Educating Mothers About Breastfeeding Through Photography

Educating Mothers About Breastfeeding Through Photography

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. 

Mothers relaxing at a cafe.

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!).

Woman breastfeeding being photographed.

Female photographer documenting a baby.

Female photographer documenting breastfeeding mother.

Female photographer engaging with a child and a breastfeeding mother.

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. 

Breastfeeding photography sessions.

Female photographer holding a newborn.

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?

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Roni Chastain's picture

I have been taking photos of breastfeeding mothers for over 30 years. My website is
I have done a multi-media presentation, showing the normalcy of breastfeeding and marketed it all over the world.
BrESTfeeding is the best for baby, it is species specific. All mammals give their babies their own milk...except for humans, who give their babies cow's milk formulas.

Funny how some people get grossed out by human milk and bare women's breasts but are OK with drinking milk from a cow or a goat and topless men.

Roni Chastain's picture

In the USA we are dealing with a multi-million dollar industry that sells artificial baby milk. Breastfeeding is not seen as an important product, no money to be made. Women are sold a bill of goods feeling that artificial baby milk is the same as breastmilk. While it may not be as good for mothers, it is the best for babies.

Emma Shardlow Hudson's picture

Roni that's incredible! I'm going to go have a look at your website now. And I totally agree, we have a very odd perception of breastfeeding in our culture.

Roni Chastain's picture

Difficult to fight the formula companies. They make millions of dollars off artificial baby milk.

Emma Shardlow Hudson's picture

All we can do is fight the good fight isn't it. We have such tighter regulations in the UK for formula advertisement yet still they manage to undermine mothers and coerce health professionals. Its sad when something as important as a babies health and wellbeing and a mothers also comes down to what makes the biggest profit. What a world we live in!

Not being a fan of shirking off personal responsibilities, nothing is preventing most mothers from breastfeeding.

Emma Shardlow Hudson's picture

You're right Bob, only 2% of women can't physically breastfeed which is a shocking statistic when you consider the amount of women truly feel they were not able to breastfeed despite their best efforts. Breastfeeding success is about more than physical ability though, it's about knowledge and confidence, the right support and knowing where to find the right advice, it's about knowing what to expect from something that's natural but not always normal unfortunately and often not easy. It's about learning to not give a fuck when someone tuts at you for feeding your baby because 'oh my gosh! Breasts are only a sexual tool!' didn't you know?

I spoke to a lady the day of this session whose son had a tongue tie which prevented him latching effectively despite both their best efforts and so she was having to feed him formula whilst trying to build a big enough supply by expressing because she didn't know there was another option because the person she put her trust in, her paediatrician no less told her that the tongue tie her son had was small and insignificant! There's no such thing as an insignificant tongue tie, especially if it effects latch, what the paed should of done is referred her to a lactation consultant after admitting it wasn't their area of expertise.

So yes, most women can breastfeed physically but there is SO much more to success than that and that's without even getting into the politics of breastfeeding!

There are many barriers to women breastfeeding. The biggest is inaccurate information coming at them from all sides. The worst offenders are the pediatricians who haven’t properly educated themselves. I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard from mothers about what their child’s pediatrician has told them. I myself had a horrible experience with my first child and was told all sorts of inaccuracies from the doctors. As result I ended up exclusively pumping for him. I became a La Leche League leader a couple of years later to try and combat this issue.

Emma Shardlow Hudson's picture

Thank you so much for such a wonderful feature Anete! It's such an honour for me to be able to combine two big passions of mine in photography and supporting families ❤️

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Great article girl! 💙