The baby years are ending, I feel it in my bones
I didn’t realise how different I still felt. You know how when you first become a new mam and you feel so estranged from your old self? I thought that gap had closed a lot but I was wrong. I’ve been continuously pregnant or breastfeeding for over 7 years now. My eldest is 6 years and 4 months. My youngest is 3 years and 2 months. A few things are happening that’s colliding for me in a perfect storm of emotions. I realise that we are on the precipice of a new beginning, I feel it in my bones.
My youngest is about to be the age that my eldest was when she arrived. That feels meaningful to me. I’m very aware of it because that’s when he had to grow up a bit. And she still feels like such a baby to me but she’s also not, or nearly not. She’s currently in some sort of developmental leap where she is super emotional. Very whiny, lots of tantrums, very clingy and no one but mammy will do. It’s been a testing time as she’s got the strongest willpower I’ve ever witnessed in a human, child or adult.
Self-weaning with a preschooler
There is no denying that she is a preschooler now. As I lay here in bed typing this, it’s 6am and she’s just woken up (after a night where she woke and nursed frequently, as usual). She’s nursing and I’m acutely aware of her size now. We’ve always bed-shared and ‘breastslept’.
When she was an infant, she would curl on her side and nurse next to my tummy, taking up hardly any room. Now, when she stretches out, her head is at my breast height and her legs reach halfway down my shins. When did she get so big?
It’s getting much harder to feed her comfortably in the night as she likes to stretch out so I can’t curl up around her like I used to and as is my normal sleeping position. Now I’m sleeping on my side stretched out straight and it’s causing havoc on my back and hips (reason 302 to have those babies young gals).
However, despite the nursing on demand day and night, my milk supply is reducing rapidly. Sometimes she tells me there is ‘none left’ or it’s ’empty’. I feel like my body is naturally trying to draw it to a close. I feel different, my boobs are smaller (this was confirmed in my Bravissimo fitting the other day when they told me my bra size has gone from a 32GG to a 32E).
I feel more like myself, the old pre-kids me – I didn’t even consciously realise that I still didn’t feel like the old me. I feel like I’m beginning to get my body back (and by back I don’t mean my figure, I mean freedom). I don’t know how long this process of self-weaning will take but I’m aware we are in the final stage of it and you never know when the last is until it’s happened.
Fiona Saxton Photography
Fiona Saxton recently contacted me asking me to collaborate and offering to take some breastfeeding photos of us. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to capture this moment in time. To capture these last days of my youngest being a nurseling. Of my eldest being a young kid. And just of our family in the end of our ‘baby days’. I would like more babies, Papa Ginge is definitely done and I’ve not quite come to terms with it all being over if I’m honest. Rationally, I think he is right and two is a good fit for us but in my heart I’m not done. Will I ever be though? I thought these photographs might be a good way to help me work through my emotions around it all.
I could tell from our interactions via email that Fiona ‘got me’ and we would get on. Fiona has recently moved to the North East (Alnwick) but takes bookings UK wide. She told me that she is also a gentle parenting bed sharing mama too. She was so patient with me going back and forth on emails to make the arrangements. Even before she arrived I felt we both had a good understanding of what our aims were and what would be happening. I wasn’t nervous at all.
Fiona came to our home on a sunny spring Saturday morning and slotted right in. She was really easy to talk to, great with the kids and helped us all feel relaxed. The kids can be tricky, you never know how they will be with strangers but she put us all at ease. Fiona has children similar ages so she knew just what to say and do to get the best photographs out of them, which I think shows.
We wanted to capture candid photos rather than overly posed ones so we largely tried to just interact normally while Fiona snapped away which worked well. We all hate posing so this is much better for us. Being in our own home meant we could really relax and capture the true essence of our family too.
Fiona talked to me about how she had fed her own child to 2 so I felt really relaxed about breastfeeding my 3 year old in front of her. Frankly, she’s just the kind of person I could be friends with.
I’m delighted with how the photos turned out. They are beautifully shot and skilfully edited. I love the colour editing that Fiona has used, it’s exactly the style I love in photographs but don’t have the skill to achieve myself. I will treasure these forever. The photos speak for themselves (she says wittering on). These are just a handful, we had well over 100 to choose from, all of them gorgeous. I think I’m going to make a photo album of them all because they all deserve to be printed.
Fiona’s website was great. It was really easy to view the photo gallery. Fiona sends a link and a password and you just log in and browse them. Fiona includes a selection of colour photographs and black and white. Each image has a version for print and one for web use, which is perfect for a blogger like me as I use a lot of images on my site so don’t want to take up too much space.
The only reason I would hesitate in recommending Fiona is because I don’t want to share her but that would be a bit greedy of me wouldn’t it! I would recommend her to anyone but especially to those of you with children, and those of you breastfeeding. If you want a photographer who knows what it’s like to have young children then Fiona is your woman. One thing is for certain, I can guarantee we will be hiring her again.
Disclaimer: Our photographs were gifted to us in exchange for this honest review. Team Corbyn t-shirts gifted by Kitty’s Prints Unicorn skirt and hair bow gifted by Bowspoke Angels. Rainbow leggings gifted by Tribe.