Breastfeeding in the Wilderness: Portraits and a Story

by Svea Boyda-Vikander on January 9, 2013

We are thrilled to share this breastfeeding story and series of portraits, sent in by Rebecca. She writes, “Recently we had our family portraits done and I requested some breastfeeding portraits with my sweet baby. I love how they turned out and thought I would share them with you.

Breastfeeding for me was a nightmare. It’s a long story, but against all odds Baby and I have made it to 12 months and have decided to keep going. I originally wanted these photos taken when he was nine months old, but I am so glad it didn’t work out because I realized that not many women in my community breastfeed past 9-12 months. I wanted portraits done that were¬†conservative¬†(for my own personal reasons), yet portrayed the beauty of breastfeeding, particularly for an older child in hopes that other Mommas would feel confident and supported in breastfeeding past 12 months.

These were taken in a thicket on our farm at sunset.

Of course I had to have some with our sling too (made by my best friend back home specifically for big babies – he weighed 9 lbs, 3 oz at birth). I love that he still loves his sling even at one year. He still eats and takes naps in it, too.

And of course my “Hippie” look wouldn’t be complete without a Baltic Amber necklace. :)

I have always loved breastfeeding in the “wilderness.” I feel closer to God and closer to the special Spirit that thrives in our little man’s body.

The biggest thing that makes me feel proud and accomplished as a Breastfeeding Mom is that I was always told I wouldn’t be able to for medical reasons, but with some guidance and changing my health I was able to. It was a lot of work. I also exclusively breastfed my baby for 10.5 months until a health issue forced us to start him on solids (I had set a goal to exclusively breastfeed for 12 months.) Still, he was 98% exclusively breastfed until his first birthday at which he weighed 22 lbs, 4 1/2 oz.

In no way do I feel like I failed in my goal. I look back to those first weeks and months and can’t believe how far we’ve come, despite the lack of support and biochemistry working against us. Seeing these images and knowing what they represent for me makes me feel like a rock star. :)

All photographs are by Sami Jo Photography - www.samijophoto.com

And my little disclaimer on exclusively breastfeeding: It really isn’t for everyone. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of prayer and research went into this decision. It was a really personal decision we made. We felt it would greatly benefit our baby.”

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicollette January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I love these photos very very tastefuly done!!!

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Meagan January 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I had breastfeeding pics taken with our second, during our family portrait session :) they’re framed in our dining room and I adore them. Now I’m feeding my third and I’m already nostalgic over them, I can’t
Imagine how I will feel when some nursing or when they’re grown up!

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Ilea January 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm

These are beautiful pictures! I’m like you, very conservative and now that my oldest baby is 27 months being conservative when nursing is difficult. I also have a 7 month old whom I nurse almost exclusively as well. (I had to add some solids when sleep was almost non-existent just to have the energy to care for my children.) Congratulations for doing what was best for you and your child!

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Tara Wright January 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I love these images, beautifully captured and tastefully done. I exclusively breastfed my daughter until she was 12 mos. and continued w/o every using any formulas until almost two and it was the best thing I have ever done for her. I will breastfeed all of my children in the future far past a year. I think it’s essential for their growth and development and such an instrumental form of bonding between mother and child.

Lovely work & story!!

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emma January 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Beautiful!! I want to breastfeed at long as possible and I love seeing an older child nursing. Inspiring.

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kylie April 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm

these are beautiful pictures of a beautiful time in a mother’s life, congratulations to you.
having said that, though, the use of the word “tasteful” is a bit of a concern, as if a less modest woman is somehow unpleasant and it’s that kind of unguarded remark that sees women continue to struggle for acceptance when they choose to breastfeed.
language is so important.

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Melissa July 17, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Beautiful photos!! I love this so much. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful baby too!

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