How to Get the Best Breastfeeding Photos

There’s no denying the special bond felt between moms and baby while breastfeeding. So, it’s only natural moms would want to preserve that moment for as long as possible. Perhaps that’s why breastfeeding photos are becoming more and more popular. Should you take some selfies, or should you hire a professional photographer? How do you get the best photos? And then what do you do with the photos?

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Additional Resources

help us normalize breastfeeding is breastfeeding awareness media campaign that features breastfeeding photography and stories of breastfeeding families from around the world. Listen to our interview with creator, mom and photographer, Vanessa A. Simmons of Candid Perspective Photography.

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Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
How to Get the Best Breastfeeding Photos

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT:  There is no denying the special bond felt between moms and baby while breastfeeding. So it’s only natural, moms would want to preserve that moment for as long as possible. Perhaps that’s why breastfeeding photos are becoming more and more popular. Should you take some selfies or should you hire professional photographer? How do you get the best photos? And what do you do with the photos once you have them? Today, we’re talking about how moms can benefit from having photos of them breastfeeding their babies. We are The Boob Group.

[Theme Music/Intro]

SUNNY GAULT: Welcome to The Boob Group. We’re here to support all moms wanting to provide breastmilk for their babies. I'm Sunny Gault and I'm joined here by some amazing mammas which we’re going to meet in just a second but first, are you a member of our Boob Group Club? If you are, you’ll get bonus content after each episode, PDF transcripts from all of our shows so you can read through them in addition to listening to our shows and much more including discount from some our partners.

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Alright, so let’s meet some of the mammas joining our conversation today. This is an interesting conversation. We’ve got two photographers on and we’ve got a couple of moms that have experience with breastfeeding photos. I'm actually neither guys. I am going to be basically just kind of moderating the conversation today because I don’t have a lot of experience. I’ve done some breastfeeding selfies but I'm not sure that that really qualifies me to talk too much about the topic in today’s episode. Let’s start with Shannon. Shannon, tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with today’s topic.

SHANNON O'HARE: Hi, my name is Shannon. I'm photography with Shannon O’Hare Photography. I have two young children. Emmerson is eight months and my daughter Gabriela is two. And we all live in sunny San Diego California.

SUNNY GAULT:  Okay. So you’re photographer but not a breastfeeding photographer?

SHANNON O'HARE: I am not a breastfeeding photographer. I do not specialize in breastfeeding, no.

SUNNY GAULT:  Okay. But you have had photos taken of you breastfeeding?

SHANNON O'HARE: Yes. I have been on the other side of the camera for once and it’s great.

SUNNY GAULT:  And it’s a welcome relief, right?


SUNNY GAULT:  Alright. Alright, African Moon, Moon, tell us a little bit yourself and your experience with breastfeeding photos.

AFRICAN MOON: So I have three children. My eldest is eight. She’s my only daughter. And then I have a four year old and a five month old. And I'm all about being in your face. So all of my photos that when I reach out to a photographer I want in your face what heck is this kind of photos going. I want for people, when they see it, they stop and say, “Wow, really?” So I like to look for “in your face” photographer, anything like I see a lot of really beautiful photos out there and I love those. But when it comes for me, I want to tap into this side of people that makes them say what the heck.

SUNNY GAULT: Shocking all Moon, shocking all. Alright. And let’s see, Courtney. Courtney, tell us a little bit about yourself.

COURTNEY SATEN: Hello. My name is Courtney Staten. I am a photographer base side of Kansas City Missouri. I do specialize in breastfeeding photography, and just new moms and young families. The name of my company is Stag & Bird Photography. I have been working as a photographer for several years and started a project called “Mother” last year. And I am doing a lot of stylized portraits. And then also some lifestyle as well for new nursing moms or even extended breastfeeding, full term breastfeeding. I don’t discriminate against nursing moms if they’re nursing a baby. I am excited for you. And Moon, you sound like an ideal client. I want to work with you.

SUNNY GAULT:  Alright ladies. Well, welcome to the show.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT:  So before we kick off our episode today we’re going to talk about how you can get the best breastfeeding photos. We’re going to talk with Vanessa Simmons, another photographer. There’s a theme here today if you guys haven’t notice. And Vanessa is the founder of it is a breastfeeding awareness campaign. So, hi Vanessa and welcome to The Boob Group.


SUNNY GAULT:  Tell us a little bit about the campaign.

VANESSA SIMMONS: About two years ago, we started the Normalized Breastfeeding Campaign with just a simple sharing of breastfeeding photograph. And one thing led to another and we ended up sharing images from moms. They’re sharing their own selfies and groupies. A lot of moms are finding a lot of support through this sharing of images online. And about a year into the campaign, we decided to initiate the first ever international day’s normalizing breastfeeding. It was an awesome event but consisted of supporters around the world and mothers around the world nursing their babies and our based of event had about five thousand people participating last year.

SUNNY GAULT:  Awesome!

VANESSA SIMMONS: Yeah. It was awesome. And with that event, what we did was we actually created like a pledge where they could pledge to normalizing breastfeeding. And with that pledge, we created a t-shirt, and so the pledge was actually on the shirt and the moms could purchase the shirt to support the tour. And the whole point of going on tour was to really create diversity within the images. I can only take so many types of breastfeeding images here in San Diego. You are always going to see the same type of backgrounds and so I really wanted to get up there and meet some of the moms. So we have local support all around the world actually. And so I kind of focus the tour around going to the areas where we have those local groups and we do a meetup, we do a big photoshoot, we do private sessions as well. And going on tour has been really awesome. It’s been giving me a great opportunity to meet the moms in person and then talk with them about their stories in person.

SUNNY GAULT: You know what I love, I think what are the things that really separates us from other different photography that I’ve seen is that they have the option of doing the group photo and individual photos, and I think there’s so much power in those group photos. Those are the ones that really standout in my mind. It’s just being really something really special for them.

VANESSA SIMMONS: Definitely. And they have a chance to connect with other moms during the shoot, a great opportunity for them to connect with them outside of the shoot afterward because they’re getting to know each other on Facebook and things like that. So we support system definitely.

SUNNY GAULT: Very good. Anything else that mom should know or any other ways that they can get involved?

VANESSA SIMMONS: I mean, they can definitely can involve. They’re just looking for local support as well. We have a big worldwide group that helps you find local groups or start local groups. And they can find that just on Facebook itself but the domain for that, the subdomain for that as well is just And if they go to that link, it’ll take them straight to the Facebook group and they can just request to join. And then inside of that group, they’ll find all of their local group that they can get involve with or start their own.

SUNNY GAULT: Well, I know you are a busy mam Vanessa, running all of this and it wasn’t even plan. I loved that it wasn’t plan actually, that it happened organically.

VANESSA SIMMONS: It’s so organic. Yeah.

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah. Just show as how the need out there and mom is coming together to help other moms and I don’t know. I think it’s really special and I know I really appreciate everything you put into this as well as all the moms that’ve benefited from it. So be sure to check out and all the wonderful stuff Vanessa is doing over there. And Vanessa, it’s great to talk to you.

VANESSA SIMMONS: Great talking with you to.

SUNNY GAULT: Thanks so much for doing this.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so let’s start our discussion. So what we want to do with today’s episode is really give moms some ideas and some of the options out there. So if you’re thinking about preserving these breastfeeding memories, there is some great ways to do and photography is one of them. And so we want to give you guys some ideas on ways you can do that. So I think we’re going to have a great conversation today. Let’s kick it off by talking about some of the main reasons moms chose to have these photos taken. So let’s start with the moms that have had those photos taken off themselves. Moon, let’s start with you. You kind of give us a quick little idea in the beginning but share with us your reason for wanting to have the shocking all photos that you’ve described to us.

AFRICAN MOON: So I consider myself a breastfeeding activist. I say that because I try to activate people’s minds into thinking about things that they wouldn’t typically think about. So we just did a slimmest photoshoot where I got a bunch of mothers together, put them in this big funky afros and had makeup done, and everybody was wearing black clothes and we’re all breastfeeding. I want for people to stop and look at breastfeeding in a different way. I really love the florals and you know, people sitting out in the water and all of those things. And those are beautiful things that I would hang in my home. But when I want for it to bring up a conversation, I like the shock factor.


AFRICAN MOON: So, when I reach out to other mothers for them to come and do a photoshoot with me is typically because I want for people to start having a conversation that they would normally have.

SUNNY GAULT: Okay. Do you have any photos or have you had any photos taken where it’s more just about you and your own babies as opposed to making a statement? Do you have anything that just reflects on your personal?

AFRICAN MOON: Absolutely. I took photos with my daughter and again we’re sitting out on the leaves and the trees and everything. And those are hanging in my living room. You will never see those posted online. Those are my photos that I love to see because that was breastfeeding with my first child. We had a hard time starting.


AFRICAN MOON: We had a hard time starting where people kept saying just give up, just give up, just start giving her formulas. I was like, “no, I don’t want to give her a formula.” I was like, “we can do this. I just need somebody to help me.” So by the time we finally got there, it was so important for me to make sure that I had something to document that we had a hard time. Nobody believed in us and we made it. So I do have those that I keep hold dear to me. But as a breastfeeding activist, when you see me share things, it really is to start up a conversation.

SUNNY GAULT: I love it. Okay. So Shannon, what about you? You’ve had photos taken, what was the purpose or what were you trying to accomplish with it?

SHANNON O'HARE: So I had pictures taken. So the reason that I did breastfeeding with my second was because I was trying to do something different that I did with my first. So with Gabriela my oldest, I had maternity pictures. And the second time around, I was like, I’ve done that. We know what I look like pregnant. I'm fat and I'm bloated. I don’t want to go that now.

So this time, I wanted to do like a lifestyle shoot in the home. We did it when Emerson was about maybe four weeks old, so our breastfeeding was good and established. I had a C-Section with him so I had to be careful about protecting that relationship because my milk didn’t come in until seven days. So I wanted it to be good and established. So when we sat down to shoot, I was able to feed him and he know what he was doing, I knew what to be doing, and we were all good.

So I did that and I didn’t do it for like statement or making or anything. I did it just to have and record for posterity for my own family but I actually ended up making wave because I posted them online because I mean, it’s 2016 and that’s what I do with my pictures. And my aunts some stuff like that were calling my mom like, “Shannon posted her breast on the internet.” “What is the world coming to?” And so Emerson was born in the end of July. So when this was happening it was August and it was the last week of Black Breastfeeding Week. And so I took that as an opportunity to write up a little editorial like here is why I share these images and share some statistics about the differences between the breastfeeding in the black community and breastfeeding in the white community.

So I mean, well I created some things but more than anything it was an opportunity to share and educate. And I did put on my pictures because I really believe and for anybody listening that is thinking about hiring a photographer whether it’s me or Courtney or anybody else on your local area, print your images so that you can create a lasting legacy in your home. You’re not necessarily just printing them for yourself but so that your grandkids can find them and so that their kids can find them because pictures printed on the wall are enduring and they’re so beautiful to have, so print your images.

SUNNY GAULT: Okay. So back to the mamas who had breastfeeding photos taken. So what when into the decision, I guess for you guys, when it comes to I mean, we all have iPhones, whatever, cameras on us constantly, right? What goes into the decision of you taking your own photo versus hiring a photographer? Moon, let’s go with you.

AFRICAN MOON: Well, for me, it was the fact that I don’t have that eye. I see photos and I think oh, this person has an amazing eye for details as oppose to just snap and go. And I wanted to make sure that those very minuet details where at one point, I was breastfeeding in my son, my five month old, he was holding on to my breast, so my breast looked kind of squishy and the photographer says, “Okay, let’s wait and let him finish so you can get the squishy look out of your breast when we take the photo.” This is something I wouldn’t have thought about myself. But when I see it later, I was like, “Oh Wow that made a big darn difference.” So I like those little details that I wouldn’t typically see myself that come from a photographer that has that ability to look at the whole situation and change those little details that will make a photo beautiful.

SUNNY GAULT: Absolutely. And Shannon, with you, I mean, no, you’re not a breastfeeding photographer but you do know a lot about photography. So did that thought ever go through your mind of, “Why not just try to do this myself and see what happens?”

SHANNON O'HARE: Absolutely not. No, no. It’s stressful. It’s stressful because I do know a lot about it. So I know a lot about it. So I know a lot about what can go wrong and I'm already hard on myself so I did not want to try and do something and then have it not turn out the way that I wanted it to while I'm seating there trying to breastfeed like my husband will pick up my camera and he’s like, “Oh, I can do this,” and I'm like, “Okay, great, I think you are a photographer now.” And I let him snap and play with it. And then, you know, my head is chopped off or like the perspective is a little weird because the camera’s angle odd layer, just weird things happen. So I was just like, “Let’s just hire somebody and they will get it done and if it’s not the way that I like, I can just to talk to her about it and have it corrected.”


SHANNON O'HARE: I have taken selfies before while I'm nursing and those are hard to do, so I admire anybody that can manage to do that.

SUNNY GAULT: All right. Okay, so when it comes to the actual photos, this is I guess more of a question for Courtney. Can any photographer take breastfeeding photos? Or do we really need somebody? And I know it’s kind of a loaded question because I'm a asking a breastfeeding photographer. But, you know, to look at it objectively like what is the difference? Like what does a breastfeeding photographer really need to know that would be different from a regular photographer?

COURTNEY SATEN: I'm hesitant to say it but I will. I think that empathy is going to be the biggest factor.


COURTNEY SATEN: I think that it would be very difficult for photographer that does not have experience nursing to be able to take the pictures that could make them relatable in innocence to the client. That’s not to say there aren’t fabulous photographers out there or even male photographers that are more than capable of doing terrific work. For me, I feel like what helps me is I am able to directly relate to my client. With that, I feel like just having kind of keen eye to know what the child is doing, kind of to sense what they are looking out, what moms looking at. How their feelings are. Which photographers generally and especially if you’ve got any kind of documentary background, you’re going to be pretty quick to pick that up.
So I don’t feel like you necessarily have to have a breastfeeding photographer doing your photos if you’re wanting nursing pictures but it’s kind of to the same extent that not everybody is a sports photographer or action photographer. And you still take great pictures. The football game, if you’re not an action photographer, absolutely. But one of the things that really helps photographers develop really, really good images is being able to understand what’s happening in that moment.

So I feel like if you find someone that you’re comfortable with, that’s a pretty big start, and liking their work. But I do think that it is helpful to go with maybe a mom that’s been there, I mean, for me, I'm still nursing my two year old and I nurse my oldest for a little under a year. So, I understand. I totally have been there and I know what it’s like trying to get a grumpy baby to latch on or a sleepy baby to latch off. I think those kinds of things are important when you’re looking for a photographer.

SUNNY GAULT: So Shannon, I know that you went with Vanessa, breastfeeding photographer and would you agree with some of the stuff that Courtney was saying as far as choosing someone that really understood breastfeeding a little bit more because you’re a mom, you’re breastfeeding mom, right? So why someone could hire you theoretically, right? To take breastfeeding photos. What’s the difference there for you, do you think?

SHANNON O'HARE: Absolutely, I think that what Courtney said, she proves a lot of great points. Like last night for example, I had a shoot and this was with a family that we’re friends with and my friend Shaye, she’s still nursing her three-year-old Trinity. So at the end of the shoot, Shay was like, “Look, I would like to get some pictures nursing her,,” and I was like, “Okay, but they’re not going to be like fancy, a lot of like styles, this is going to be very like, this is what it looks like when you nurse.” And she was Okay with that because she knows that’s my style on photography. I think that it’s very important that when you are looking for someone to capture these moments for you, if that person in addition to having the technical skill and the artistic knowledge to execute what you have as your vision as a client. I think that your personalities need to measure as well, so that you’re both.

Everyone is comfortable on the shoot because I mean honestly, your boobs are out. So it’s important that you’re comfortable with them being in front of your photographer. You also, I think it’s really good point to bring up that you should whether or not your photographers is going to be along on the shoot or if they’re going to bring in assistant, if they’re going to have a student with them, so that you know who you’re going to be in front of I guess.

COURTNEY STATEN: Yeah. I absolutely agree with Shannon on that and I didn’t even think to mention, most of my styled shoots particularly if I have several moms that I'm shooting, I have a crew. So I’ll have a hair and makeup artist and I’ll a lighting assistant. So for those styled shot especially if you’ve seen the ones that I’ve done where I’ve got like five moms standing on the river, that’s not just me there, there is several people helping out on that. So who you’re going to be taking your pictures in front of are also really important and then what you’re wanting to use them for too.

SUNNY GAULT: Right, exactly. Well, I'm glad you brought up multiple moms in a breastfeeding photo because I want to talk about group photos for a second as supposed to just having private sessions. And Moon, you touched on this a little bit too as far as getting multiple mammas together. Moon, what do you think some of the benefits of taking of photos with other breastfeeding moms?

AFRICAN MOON: For me, I think it’s important for people to see multiple mothers. So you won’t hear that of course Moon is breastfeeding and Moon is taking breastfeeding photos, its Moon. So people don’t have those thoughts in their head when they see that there are different mothers and everyone may come from a different background and have different looks. So it’s not just that person that they consider the “erf child” is breastfeeding but yes, this is a common thing and that comes through when you have a lot of people together.

SUNNY GAULT: Absolutely. And Courtney, what have you noticed on your shoots? You said you have some photos on multiple moms in the river. So you’ve done group shots as well?

COURTNEY STATEN: Yes, I have. I offer breastfeeding photography for my everyday portrait client, so moms are more than welcome to contact me about doing an individual shoot. But typically, two to three times a year, I will do many sessions where the sessions are only 15 to 25 minutes per mom and kid. And then, if they want to hang out before or after the session, we’ll do a group shot. So I have done three or four moms up to I think seven in a group. And part of that is you kind of want the moms to be able to jive well together to but a lot of times, they have not met one another.
And what I thought was really, really cool in a session that I did last August which is one I was talking about they’re all standing in the river. They all kind of bonded and several of them exchange information, they could be Facebook friends or whatever. And it was kind of needed to see them making their own little tribe. They were different personalities like Moon had kind of mentioned, you know, you’ve got the one mom that everyone expects to be breastfeeding and you’ve had someone that maybe isn’t your stereotypical country mom that people would think that will be doing breastfeeding photography. So it was really meant to see this just kind of melting pot of different moms doing these shots. And that’s really important to me as well about like Vanessa’s Normalized Breastfeeding Campaign, I think that’s really important to be able to show that everyone is able to nurse and breastfeed if they want to.

SUNNY GAULT: I think there’s strength in numbers too. So for someone that may not be as comfortable of doing individual breastfeeding photos, I think that it could give them a lot of strength to stand with other women and just feeling empowered by the fact that you’re doing something together. It might be a way to kind of get into the breastfeeding photo scene if you don’t feel well comfortable of just doing something of your own. It’s just nice to know that you’re just bonding with other women to accomplish something and it’s pretty cool. Vanessa does have some really cool even just like that I know it’s part of her campaign. So the big question is how do you get those good breastfeeding photos? Because we all know baby is probably aren’t going to just post and smile with the camera. I don’t know if your kids do but babies, I don’t know. My babies never did. So our experts are going to share some other favorite tips when we come back.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright. So welcome back. So the big question is this, how do we get those breastfeeding photos as we good as we possibly can? Right, because kids don’t always cooperate, right? Newsflash, and so let’s start with talking with our moms here. So were you concern, I guess, and knowing that you had a shoot coming up, where you concern that you babies weren’t going to cooperate at the shoot? Shannon, let’s start with you.

SHANNON O'HARE: I was not concern mainly because Emerson was ten pounds when he was born. So he came out like he was ready to eat from the beginning. There was no schedule or whatsoever, so whenever my boob was out, he was ready to go. So that’s usually the biggest concern, right? The thing that concerned me was not him, it was not my daughter like is she going to be okay while we’re trying to get these shots, is she going to be jumping on the bed, or she going to be not responding to the photographer very well. So that was my concern, was how my oldest child was going to be acting but other than that, I knew Emerson was going to be fine as soon as I presented him with the opportunity to eat food.

SUNNY GAULT: He was all in. So was your older daughter part of the photos or you’re just talking about because it was done in your home, you wanted to make sure that she wasn’t you know, disruptive?

SHANNON O'HARE: Yeah, exactly. So she was a part of the photos because she’s still with my -- she had to be. We made space for her to be. But there were definitely some shots where it was just me and the baby, and were me and my husband and the baby. And then, some of them were I was nursing and John and Gabriela are playing on the bed and it’s just very, very natural and very like this is a day in our life right now. So my concern was mainly I hope she’s not like going to do this meltdown thing because there’s somebody in the house that isn’t always in the house and maybe going to the toddler shyness like. Sometimes Gabriela is the most outgoing, “Oh I'm going to play with all the kids and they’re all my friends,” and then other time, she’s like, “Get me out of here, I don’t want to talk to anyone.” So I don’t know what causes those mood changes. I don’t know what the catalyst for that is. So that was really why I was like, “Hmm, I wonder how if this is going to go.”


SHANNON O'HARE: So that was the biggest thing.

SUNNY GAULT: Okay. And Moon, were you concerned or have you ever been concern because it sounds like you’ve done multiple shoots here with babies not cooperating at shoots?

AFRICAN MOON: You know, it’s funny because I have like thirty photos. There were I think eight of us in a shot. And at least thirty photos where half the children are playing with their toes, no one is actually breastfeeding. Moms are standing there smiling and the babies are often la-la-len. And this is one of the reasons why I think it’s important to find a breastfeeding photographer or at least at the very least, find photographer that works with children. So they’re flexible. They understand that. Sometimes it just not going to happen like they might all snapback at the same time, they may not you know, I need to be quick on your toes. So if everybody is cooperating all at the same time, let’s get it and get it done and get out of here. So I think that’s one of the reasons why breastfeeding photographer, even a photographer who’s breastfeed is important because they know these moments. I have one of my favorite photos from my breastfeeding shoot. My son is actually sleeping but the way they took the photo that you can’t tell that he is asleep. So those kinds of things are actually really important.

SUNNY GAULT: Fake it till you make it, right?


SUNNY GAULT: That’s awesome. Okay. So we talked a little bit earlier. I just want to dive into this, just a little bit more about styles because there’s a lot of different photos that you can take when it comes to breastfeeding your baby and certain photos are stylize and stuff like that. So Courtney, can you walk us through that just a little bit as far as what are the different options out there for moms that maybe thinking about hiring a photographer?

COURTNEY STATEN: Absolutely. So again, it’s really going to depend on the photographer. So some things that you would maybe want to look for are what your interest are. Do you want more candid lifestyle shots of you in the house, folding laundry, big kid jumping on the bed, doing whatever it is that happens during the day when you are nursing your kids, sometimes watching HD TV. Or are you wanting the very styled like some of mine, the floral crowns and the flying dresses and standing on rivers, and like I had a client who recently said she wanted to look like a mermaid goddess, and I was like, “Alright, we’ll do what we can.”

So you’re kind of want to look for the style that you’re most interested in. So typically lifestyle photographers are going to have more of a photojournalistic stand of point. So those will often be in black and white and have kind of a green and have a real grits and I really love them because I think they develop a lot of emotion. And it’s very much this is the every day. So for those shoots, usually it would just be a photographer coming into your home. For my mother sessions, often times you’ll be working with a hair and makeup team and I’ll have assistants helping with the lighting and styling shooter.

So you’re kind of want to decide what it is that you’re wanting. And then also look into your budget. This doesn’t go across the board but typically styled shoots are going to run a little bit more too. So you can kind of decide what it is that you’re most interested and do you want your makeup done and your hair done and to be wearing seven yards of chiffon or would you rather be in the pants in our room in a nursing top in your living room. What are you more comfortable with? What is more exciting for you? What would you prefer?

SUNNY GAULT: Good info. Okay. So I want to talk a little bit about some tips that you guys would give mom. So whether they’re trying to do something on their own or they are hiring a photographer to do this. What are some tips in both you know, Courtney, you can shout some stuff out as well as our mammas they’ve had the breastfeeding photos taken of themselves. How do you make the sessions run smoothly as possible? We’ve talked about some stuff as far as I think the big thing is baby, right? How do you get your baby to cooperate and maybe there are some really cool things to Moon’s point that some really cool photos could develop even if babies aren’t cooperating. But let’s assume for a second. We really want the babies to cooperate. Courtney, let’s start with you. What advice do you have for parents getting babies to cooperate?

COURTNEY STATEN: Primarily, if you can book during a typical nursing time, if you have a schedule fed baby try then to book with them that schedule if possible, but don’t try to push it with your kids you know, you don’t want them showing I'm starving. If you’re an on demand breastfeeder, I was, so it was pretty much if I’d hold my shirt down and my kids would latch on. But I mean, as far as getting baby to cooperate, if baby doesn’t, and I'm hesitant to use the word “baby”, baby toddler, if you’re nursing, isn’t cooperating, “That’s life” and you’re going to get some shots for that. I had a cake smash birthday photoshoot yesterday and baby girl was not having it but the pictures are pretty cute because that’s just how it was. That was the mood of the day.

AFRICAN MOON: I love shooting cake smash, I love it.


AFRICAN MOON: I had one with the little girl did not like the cake like we had to hide her little you know, those little Gerber like cheerio things that they have. We have to hide those in the frosting on top of the cake to get her to approach the cake. It was hilarious.

SUNNY GAULT: What kid doesn’t like cake?

AFRICAN MOON: She’d had it like, so when I do a cake smash, I tell my clients like, “Hey, give your kids cake.” If they haven’t had it before, let them have some before the shoot so that when they see this on the shoot, they’re interested in it. So she’d had it before and her mom was like, “I guess she’s not feeling it today”, I was like, “Oh, my goodness”. I wish I had that restraint because if you put cake in front of me it’s gone.


SUNNY GAULT: Case closed, case closed. Here is my question. So if we, you know, we’re bringing our babies to a photoshoot let’s say, and if possible, we try to time it out so it’s during one of those times when our baby is pretty hungry or at least approaching one of those times. Is it better, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen on a short because I don’t know there is like a lot of different factors here, right? And you may shoot things out of order and whatever. So I'm just wondering, do you give your baby a little bit of milk so they’re not completely unhappy? I mean you don’t bring a starving baby to a shoot, right?

COURTNEY STATEN: I don’t advice against ever letting your baby be that hungry if you can avoid it just in general rather you’re doing pictures or not. For me, speaking from the kind of a personal experience, my kids, if they got hungry they got like hun-angry. So then, they’d have a hard time latching or calming down. So it’s totally fine to let him nurse a little bit. And a lot of times especially on older babies, when they start getting curious, they’ll hop on and off, no latch on, latch off and that’s fine. Your photographer will be use to that and skilled on that. And I’ve got great pictures of smiling babies while latched on, smiling babies while latched off, grumpy babies, I mean, it’s fine. I would say that I would like for my clients to be less concerned about keeping their kids happy, that they are with them being comfortable, because if they are comfortable and they want to feed their baby and that helps to do that. Let me worry about taking the pictures and you guys just do your own thing.

SUNNY GAULT: That’s a really good point because not only would it help if mom is completely comfortable just for mom’s own sanity but babies and again, maybe we shouldn’t say baby, kid’s feed off of that, right? So if they can’t stand that mom is unhappy or nervous or whatever and we might be in a little bit nervous whatever. Anyway, that may just be part of this. But the more relaxed you can be I think, just naturally the more relaxed our babies and kids are going to be as a result, right?

COURTNEY STATEN: Absolutely. That’s so true.

SUNNY GAULT: What other tips? Anything else come to mind as far as how do we make these shoots run smoothly as possible? If you have a Type-A mom that is going to be like, “I need to know beforehand.” “I know that you don’t want me to think about this but I'm going to”.

COURTNEY STATEN: Yeah. I think they should never schedule the shoot during that time. If you don’t have a nap time set then start putting your child to sleep at a certain time every day and at least two weeks beforehand. So they’ll get used to take in a nap before the shoot. So they’re not cranky like stuff, never do it during that time and I think that’s important.

VANESSA SIMMONS: I think for the mom, it would probably be important to make sure that she’s “EN”. So she’s not hungry on the shoot. I always bring snacks and some stuff like that to my shoot just in case. You know, mom is so busy getting her kids and everybody else ready that she neglects herself because I know how easy that is to do, but making sure that like she’s fed and like the mom is hydrated and I like to make sure that mom is relaxed before we start shooting.

So whether that means we’ve got snacks or we have, I’ve had moms sometimes like, “Hey mom, can you run back to the car because I forgot my chopstick,” and the rest of the family relax when mom steps out because she’s so tense. And then when she comes back from her walk she’s a little more chilled out because approaches the shoot and she sees everything is going well. So that’s the biggest thing. Just to relax and try to have fun with it.

COURTNEY STATEN: I would definitely agree with that. And you’re killing me now because now, all my clients are going to know when sending a mom away.

VANESSA SIMMONS: I'm giving away our secrets, our trade secrets.

COURTNEY STATEN: As far as if you’re a real Type-A mom and you want to know exactly what’s going on, make sure that the photographer that you’re working with is comfortable with having an outline shoot. And I also like to see kind of what it is that my clients are kind of thinking. So if they have seen something of interest or whatever and it has sparked something in them, I'm happy for them to send that over to me and I can say, “Well, these are the things that we can to create this image on our own.” That’s not necessarily copying the artist or the photographer that did it, and I can make it more individual to you.

I am totally good with the shot-list, if mom wants to send me a list saying, “These are the shots that I would like.” Over the shoulder I want looking straight on. I want this style, I want it or not necessarily style but I want this shot and this shot. And I can say, “These are the things that I think hearing to be possible, these are the things that aren’t.” A big part of my job as a photographer is managing my client’s expectations. So I want to make sure that my client is coming to the shoot feeling like all they have to do is show up and be pretty basic, let me run it. And if you are the mom that wants to really direct you shoot, make sure that your personality and the photographer’s personality are going to match that well.

I'm pretty easygoing, so it doesn’t really matter to me one way or another. But some photographers really want to run their shoot a specific way and then if a mom is say, “No, I need to do it.” “We want this, this, this.” That not might be the best photographer for you. So that’s something that you would want to kind of ask ahead of time too.

SUNNY GAULT: Awesome ladies. Well, thanks so much for being part of our episode today as we continue and wrap up our discussion on how to get some great breastfeeding photos. If you’re a member of The Boob Group club then be sure to check out our bonus content after this episode. We’re going to discuss common mistakes parents make when trying to take their own breastfeeding photos. I'm sure the list is very long. For more information about our club, visit our website at

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SUNNY GAULT: So before we wrap up our show today, we have a segment that we’d like to do from time to time on the show. This one is called “Mamma Hacks”, and I really like this. This was a segment that basically was created by you guys. We were getting submissions basically people reaching out to us with different hacks that they had discovered with breastfeeding and pumping for their babies and we thought, “You know, why we should make a segment out of this.” So here we go, here are some mama hacks and this is actually special partnership with our friends over at the SmartMom app.

So if you haven’t heard of SmartMom before go ahead and check them out on iOS. And it’s great. It’s basically kind of an online form that you can access through your app, compose questions and help out other mammas, and there are also rewards each time you post questions. So you can win different prizes and things like that. So not only you’re helping other moms but you can get a little something, something out of it for yourself. So check that out. So Sophia, responded, we put this question out on SmartMom app and Sophia responded and this was her mamma hack. She says, what helped me was pumping first thing in the morning using a nursing pillow and double feeding right before bed, so my little one slept long with the fuller tummy. Alright for those of us that have pump, pumping first thing in the morning, you guys tried that and got more out of it in the morning, what’s your experience.

SHANNON O'HARE: I'm empty in the morning, so I bed share.

SUNNY GAULT: You’re being drain throughout the night.

SHANNON O'HARE: Yeah. When Emerson and I get up, like, he’s fed. The only person I need to feed is myself and Gabriela. So when I would pump, it would be probably late afternoon once he’s kind of get enough of me throughout the morning. Or maybe he had a long nap or something like that.

SUNNY GAULT: Exactly. She also says using a nursing pillow, I love nursing pillows. I have to day I didn’t use a nursing pillow so much with my single twin babies but when I was feeding tandem breastfeeding my twins before they got so big that they didn’t no longer needed it. I lived and died by my, I think it was a double breastfeeding pillow. And that was just amazing. Shouldn’t see me like running to the airport. When I would travel, I’d like it, it’s me because I didn’t want to put it like luggage or anything like that, it’s like me and this huge, huge breastfeeding pillow like running through the airport, trying to catch it like. Anyway, so I'm a big proponent of nursing pillows. Double feeding right before bed, I don’t even know what double feeding is. You guys know what that is?

SHANNON O'HARE: I’ve never heard that no.

COURTNEY STATEN: Yeah, I’ve had heard of that, yeah.

SUNNY GAULT: Maybe it’s like feeding -- yeah in close proximity, there you go. Yeah, I agree. Don’t let anyone go to bed on an empty tummy because my children remind that every night, they’re like, “Snack, snack” and I'm like, “You just ate.” I don’t know, they have to have food. They have to have a full tummy when they go to bed. So that even continuous into their toddler days and beyond I'm sure.

So Sophia; thanks so much for sending this is. If you guys have a mamma hack, please let us know. We would love to share it on our show. So you can go to and send us your hack through the contact link on our website. You can also submit a voice mail straight to our website which is pretty cool. So you can just use the microphone on your computer to do that and that we'll include on the future episode.

That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to The Boob Group.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

Thanks for listening to The Boob Group. Your judgment-free breastfeeding resource.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line-up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series, or if you’re a business, or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit

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