Easter Family Fun

Shot with my Canon Digital Rebel Xsi and Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens
Image Post Processing in Adobe Lightroom 2.0

One of the best things about being married to Jeff is his family.

I had NO first cousins until I was 13, and to this day he is still our only first cousin.  Jeff’s Italian clan is much more prolific!

Lucky Jasper will never be at a loss for second and third cousins to play with (or to babysit for him as he is one of the youngest.)  They are a beautiful bunch of kids, and I seized the opportunity to practice getting some portraits.

Photographing a 7 month old may be challenging, but have you tried photographing a two-year old? Makes me realize this is only going to get more difficult. Or at least until tactics such as bribery and other methods of coercion become effective.

So we had a nice family filled weekend –  even  my boobs were cooperating.   Every nursing session went really well Sunday and yesterday too. This morning went like clockwork.. then I get to daycare to do my usual noon nursing of Jasper and NADA. They just would NOT let down. Poor little Jasper sucked and sucked but the let down just never came. Luckily I had brought extra milk to daycare so they made him a bottle and I ran back to work to pump.

I pumped and pumped and after about 5-10 minutes of no let down I was just about to give up when it finally happened. And then three ounces came out.  So once again, the milk is there, it just won’t come out. This is just soooo damn frustrating! I really thought the problem had resolved itself, but this just came out of the blue completely.

I really appreciate all of your comments and suggestions, it helps just to know that I’m not the only one who’s been through some sort of breastfeeding wringer.  This feeling of being betrayed by my own body is one that I haven’t really dealt with since doing infertility treatments. I’d done a pretty good job of burying those emotions – and here they are again, good as new.


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emily says:

I’ve been following your blog via the nest, and wanted to offer some late suggestions to your let down problem. My DS is almost 7 months old and can be as impatient as Jasper at the breast. For the last 3 months, I’ve had to stimulate let down prior to putting him to my breast to feed. If I don’t, he’ll suck for about a minute and then pull away and cry. And, the more upset he gets, the harder it is to achieve let down.

So, my no-fail let down trick includes pinching and twisting my nipple. Then, I place my palm on the nipple gently and make a circular motion. I alternate between these two movements, and usually I get let down in a minute or so (though sometimes in the evening it takes longer). I do this before all pumping sessions and before the feedings when I know my DS will be impatient. Hope this helps!

jbhat says:

What a cute family. And I too wish your struggles a good outcome. I wish I had advice. I guess just try to relax about it and not stress too terribly much. And yes, a visit to your midwives certainly couldn’t hurt. Or a lactation consultant.

Merks says:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your photographs. I look forward to seeing them every day. And my GOD Jasper is a freaking heartbreaker.

ariana says:

Tabitha, thank you so much for the compliments! The reason you just mentioned (not enough back up room) is why I got the Sigma, though I do love the 50 for those really tight crops. My canon 50 just returned from being adjusted and I will hopefully be able to do a side by side test comparison soon, but I’m pretty sure the Simga is sharper, even with my 50’s focus issues having been fixed. It also seems to hunt less in low light.

My thought is buy it from a place like amazon or somewhere else where you can return it and just try and see if you like it! Though if you get a sharp copy I doubt you’ll be able to part with it :)

ariana says:

Kari, “grandpa” is our Cousin charlie, who is only about 10 years older than us! You just gave Jeff a lot of good material to bust Charlie’s chops with. Love it :)

Marybeth, Meggin & Keri, thank you so much for your support. It does make a difference knowing there are people out there cheering us on!

Faith, thank you so much for taking the time to post your methods. And huge props to you for making it to 7 months dealing with this problem!! It’s been less than a week for me and it’s making me crazy.. I don’t know how you’ve dealt with it. Did you look into having your thyroid or hormone levels tested? Since mine was such a rapid change I’m wondering if I have some sort of post pardum thyroid issue which isn’t that uncommon. i’m thinking of making a trip to my midwives..

faith says:

i’m de-lurking to give a boost to my fellow bf mom. you see i have a let-down problem too and i can get one with a lot of work. the following work for me but not all the time. i hope it helps you out.

to start the first let down i take a few deep belly breaths, holding them in for a few seconds and then slowly release it. meanwhile i close my eyes and think of my chunky monkey. also i get some heat pads and nuke them in the microwave and let them sit on the boobs while i’m getting the rest of the pump equipment ready (if i’m pumping) i use the gerber ones i got at target:


if things are rough, i have an emergency sock that i sniff and some pictures to look at. if the little guy is with me, i lean down and sniff his cheek/hair/ear/neck whatever i can reach with him latched on.

to get additional letdowns while pumping, i manually express and pinch my nipples till they tingle and that usually does it. i _know_ there’s milk there, but sometimes it just doesn’t want to come out!

if there’s an area that’s lumpy, i heat it with the gel pads, massage with a little cream and then pump, stop and pinch the tips to get any clogs out and pump again. it works but it took me 6 months to figure it out.

i hear your pain!!!! hang in there. my boy’s 7 months and i’m seriously thinking of weaning… it’s just so hard and there’s a lot of guilt.

Keri says:

I love the photos!! What a beautiful family! I hate that you are still having let down problems- I was so excited to hear that your weekend had gone better. We went through the same issues and I eventually had to stop bf at six months. Hang in there, though. It sounds like your issue may be trying to resolve itself.

Tabitha says:

Beautiful photos! Are these all with natural light? I have been looking to add a wider angle lens to my collection. The 50mm just doesn’t allow enough backup room sometimes. I was completely for Canon only brand, but after seeing your work with the Sigma it’s awfully tempting and worth further investigation.

BTW, I stumbled across your site from PG.org and have really enjoyed your PS tutorials. You have a way putting it in a plain english I can finally grasp. Thanks for help and inspiration!

Meggin says:

Photos are great!
Sorry about your feeding issues. Look on the bright side and think how lucky you are to be able to fully breast feed until now with little trouble. I never nursed Kirk since he would never latch. He only got pumped breast milk for 2.5 months!!
As women we just have to accept how complicated our bodies are:)

I am so happy to hear your weekend went well–nature is such a mystery. Breasts or not, you’re a wonderful mom. Don’t forget that!

kari says:

love the photos – i can’t decide if my favorite is the one of your darling hubby getting the three diva makeover, or the one with jasper and grandpa (maybe grandpa??) so cute! you are so blessed to have lots of family – and jasper will have so much fun growing up w/ all the kids!
i am glad the boobs played nice over the weekend… sorry about the difficulties this week. if there is one thing i have learned through this whole –getting pregnant –> staying pregnant –> giving birth –> breastfeeding THING… is that our bodies are amazing, complicated, miraculous, difficult, ingenious, and unexplanable all at the same time. no wonder we struggle with the love/hate relationship with them!
hang in there :)