Milk Bath Photography: The Reality
I would like to take a few moments to talk about milk baths. A little random, you might think, but any new parent who has searched for photoshoot ideas on social media will have been faced with hundreds (if not thousands) of milk bath photos. Seemingly effortless snaps of beautiful babies sitting in a tub of milk, surrounded by various attractive looking fruit, petals, or other general flora. It looks so easy to recreate this idea at home, how hard could it possibly be?
Well. Let me tell you!
Firstly, I feel I should point out that while I am by no means a professional photographer, I have ample amateur photographer experience. I felt that this experience, coupled with a couple of relatively well behaved babies should be the basis for some adorable photos. It turns out I was very wrong.
The first snag I ran into was the bath tub. It wasn’t nearly as aesthetic enough. I didn’t think that mouldy grout and stained ceramic was quite the right look, so I had to work out an alternative tub. After rummaging through the shed, I found myself looking at a few options; a large plastic dog bed, a see-through storage tub, or a wheelbarrow. I decided on the wheelbarrow and thought the stainless steel would perhaps add a rustic vibe to the whole affair.
Now I had my makeshift tub, the next step was to prepare it for the babies. I thought that half filling the wheelbarrow with warm water, a splash of milk, and a handful of fruit and flowers would work nicely. As it happens, this was all a lot more complicated than I had imagined. The wheelbarrow was outside in the middle of the garden, and the kettle with which I planned to fill the barrow, was inside on the other side of the house. Cue about twenty trips to and fro, trying to make sure the dog didn’t upturn the whole lot in the process. By the time the water level was sufficient, I didn’t need to add any cold water as the whole lot had cooled significantly due to the sheer length of time the task had taken.
The milk went in no problem. The water now looked milky, as planned – now just for the petals and fruit. I sliced an orange an a watermelon and chucked it all in. It all sank to the bottom; wonderful. I threw in a handful of petals, which thankfully didn’t sink, but then realised I had no idea if they were toxic in any way. The next ten minutes were spent frantically googling if it was okay for my babies to ingest varying species of rose petals, all the while being painfully aware of the cooling, milky broth in front of me.
Finally, I was ready to strip off the babies and plonk them in my painstakingly created wheelbarrow of lukewarm milky water, sunken fruit, and non-toxic petals. Nappies off, babies in. I had my husband on hand to make sure the babies were safe at all times, and he spent the whole time looking amused and sceptical.
Within about ten seconds of sitting in their barrow, both babies worked out that they were sitting on some delightfully warm fruit, and started to unearth it to have a munch. By now, I was racing against the clock to make sure the babies didn’t get cold, and my frustration was growing to unprecedented levels. I raced around the babies for five minutes, trying to get them to crack a smile from every conceivable angle, only to be faced with infants who refused to look away from their soggy orange slices.
So what was the result? About two hours fannying about with a wheelbarrow, 200 blurry photos of babies waving orange rinds in my face, and three nice photos.
Would I recommend the experience? Probably not.