advise and it appeared I was doing everything right, but he was having a lot of mobility issues due to his fast birth and birth position and he was struggling with a posterior tongue tie. I was experiencing pretty significant post-partum anxiety already and the adjustment from 2 to 3 kids under 5 years old was very overwhelming. I was feeling VERY anxious about his feeding issues and didn’t feel like I had the capacity to give him what he needed, this played into my existing anxieties about being able to adjust to our new family dynamic. Quiet, uninterrupted breastfeeding practice was virtually impossible to achieve for him while meeting the needs of my other children as well and I was having to pump to ensure that my milk would come in since he was not latching. I did not expect this! After pumping and bottle feeding for a few days in between trying to practice with him at the breast, I began to use a nipple shield, so that at the very least, I could feed him more directly and cut out pumping and bottle/syringe feeding which was just to much to manage in those early days. In the first week we also began taking him for gentle chiropractic sessions to work out his alignment issues. The first few weeks, he was going three times a week, which was very difficult as a newly post-partum mom, but we were seeing some early results and kept at it. Our pediatrician also spent dedicated time with us to help me with additional ideas and he latched for the first time on the right side during one of her visits! In the end, we were able to wean off of the nipple shield with some patience and avoid a revision of his tongue tie (something I had been very hesitant to do). By 4 weeks old he was nursing well on one side, by 8 weeks old he was able to nurse on both sides and by 3 months his latch was no longer painful for me. He is now just over 4 months old and we’ve entered what I would call the “sweet spot” of nursing. We still aren’t perfect, but the mechanics are down, he can latch in his sleep, and I’m beginning to enjoy these sweet, special, and hard-earned moments with my baby boy.” ~ Sarai Orth

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“After a long journey we finally conceived our beautiful daughter via IVF, but somewhere along the way I began to believe that my body was broken. I was afraid that I was flawed. I could not do the most basic thing that a woman was “supposed” to do without help from a doctor. Our breastfeeding relationship has brought me healing and redemption.
Over time I’ve gone from sweating profusely any time I had to feed her outside the privacy of my home to being comfortable that, although I never intend to make an “exhibit” of feeding her, I’m simply nourishing my baby wherever and whenever she may need it. Every time I’m blessed to nurse her I’m overwhelmed by grace. At times I’ve been brought to tears. I’m not a flawed creation. My body has, against all odds, nourished her from conception. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.'” ~ Alicia McNamara

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers~ Emily Ann Costello

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“My very strong desire to breast feed started when I was just 15 years old. I was pregnant with my daughter Hailey and I wanted to give her the best start I possibly could. She decided to join us at just 34 weeks and to our surprise she was born with Down syndrome. Not only was her coming early a shock but coming to terms with the fact she had Down syndrome also was a process. Little did I know it was the start of a incredible journey. Hailey spent 6 long weeks in the NICU. From the day she was born I pumped breast milk for her every 3 hours for 5 months. She never could latch on correctly so I bottle fed her my milk. I felt so proud of that accomplishment but always felt a little twinge in my heart that I was never able to nurse her directly on my breast. Fast forward 10 years and I was pregnant with my son Kason. We decided a home water birth was the best choice for us and I wanted that boy directly on my breast as fast as possible. I was so determined to nurse him. His birth went as planned and he latched within 10 minutes of being born. It felt strange and awkward but he was doing it!! I didn’t feel like I was doing it right for a few days, maybe even weeks. I must have been doing something right because here we are still nursing away. He is 2 1/2 now. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve wanted to quit so many times. But the bond is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The comfort that nursing gives him is just magical. It doesn’t matter if I’m away from him for hours or days, as soon as we’re together again and he wants “milk” it’s like we’ve never been apart.” ~ Jamie Borbridge

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane PhotographersAll mom’s, no matter the choice you made remember it is the one that was right for you and your baby. We started out great, then 4 days in his tongue and lip tie caused him to stop nursing. We pumped and bottle fed for 6 weeks while battling insurance to fix the ties, and reflux and MSPI. Then one day in February he just decided to latch and we haven’t looked back! I am so grateful for the lactation consultant, my husband, and his current daycare for supporting and helping us through it all! 18months and going strong!” ~ Jessica Bivens

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“Breastfeeding did not come easy to me after my first son was born. I was a crying mess on day 3 and ready to quit! I was exhausted, frustrated and struggled to even care for the benefits of what I was doing. I am so thankful I was surrounded by women (and my husband), that supported and encouraged me through one of the biggest changes of my life. My mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, were all standing around my bed while I sobbed about how my baby wasn’t eating enough and that it was too hard. Gently I was encouraged to ‘hold on’. And we did, for 5 great months. Sadly, my supply dropped due to stress and I knew he needed more. We started using formula and I had a content baby again! I cried on the day he wouldn’t nurse anymore but I was still very thankful for the formula and again, that I was supported in using it. ❤️
Now fast forward five years, I’m a mother to three beautiful boys and my youngest turns eight months today! It’s the longest I’ve ever nursed one of my kids and I can say that I have cherished every day of it! Even though he only nurses through the night I feel really proud that we’ve made it this far. So as I rock my baby to sleep while he drinks his ‘baba’ he looks up at me and touches my face and I know that it’s not just what fills up his tummy that matters but what fills up his heart and soul. And to me, that is the most important part of this motherhood journey, the selfless love we pour into our little babies each day. ❤️” ~ Erica Wirth

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers~ Susan Johnson

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I ever got pregnant. I always admired women who breastfed their children. My mother breastfed my youngest brother, Max, whom she had when she was 42 for two years. I thought it was amazing. I remember one of my first thoughts after I saw those two pink lines on my pregnancy test was, “I’m so excited to try breastfeeding!” I didn’t realize how challenging it would be. My son didn’t latch right away, but after meeting with the wonderful lactation consultant when he was a week old we were able to figure it out better. It has consumed my world, in the best way. From what clothes I wear, to what I eat and how much water I drink, to “where can sit down to feed while I’m out with my child?”; breastfeeding has shown me how selfless mothers really are. My original goal was to breastfeed for a year, but now I hope to breastfeed past that. I wouldn’t give up this amazing bond with my sweet boy for anything. And I’m so excited to see so many more women doing the same for their babies.” ~ Megan Aguilar

 

`~ Charlie Lynn

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers~ Megan and Charlie

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“My pregnancy with Ezra was difficult, and I didn’t feel bonded to him before he was born. I was fraught with worry, worry that I wouldn’t bond instantly, that I wouldn’t love him enough. But then he was born, and I pulled him to my chest and brought him to my breast. My worries fell away. I was his mother, and he was my son. We had many nursing difficulties in the beginning, but we pressed through them doing the best we could. He nursed nearly nonstop in the early months. But every so often, usually in the still of the night, I would be overtaken with emotion at the significance of the moment. Here I was with God’s perfect creation curled up in my lap, nourishing him with my body. As Ezra has grown into a toddler, he now needs less of my milk, but he still needs all of my love and comfort. As he grows, he is independent and bold. He is so busy exploring the world, but as we know explorers can get scared or hurt or tired sometimes. I am his lighthouse, his guidepost, his port in the storm, his home to return to. I give him the love, peace, comfort, and milk that he has gotten from me his whole life. I know that as he forges into toddlerhood his nursing days are numbered, which is definitely a bittersweet feeling. Our nursing days will end, but our relationship and closeness will stay the same. For I am his mother and he is my son.” ~ Nicole Potter

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“My breastfeeding journey started 5 kids ago. I tried with my 1st three children and as much as I wanted to nurse, it didn’t end up that way. I tried and tried but eventually formula ended up happening.. which in no way is bad, because fed is best right?
Unfortunately, 2 of those 5 children have passed away for unknown reasons.. so my real breastfeeding journey started with determination with my 1st rainbow, kiddo number 4. Having no real answers as to why his siblings have entered heaven, I was determined to do everything the “right way”. Nursing him to two was my ultimate goal. I wanted him to get all the proper nutrients, the natural, mom made, no chemicals added, bond that we call breastfeeding. When he turned 18 months old i found out i was pregnant with his brother. “oh, now’s a great time to wean him” “you should wean him before baby comes” “when are you going to wean him?” – i got a lot of that, but this mama had a goal of 2 years and I wasn’t going to give up yet. We pushed through the milk most likely drying up, the soarness of my nipples due to hormones, and last but not least, the birth of his brother. I made it. 2 years and now counting. Not only do i get to nurse a toddler but i also get to nurse a beautiful newborn baby boy. I get to help my babies grow and develop in the best way possible.. I get cardio without getting off the couch and my absolute favorite is I get the most amazing bond with the 2 most handsome little men!
Whats your super power?” ~ Ashley Berland

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“Having my fifth child I assumed breastfeeding would be easier than the previous four. But just like my other four, it started out with challenges. I had to remind myself that although I had nursed four other children for 11 or more months, this baby had never nursed before. The first two days I struggled so much. Every time he would latch I wanted to run away, or push him off. I finally reached out, and had some wonderful friends help me, and another friend used cranial sacral therapy on him. After that things were so much better. His latch still needed improvement, but now at 10 months, I hardly remember those first months of struggle. I’m so blessed to be able to nourish my children in such a special way.” ~ Brittany Wirth

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“My pregnancy with River was not easy. Fresh from the back to back losses of our daughters, we were scared. I prayed every moment of every day for the health of the tiny person growing inside me. My husband was deployed and I was miles away from my family and support system. I refused to allow my myself to go to the dark places you know so well when you lose a baby. The light created by this little bean and the love of my growing and changing body lit those corners and kept me sane.
When he was born, healthy and shouting, I could not believe my ears. He came via repeat cesarean and was immediately placed on my chest to nurse. He found his way to my breast and latched before we left the operating room. He was a champion nursling, nursing so very often throughout the day and night as a tiny babe.
He is a busy toddler now and doesn’t need his milkies nearly as often, although I am still his port in the storm and his home base. He checks in with me during the day, asking for a quick snack and then resuming his play. A scraped knee or scary moment leads him straight to mama’s lap to nurse and receive whispered words and reassurances that all is well. He stirs in his sleep, his little hands searching for me in the night. It amazes me every day that simply by being close and receiving nourishment from my body, he is soothed. It is an amazing gift from God and I will never take our journey for granted.
When it’s just the two of us and all the distractions are gone, he is my mama milky baby again, cuddling close, we are both reassured that we are each other’s safe place.??” ~ Chelsea

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers~ Tiffany Hemphill

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers“Little Bird,

My heart sang a new song the moment I knew you existed. From there, the beauty of our bond manifested in magnificent ways… Leading to… this… A sweet representation of my overflowing love, and your innocent adoration, in the symbiotic dance of our bond.

Our beautiful nursing journey was turbulent, excruciating at times, and impeccably exquisite. I remember warm tears rolling down my cheeks, matching yours. At first, the upset was dismissed as “mama, you have a classic colicky baby.” But I knew. My heart ached, my stomach churned as I sought a solution to your pained cries. I felt utterly alone, consumed by your glaring symptoms (stalled weight gain, inability to take a bottle or remain latched at the breast, reflux, etc.), yet drowning in the unconditional perfection of you.

Eight weeks I experienced toe-curling, writhing discomfort, until I was empowered by lovely women (at a LLL meeting), that my research on tongue and lip ties were valid and worth investigation. That was the beginning – the liberating moment that allowed us both relief.

I remember the first time, post revision, that you latched. We sat in each others presence. Eyes locked. As I stroked your soft cheek you curled your lips into the most content, gorgeous smile. Now my tears were of humble gratitude and bliss.

My milk gives you tangible nutrition, but it is more… So much more. During a terrifying medical scare, my milk gave you solace and familiarity – simultaneously, grounding me… Every mama’s bond is sweet and unique, no matter how our little love is fed. The bond between you and I can be felt in the simple curve that our bodies make as you are nestled to my side… Seeking comfort and love through the familiar known. I’m thankful that we can steal away moments of quiet and calm; in the midst of a world, sweet baby, that vies for attention. May my love, in its many expressions, encourage you to explore, grow and spread goodness, joy, wisdom and kindness… That is, after all, inherently you.

I will always love you,
Mama” ~ Chelsea Jean

 

Professional Breastfeeding Photography, Nursing Portraits, Spokane Motherhood Photography, Esther Edith Photographer and Doula, Enchanted Woods, Spokane Photographers{This last one is me.}

Wide, earnest eyes stare up at me in anticipation… Long fingers eagerly grasp my clothes and hair. Tiny toes curl in delight…
In this moment, I satisfy her; how blessed I am to participate in this life-giving act of nourishing my sweet child.
Pure joy.
Motherhood.

(I share a little about my nursing journey here, which was recently featured on Breastfeeding Today, LLL.)

breastfeeding photography, nursing in public, breastfeeding in a bookstore, nursing in bookstore, toddler nursing, esther edith photographer and doula

 

  • These are GORGEOUS photos. And I loved reading each mother’s breast feeding journey. I struggled with breastfeeding my own daughter and only ended up doing it for one month because she was never able to really latch on properly (even with professional help), I’m grateful that I was able to at least give her breast milk for the first four weeks of her life. :)ReplyCancel

    • Esther Edith Varghese

      Thank you so much, Linda!ReplyCancel

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