Las Vegas, NV – Normalize Breastfeeding Tour
Even though our original theme of the #NBFtour was to hold a meetup event in the areas where we have local groups, it just wasn’t a good fit for the tour regarding the expenses that come along with it. I had to rethink it all QUICKLY to make sure that the tour didn’t lose its momentum.
My photography, although the foundation of this project, has never been the focus for many reasons:
- I love to support other photographers helping to normalize breastfeeding. (I am even teaching a class while on tour!)
- I know that what really matters are the mothers’ individual stories and helping them find the support they need.
- Most of all, it has been a personal struggle trying to gather my confidence while working within a new niche, under a project name that is SO MUCH BIGGER than just myself.
I haven’t been clogging news feeds and email inboxes with the images that I have been capturing over the past 2 years because I honestly just didn’t feel that it was fair to others. There is so much more happening in the breastfeeding community that is of great significance. I chose to prioritize those things that mattered to me. However, very quickly I began to realize that a few things were happening because of that decision:
- People had not read my breastfeeding story to understand my previous struggles.
- People had no clue that I was a photographer (and the primary author of this blog)
- People assumed that NBF was a non-profit organization (which also wasn’t a good fit)
- People started asking me for advice that only a trained lactation consultant was able to provide
So to clarify some things, I updated the branding, I am focusing the tour on my photography, and I feel so blessed because everything is falling right into place! (So glad to get this off of my chest, finally!) I am excited to finally share the photos with you. Keep an eye out for posts about my 2015 travels. I will be blogging “back in time” to share some of the earlier locations with you all as well. This particular post was delayed due to personal health issues that I am still recovering from. I am feeling much better now. I needed to set aside some time for myself to heal. 🙂
For the main event at each location, we offer 2 shoot locations for mamas looking for a beautiful portrait, or just some candid images while nursing public. We also offer a special opportunity for Active Duty Military mamas: an additional group image as a “thank you” for serving our country while breastfeeding!
This was my first trip to Vegas, but it definitely won’t be my last. The community was very eclectic, vibrant, and full of all kinds of mamas just trying to give their babies their very best. Each mama has a story that has brought them to this point. Either they have struggled or they are just grateful that everything has been going smoothly since day one. *Many thanks to Photos by Phelicia for help with this mural location idea*
“After many visits with lactation consults, chiropractors, pediatric dentists, etc we found out my baby has a tongue tie that wasn’t severe enough to be revised paired with a high arched palate. Because of these issues I had severely damaged nipples for over 2 months, a very low milk supply and had to supplement with donor milk/formula.” -Trisha
“Being a mother was always something I had dreamt of my entire life. I had also dreamt about the day I would meet my precious baby and begin our breastfeeding journey. I have friends who have children but not one of them breastfed. Most attempted but gave up within the first two weeks due to the pain. With that being said, my support system was very limited. This led me to choose a hospital that was mother baby friendly, that had no nursery so the baby would be with me 24/7 to help encourage nursing.” – Nia
“…I am 26 yrs old with 7 kids…My older son enjoyed sharing his milky he even would wait for his brother to be done. Then at 1 week my newborn was losing weight and I had been taking him into the Dr’s a lot. The Dr then told me I would be unable to nurse him because my milk was no good anymore because of how many kids I had. I was so upset so I called my lc and we started to use the SNS with human fortifier in it and he slowly started to gain weight…” -Melissa
“I absolutely love the bond breastfeeding has created for me and my son and I plan on letting him nurse until he chooses to stop.” -Ashley
“I planned to breastfeed my first son, but I had trouble producing enough milk and was forced to supplement with formula. I was so disappointed… So this time around I wanted to be sure that I could breastfeed with no issues. After Jace was born and they took him to the nursery, the nurse brought him back after about 15 minutes because he wouldn’t stop crying. And as soon as I took him back, he latched on instantly with no worries!” -Corrine
“I have been breastfeeding from birth until now. At 2 months, I began pumping and bottle feeding, but at 4 months she started refusing to take milk from anything but me. I’m hoping to nurse up until her 1st Birthday.” -Lynda
“My breastfeeding story is definitely one that is simple and beautiful. I was lucky enough to have a pro little nursling. My daughter was born at home in a very relaxed setting so when I first held her she immediately latched. I wasn’t even trying to nurse her yet. I was just trying to hold her. From that point on she has been a great nurser. She likes to be nursed with no cover and boob totally out but she will tolerate the 2 shirt method in public lol. I’ve had no problems with cracked or sore nipples. My only “problem” is oversupply but it’s pretty much a non issue with how we feed (sometimes we feed two times in a row on one side before we switch to make sure gets all the fatty stuff)” -Jessica
“I gave birth to my first in August 2015. It was the most amazing and intense experience of my life because I decided to have a natural birth. After my baby girl was born my amazing doula Tori helped me figure out the beginning awkwardness that breastfeeding brings. Maybe it is just me, but I never thought I would need to learn how to hold my baby in order to breastfeed, but after several minutes and Tori’s help my baby girl latched like a champ! I was very surprised at how much force she had even though she was so tiny! I was told that the first two weeks would be tough because I would be really sore, but it took me a good 4 weeks to get over the pain, it was really discouraging but I’m glad I stuck to my guns! My baby girl and I are still going strong and I feel very blessed that I am still able to breastfeed my baby girl.” -Addie
“Breastfeeding has been pretty straightforward this time around. My first baby was born with a heart defect and I was encouraged to pump every three hours during his three-week stay in NICU. Unbeknownst to anyone I have a natural over-supply of breast milk, so once we were home from the hospital it was extremely difficult! Being more familiar with breastfeeding and the “normal” workings of my own body, I was able to make necessary adjustments this time around for a much simpler, more comfortable experience…” -Rachelle
“I breastfed my 1st born (son) for 2 years, and I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 2 and half years. This has been for me one of the best parts of motherhood. She is our last and I am already so sad at the idea that one day I will no longer be breastfeeding. I am been learning a lot, sharing and helping other people. I really want to get my lactation certification one day. I am French and I have been so surprised to see how shocked everyone is back home to see that i was still breastfeeding past 6 months. But when they see a pregnant woman smoking that is totally fine because the doctor said so, just an example! So I am fighting to normalize it everywhere!!” -Magalie
“My son was born 11.30.14, and I knew nothing about breastfeeding! My mother didn’t breastfeed and my sister didn’t breastfeed her daughter’s, so I thought my only option was formula. A friend of mines told me about some breastfeeding groups on Facebook and I joined them. I started reading up about the relationship you build while nursing, and knew I wanted that for my son and I. When Grey was born, I had a c-section. I had a tough time, but when we finally figured each other out, it made the healing process so much easier. We now have such a strong bond and my little guy loves to nurse! I work full-time, so I pump while I’m away, and am proud to say that he’s been EBF for 15 months and counting!” -Jan
After we finished up the mini sessions we headed toward Fremont Street, into the heart of downtown. This large group of moms took a firm stand as they lined up together to nurse their babies for the shot below. Although there were some people who made rude comments, shook their heads, and did not approve of our effort to normalize breastfeeding in public, we formed a barricade and to stop foot traffic in downtown Vegas to get this shot in front of the casinos. Eventually, some people gathered around us who were in favor of breastfeeding applauded and shouted for these #NBFmamas! It was so great to be encouraged by others and feel the positive side of this movement.
“I feed my baby whenever, where ever. Parks, beach, restaurants, the beach. Everywhere. Public breastfeeding was probably the biggest issue we had. I had my cover and used it. But i was always afraid of the confrontation that might come at me. Which i have had none, thankfully. The more I did it, the more confident I became. Now, I have no issues feeding my baby where ever we are and without our cover. There have been times my husband has looked at me and asked if I was feeding the baby. He had no clue.” -Morgan
“My son was born with low blood sugar. After a 3 day NICU stay he wouldn’t latch. It was extremely hard on me. I would cry every time I tried to get him to latch and every time I bottle fed him. I wanted him to have breast milk so I decided to pump and bottle feed. I was lucky enough to have a great milk supply and able to pump 40oz a day! At the age of 4 weeks I tried breastfeeding again. He latched like a pro. He now has his first and last feedings of the day before bed on the breast. I still bottle feed most of the day so my husband and family can always feed him.” -Morgan
“I tried breastfeeding our daughter whom was born in November ’13 and wished I would have asked for help because my milk supply diminished and I just stopped after a little over a month. We became parents of 2 this year on January 11th. We now have a beautiful son. I feel like am new to breastfeeding and am learning everyday about it and how to continue nursing for as long as I can. Fingers crossed for two years!” -Roni
“I just wanted to give up after a month of pumping. Six weeks after she was born I decided to try to get her to latch one more time. If it didn’t work I would just give up and formula feed. I put her to my breast and she latched. She started nursing for an hour straight. I cried tears of joy. I never though I would be able to nurse her. My daughter is now One years old and still nursing everyday. It’s still hard for me since I work full-time and don’t respond well to the pump. I still have to supplement her with formula for a feeding a day. I know that any amount of breast milk is better than no breast milk. I’m just so glad that I never gave up. No matter how sad or hard it was. It is so worth it In the end.” -Ashley
Meet Our Local Sponsor
With the help of our Local Sponsor Well Rounded Mama, we closed registration for Las Vegas with a large group of participants. This wellness center is all about education and support for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, well into postpartum. They have a beautiful boutique and offer many classes to the community as well. It was an honor that they would host our meetup event and provide their lactation consultant offer support to the moms who had attended.
“I have breastfed my son since birth and then pumped and fed him. Now he is starting to wean.” -Tori, Doula & Midwife Apprentice
I am a CLC at Well Rounded Momma where they hold free weekly milk circles to assist moms with breastfeeding. Getting support and meeting moms going through similar stages of parenthood is not only a great way to build a support system, but a fantastic way to learn and question and develop your parenting style. -Dani
After my presentation, we left the meetup a few minutes early for the private session that we had planned for this lovely mama below!
“I breastfed my 1st born (son) for 2 years, and I have been breastfeeding my daughter for 2 and half years. This has been for me one of the best parts of motherhood. She is our last and I am already so sad at the idea that one day I will no longer be breastfeeding. I am been learning a lot, sharing and helping other people. I really want to get my lactation certification one day. I am French and I have been so surprised to see how shocked everyone is back home to see that i was still breastfeeding past 6 months. But when they see a pregnant woman smoking that is totally fine because the doctor said so, just an example! So i am fighting to normalize it everywhere!!” -Magalie
Thank you Las Vegas mamas for nursing in public and helping to normalize breastfeeding!
Special thanks to all of the #NBFtour collaborators for helping to make this tour great!
Contact us to sponsor a participant or a city firstname.lastname@example.org
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