We have seen various projects appear that celebrate and normalize humanity's oldest and most natural action: breastfeeding. However, while some photographers try to focus on how the public perceives a woman who breastfeeds in public, Emma Shardlow Hudson from Hudson & Rose Photography does something quite unique.
She instead places her efforts in creating hands-on support sessions where mothers can become comfortable to breastfeed and share their experiences in a friendly environment while Hudson documents these intimate moments. Through sheer coincidence, we began talking about children and photography, which led her to tell me about the breastfeeding projects she organizes. We have seen beautiful photographic collections of work that celebrate the female body and what it goes through to bring a new life into this world, as well as various social experiments that emphasize the necessity to stop sexualizing women's breasts when women are breastfeeding their child in a public arena.
However, as Hudson pointed out to me over a coffee chat, there is a lack of regular support groups for women who are breastfeeding, and they may also feel anxious in approaching a health professional or may need a safe environment to become accustomed to breastfeeding in public. While it may seem obvious that breasts are meant to provide nutrients for a newborn, unfortunately, women can encounter various hurdles in their breastfeeding journey.
Using her own experiences and knowledge of raising two children, Hudson decided to combine that with her love for photography to create sessions that not only give mothers the opportunity to create images which document this precious and intimate bond they share with their child, but also to allow them to raise questions, worries, and share advice from dealing with latching issues to learning how to correctly place a baby in a wrap (it's actually more complicated than it appears!).
The support doesn't end with the photographic session, however. Hudson also runs a mother-friendly Facebook group that allows mums and mums-to-be share personal thoughts and questions. It can be a daunting time in a woman's life as she becomes a mother, and this helps mothers stay in touch with one another as well as allows Hudson to share information on any upcoming breastfeeding sessions in the area.
I went along to one of these sessions to create some behind-the-scenes shots of what Hudson does and why. Each session is organized in a different place, from a local cafe that's breastfeeding friendly to the beach and the forest if weather permits. Hudson hopes to eventually expand and cover wider areas of the country; and with her enthusiasm, love, and dedication, I cannot see why her project wouldn't take off.
Nurturing a baby creates an unbreakable bond between the mother and the child, and unfortunately, it's a fleeting moment that soon flies by. Being able to record it and keep it forever is something that will warm a mother's heart for years to come. It was nice to see that fathers were equally as welcome to attend and support their partners because they deserve to be a part of this just as much.
Would you want your or your partner's breastfeeding experience documented? Is it something you'd like to have memories of?