If you pump you don’t need any clarification of what I am talking about in this mama centered blog post. However if you are thinking that “pumping” is a photography term then I encourage you to continue reading and make me laugh inside with cynicism.
So I had booked my first summer wedding 3 months after sweet baby Galilee was to arrive, however, I assumed she would arrive early so my math was a little more on the lean side. When she arrived at 42 weeks the whole 3 month thing was a little more like 2-months-kind-of. If you have babies like mine (aka you are jealous of mothers with colic babies) then you know that at this point in the game you are still a walking, yoga pant wearing zombie, with Pamela Anderson guns, and the idea of going without a baby or a pump expressing milk is insanely painful to even think about. But with a wedding, just around the corner, I knew that pumping at this wedding would need to take place as I would have an 8-12 hour day ahead of me and would need to find some relief and ideally not miss anything important happening.
Duty called and while I was nervous about my first wedding of the season I knew that it would be nice to get out of the house and the babysitter would be more then fine- it was Oma for goodness sakes. In my search to find information on how to go about this- there was nothing- and with such a mom heavy group of photographers I thought I should pass on some helpful pointers on how to go from “pumps-to- pumps” (i don’t wear pump heels to take photos at weddings- who would?!?! haha maybe those photographers who let their expensive camera do all the work- however it sounds catchy so lets pretend together)
“PUMP TO PUMPS” A mama wedding photographers guide to pumping breast milk while photographing a wedding.
1. Pump like a mad woman the weeks before in the morning to store up for being gone all day.
2. Make your babysitter list and get your food and things prepped so you feel calm about leaving baby for the first really long time.
3. Pack camera gear, shot list, directions, and typical wedding day stuff.
4. Get a wedding day breakdown sheet. If you don’t have one, make one, so you can know what the days events are going to look like.
5. Pack your pump, freezies for expressed milk, nursing pads, change of shirt -wearing black is more forgiving if you leak, a bottle of water & healthy snack.
6. Ideally nurse baby all morning until you have to leave- I probably stuff my child full but hope that we will both be more comfortable this way.
7. Arrive early and talk to the site director. Let them know that you will need a private place that has a plug in – if you have an electric pump. In retrospect I should have just gotten a manual pump but wanted to completely empty out and ideally just do it three times and not have to worry about it.
8. Let your bride know that you will be sneaking out to pump throughout the day. If she gives you a blank stare just say something like, “I have a new baby at home so I have to do this for her to eat.” Typically they’ll catch on before that and it isn’t something she needs to worry about. You will get all the photos you need- however if she knows when you are stepping out she will likely wait to cut cake or jump ahead in the days breakdown.
9. Look over the days breakdown and decide when you are going to ideally pump.
Typically a day looks like this:Morning getting ready photos Detail photos First Look PUMP while bridal party gets all collected at decided location Bridal party Family Bride & Groom PUMP before Ceremony Ceremony PUMP Receiving Line Cocktails/Portraits Grand Entrance Speeches PUMP Dinner Dances PUMP Car ride home
10. Hire an extra hand. If you have ever felt the need to have an assistant photographer or a second shooter this may be the day. I was lucky enough to have my favorite co-shooter along so I felt less paranoid when I was pumping milk.
All in all my experience with pumping while photographing a wedding was pretty seamless. The wedding couple got married at a national park, barefoot, so I may have had the perfect couple to work with however even for those high maintenance brides don’t fret it will all work out. The weirdest thing about it all was finding a place that was private with a plug in. I asked the coordinator for a private place with an outlet and she assumed I was talking about charging a phone. She kept saying to just use the outlet in the middle of the kitchen with a bunch of college guys prepping vegan wedding food. (could you honestly imagine just busting it out in there? lol) As a relatively modest individual I didn’t want to gush with details so i just re-asked the question and insisted that I needed a place with a PRIVATE plug in. She ushered me to a creepy back closet where the groomsmen had their liquor stash and little boy like piles of boxers and jeans but it worked out fine. In general I think the best thing to do is to Prepare & Communicate- this is true for any working mother who decides to pump while working. Be proud of doing two very important jobs and know that you are an amazing woman and their is nothing to be ashamed of– RAH RAH MOMS UNITE CATCHY ACRONYM INSERTED.
If you have any questions then just shoot me as message on my facebook page as I check back on that more often.
Live, Love, & Capture.