Nursing Flower Bath + Behind the Scenes

Photo of a smiling woman laying upside down in a flower bath. She is holding and nursing her baby.

What is a nursing flower bath?

A nursing flower bath (or milk bath) is literally a bath full of flowers in which a mom nurses her infant. I know, it sounds a little crazy – but boy is it pretty! I have done them for myself with both of my babies. It is an intense and beautiful experience that is worth it 100 times over when you see the final pictures.

Nursing is a part of motherhood that genuinely surprised me. The effort, the time, the elation of success. I was just baffled by how much sheer time a mom spends nursing her baby the first several months. Hours and hours of time. And if you are having a hard time with it – each of those instances carries anxiety and hope and love and frustration all balled up into one. Add on sleeplessness and hormones and the full life upheaval of having a baby, and it turns out that nursing is actually a pretty big life experience. And for how big of a life experience it is, I feel like it is insufficiently talked about, documented, and celebrated.

This is Why You Need a Nursing Flower Bath

That’s where a nursing flower bath photo session comes in. Imagine the beauty of a flower bath PLUS the beauty of nursing your child. The way I see it, a photo session is a way to say – look at this, it is important. That’s why I recommend taking photos of all of your major life moments. Nursing has not always been included in this list, but I would like to change that. Having a nursing flower bath is an exceptionally beautiful way to celebrate all that you have accomplished. You made a baby! And you fed it! And you survived the process even though it may have been really challenging at times.

Featured Nursing Flower Bath: Kit + Freddie

My flower bath process begins with getting to know you! A consult call and questionnaire help me put together your custom session. I had had the pleasure of photographing Kit a few different times so we already had a good relationship. Kit had had a challenging road to motherhood and really wanted to celebrate getting to this point. She wanted to capture the sweetness of her boy and their connection, as well as how she felt about being his mom. This photo shoot was the perfect way to do that.

Planning the Session

Along with trying to connect with a client’s feelings about their shoot and what they want to portray, I work together with them on the overall look of their session. Kit loves blues and had mentioned lilies – we divided and conquered as I went to look for live lilies to complement her bath while she went on the hunt for dresses. I advised her on some that she picked and we landed on this beautiful floaty dress with sparkly stars. Luckily, it was lily season so I was able to snag some beauties at Trader Joe’s – along with some lavender-colored chrysanthemums (which, as a flower grower, I can tell you were decidedly NOT in season so I was surprised to see them!) Most of my flower baths don’t include real live flowers, but I do like to add them when the scheme calls for it.

Additionally, I asked if she wanted to try adding her husband to the session at the end. I had never done a nursing session with the whole family, but it seemed worth a try. She was delighted by the idea – so our plan was set! Finally, I sent Kit an email with some details on how to prepare and what to expect. The trick with photographing babies is that you really can’t control them – but you can do your best to prep and hope. I find it’s ideal to time it such that your baby is hungry but not starving and slightly dozey but not exhausted in time for the start of the session.

The Day of the Photo Session

The day of the photo session is always a flurry of activity for me (and, I am sure, for my client). The clients prep themselves and their baby, bringing their wardrobe and any baby-related accoutrements. Meanwhile, I’m usually finishing prepping my house for company, getting some snacks set up, and filling up the flower bath. I use hot water in the bath (it cools quickly since it’s on concrete outside). I typically start this process hours in advance. For every flower bath I usually lay down insulation under the bath. For a nursing flower bath, I add sandbags in the water to support my client’s head and arms so she can safely keep baby’s face out of the water while she’s nursing.

When the client shows up, we start on makeup right away (makeup for this and most of my sessions was done by Monina at Moderne Beauty. She is fantastic.) It’s a *must* to have someone else come to hold and entertain the baby during this time. With Kit, we had fun because my baby Maggie was around too and she and Freddie are close to the same age. Of course her husband Cyrus was there to hang out with Freddie and participate in the shoot.

(My assistant was holding Maggie while I prepped the bath.)

Kit and Freddie’s Nursing Flower Bath – Success?

As I mentioned before, the biggest uncertainty for these sessions is the baby. I recommend the baby be 5-9 months of age for this type of session. Usually by this time a baby is a pro at nursing in odd conditions (well, as much as he’s going to be) but hasn’t really developed a fear of water or reluctance to lay on his side or back in water. But ultimately, you really just don’t know what a baby will do in this weird scenario. For Kit and Freddie’s session, we had the added challenge of it being cold outside. The water was rather warm, but usually the baby is not much in the water. This is in part because of the ergonomics of nursing, in part for safety, and in part because getting wet and then being out of the water would ultimately be colder for the baby.

The verdict? Freddie was a total champ. Initially he was reluctant to latch and seemed upset and agitated. We all had a brief moment worrying that this was going to be a no go. Within a few short minutes though (and some impressive maneuvers from Kit), Freddie latched and started drinking earnestly. We got to shooting, and eventually he even fell asleep! We tried to keep him comfy by covering him with fabric, and he just snoozed peacefully through much of the shoot. Kit was amazing at gently moving him into a couple different poses. We got some really beautiful moments between mom and son in a genuinely unique and memorable way.

Finally we got all we could with him asleep, and I invited Cyrus to join in the pool. At this point Freddie woke up but was in a great mood and cooperated for some really lovely family photos.

The Finished Product

All in all, it was a great success and everyone was thrilled! Kit was in love with the photos and said they captured exactly what she was hoping for. The magic of a hard-won motherhood, the sweet connection with her boy and her beautiful family.

You might notice some slight differences between the behind-the-scenes shots and the final photos. These sessions always require a good amount of post processing to make the water and flowers look amazing. I also clearly make the pool appear much bigger in certain photos. That said, using a large pool and lots of flowers, fabric and a little milk in the water makes this process easier. I also *always* have an assistant for these shoots who helps me adjust wardrobe, hair and flowers so I can focus on shooting.

I hope that seeing these photos will convince the skeptic. If you’re a flower or art-loving mama and want to capture the nursing part of your life in beautiful heirloom photos – the nursing flower bath is a great way to go. Kit says:

The pictures made me feel so gorgeous and so seen. Liza has an incredible ability to bring out the most beautiful side of you. Her work transforms what the camera lens captures into art. For me to be able to see myself in that way has been absolutely worth it

(see the rest of her review here)

(Want more flower bath beauty? You can see more info and photos on my flower bath photography page. You can also Send me a Message and we can set of a call to chat more!)

Photo of a smiling woman in a blue dress laying upside down in a flower bath. She is holding and nursing her baby.
Photo of a woman with closed eyes wearing a blue dress. She is laying in a flower bath nursing her baby for a photo session.
Photo of pulled-back scene of a woman nursing her baby in a bath of flowers while two other people stand next to the pool.
Photo of a woman with closed eyes wearing a blue dress. She is laying in a flower bath nursing her baby for a photo session.
Photo from above of a woman nursing her baby in a flower bath. She is wearing blue and is surrounded by blue and purple flowers.
Photo from above of a woman nursing her baby in a flower bath. She is wearing blue and is surrounded by blue and purple flowers.
Photo of a family in a flower bath. A woman, a man, and a baby are all looking at the camera surrounded by flowers.
Photo of a family in a flower bath. A woman and a man are kissing their baby on the cheeks while the baby smiles at the camera.

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