What will you remember about nursing your baby?
The milk-drunk smile
Wide eyes eagerly watching you
Their warm little body snuggled next to yours
Little fingers touching you
Gulps and swallows as the tummy fills
Watching wrinkly feet turn plump over the first few weeks
Seeing those chubby thigh rolls and knowing it’s pure nutrition from your milk
Comforting a sad or sick baby
…and so much more!
As new moms, we spend countless moments nursing our babies. At times, it may feel like it will never end and can even be overwhelming when exhaustion sets in. Like everything else with kids, though, before you know it your child will be grown up and no longer nursing. What will you remember?
We have this incredible bond, this incredible gift, that is breastfeeding. Whether for 2 days or 2 years, the time spent breastfeeding your child is so special. For some, it comes easily. For others, they have to fight through one struggle after another. Regardless, the moments shared between mom and baby are special and deserve to be remembered.
So much of a newborn’s life is spent eating, but if you are like most moms, you don’t have any pictures to remember this special time together.
Enter Timbra Wiist, of Landslide Photography. Her specialty is nursing photography. I met Timbra in her role as the leader of the Murray group of La Leche League. I was then introduced to her photography skills at Latch on America, a breastfeeding event in the summer of 2011. My first daughter was about 9 months old at the time and I was running a booth about my childbirth education classes. Timbra was taking nursing portraits. She took a couple of shots of us together and I chose my favorite to keep. At the time, she offered to let me purchase the other images, but I declined, thinking to myself, “If I want to pay for pictures, I’ll make sure and do it on a day when I’ve done my hair, I’m not so sweaty, etc.”
Now I wish I could go back and get those images! I didn’t get it—photography isn’t only about creating an image of what you wished you look like…it’s about capturing a moment in time to remember. The great thing about professional photography is that it captures that moment in a flattering, but not fake, way. Now that little baby is a full-fledged “big girl” (according to her) and recently became a big sister, which made her look SO much bigger than she ever had before. I love her toddler-self. She’s hilarious, adventurous, creative, and loving. As much as I love who she is at this moment, I realize I can never go back to the time she was smaller- only through memories, and photography helps to capture those memories. I also love that nursing portraits show how normal, loving, and important it is to nurse your baby. So, when Timbra said she’d like to do a giveaway to let one lucky reader have a photo session with her, I was eager to share that chance with you!
Let me share part of my interview with Timbra, so you can get to know her and her work a bit more. The responses in italics are her words, although I have edited for length and relevance.
Tell me about yourself.
I grew up in Northern California and lived there until moving to TX after high school, for a year, where I met my husband. I am a wife and the mother of 2 little girls. One was born in Fiji, the other here in Utah. I am a La Leche League Leader, lactivist and this year I will be the Chairwoman for the Breastfeeding Cafe in SLC, for the second time (the first in 2011). in 2011 I took on the role of Girl Scout Leader as well. I absolutely love the water and the ocean.
Tell me a little about your background in photography.
I have always enjoyed taking photos. I think I got my first camera when I was 10. It used 110 film, that long skinny film with the two little reels on either end :) And I upgraded several times after that. Through high school I traveled to the South Pacific several times and LOVED photographing children on those trips. Living in Fiji in 2000, I really started enjoying photographing people and the interest in photographing people and my travels caught fire. I spent 2 years studying photography, particularly photojournalism, event and portrait photography. I have combined these styles of photography in my own work, a mix of "lifestyle," and formal portraiture. My favorite subjects these days are my kids.
Why do you specialize in nursing/newborn photography?
When I started out in photography, I REALLY loved wedding photography, my business was just getting off the ground in California when we moved out of the country. When we returned to the US and relocated to Utah, wedding photography was a very difficult avenue to gain much ground in. I did a few family sessions here and there, but after becoming a La Leche League leader and later working with the Breastfeeding Cafe in Salt Lake City, I became really excited about nursing portraiture. I feel that my excitement surrounding photography has followed my own life path and while I still REALLY love event/wedding photography and find it to be quite thrilling, as I've become a mother I've come to enjoy documenting pregnancy, infancy, breastfeeding and childhood just as much, if not more so.
Describe a typical photo session.
A nursing portrait session generally goes pretty quickly. A newborn nursing baby pretty much just nurses and nurses and it's easy to get several lovely photos. An older nursling can be easily distracted, playful or sometimes frustrated about someone invading a nursing session. I try to stand back and let the child cuddle with mama for a bit then step in again when things seem more natural and comfortable, but these sessions also go quickly, because any little one over about 6 months old is generally interested in one way or another, in the big black box that has become part of the session :) I think nursing portraits are great in someone's house, in the "usual" nursing spot, but they can be fun in parks and other pretty places too. For other sessions? With families, I know how it is to be the mom who spent months looking for coordinating outfits and hours trying to make sure no one fell and broke their nose that day leading up to photos, and how frustrating it can be when little ones decide they will just NOT comply and "smile nicely for the camera" (which is pretty much EVERY family I've ever photographed). I try to remind families that I'm photographing their REAL family and real families don't all sit together and smile at the camera at the same time. If someone is looking for a regal portrait to hang over the mantle, maybe I'm not your gal, but if you're wanting some photos that really capture your family in THIS moment, then that's what I seek to do. And sometimes that means one child is off by him/herself, or someone's picking their nose or rolling their eyes. . .whatever it is, it's real!
What would you say to people who are unsure if they are comfortable with nursing portraits?
Nursing portraits are really intimate. Some people are worried that nursing portraits will expose too much but are pleasantly surprised with the result of modest and beautiful photos that capture the essence of the breastfeeding relationship they have with their little ones. The beauty of nursing portraits, particularly, is that you don't have to "do" anything, except that which you already do. I have even gone to homes of new families requesting newborn photos and when baby decides to nurse, asked if the mother would like some photos, a mother who had NEVER thought of nursing portraits before, and later been told that she was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful result, namely because she pictured herself much differently when nursing. The photos will reflect your feelings and personality within your nursing relationship, which will be different for every mother/child pair (triad).
Anything else you'd like to share?
Very often I have had women in my life say they wish they'd gotten maternity photos. I have three photos of my first daughter nursing between birth and one month and none again until she was nearly TWO! A few months after she turned 2, I embarked on nursing portraits as my niche. I am remiss that I do not have more photos of her nursing, because it was a HUGE part of my every day mothering for the first years of her life, and most certainly for those early months. Even if you decide not to have portraits done . . . take some photos! Sometimes we feel worried about how our bodies look rounded, awaiting babies, or nursing them and nurturing them, not quite back to our "fighting" pre-mother weight, but I hope that the photos I take, will reflect back to mothers that their bodies are doing AMAZING things, growing humans (in different stages) and that this will be what they see when their photos are returned to them.
I love that Timbra “gets it” and has totally been there! She is in a beautiful place to use her talent to help new moms capture the moments that matter.
So here’s what you can win:
It's a 30 minute, on location session with 3 high resolution digital negatives of choice, a $65 value.
And here’s how you win:
Leave a comment on this blogpost about what you’ll remember about your nursing experience (or why you think nursing photography is a cool idea!). We’ll randomly pick one commenter to win the session. In order to win, you must also be a fan of Birth Utah and Landslide Photography on Facebook. You will be contacted by email.
CONTEST ENDS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 at Midnight MST. Winner will be contacted by Monday, Feb 11 and announced on Facebook.
Fine Print: This promotion is only featured by Birth Utah, but the giveaway is solely from Landslide Photography. They are responsible for coordinating with the winner to redeem the prize. It is not in any way sponsored by Facebook. One entry per person, regardless of how many times you comment. J