Monday, May 9, 2016

The Art of Breast Feeding.

On a recent trip to New York City, Terry and I met with Leigh Anne O'Connor in a bustling lower East side bar.  Leigh Ann was a dear friend when we lived in NYC over 20 years ago. She is now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Parenting Expert with over 17 years experience working with families. She is the past President of New York Lactation Consultant Association, a member of International Lactation Consultant Association, United States Lactation Consultant Association, and a past member of the Bank Street Head Start Health Advisory Board. When I expressed an interest in sketching nursing moms, she pulled out her phone and put out a message to that effect on Facebook. The next day, I was sketching Rebekah Grossman and her beautiful 11 week old, Harper. Leigh Anne's job is to help moms who have difficulty getting the child to start feeding. Little Harper didn't have enough suction at first. Rebekah told me that this was a perfect sketch opportunity because they could sit like this for hours. Once Harper was finished feeding he fell a sleep on her breast. After a long nap, he might feed again. The family dog slept at Rebekah's feet.

Rebekah's husband is an artist. He painted the walls of  baby's area purple with white billowing clouds. Rebekah is facing the prospect of having to return to work as a political consultant. She wished she could stay home longer to bond with Harper. European countries give working moms much more maternity leave. Her mom is going to babysit while she is a work. In preparation she has been bottling her milk with a breast pump and storing her mill in the refrigerator.

Breast feeding is the most natural way to supply the needed nutrients to an infant. In the 1960s moms turned to bottled formula served in bottles with plastic nipples. There was no added benefit to the bottle feeding other than to the corporations who sold the formula and bottles. I suspect This is how I was fed as a baby.  Breast feeding has made a huge come back with working moms often having to feed on the go. There is some controversy as to weather it is appropriate to feed a child in public. Americans can be such prudes.What could be more natural? I heard of a case where a mom was asked to stop feeding her child in a fast food restaurant. The next week, 50 moms showed up in force to feed their children in the restaurant.

It was such an honor to sketch Rebekah and Harper in this quiet intimate moment. New York City is such an amazing place. I hope that I have the opportunity to do similar sketches in the future.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: