The Story Behind This Baby-Filled Valentine Is the Sweetest Treat of All

chocolate box
From Labor to Love Photography

Photographer JoAnn Marrero has released the most adorable treat this Valentine's Day, in the form of a super-sweet infant photo shoot that will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. Marrero, who owns From Labor to Love photography in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, recently wrangled 13 (we repeat: THIRTEEN) babies into a large chocolate box for a special V-Day photo shoot -- and we honestly can't get over how cute it is.

  • Marrero tells CafeMom that it was a beloved Valentine's Day memory of her son, Alexander, that first sparked the idea for the giant candy box.

    "When I gave him a Valentine's Day [chocolate] box, he opened it and started screaming with joy to his big brother Michael that 'there's chocolate in here!!!'" she says of her now 22-year-old son, who was just a toddler at the time. "It didn't dawn on me that he wouldn't know what's inside a Valentine's box!  The excitement was so dang cute!"

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  • Recently, that heartwarming memory turned into a candy-themed photo session that she won't soon forget.

    Marrero says that all of the babies ranged in age from 7 to 12 months, and came to the project in a variety of ways. Some were babies she'd photographed being born, and others were existing clients or models she met through an open casting call on her Facebook page

    She jokes that all of the babies were good "sitters" (rather than avid crawlers or walkers), because she "didn't want anyone escaping and crawling away." 

    Good thinking!

  • One of the babies even has a sweet connection with the holiday, Marrero says.

    His name is Jacob. 

    "[He] was born on Valentine's Day last year and I attended his birth," she tells CafeMom, "so it made it extra special!!"

  • Photographing 13 babies at once was definitely a new record for the photographer.

    Previously, the most babies she had photographed in one session was a family of triplets. But this shoot required all 13 babies to be more or less cooperating at the same time. (In other words: looking at the camera, not crying, and able to sit relatively still.) 

    To say it was a challenging prospect would be an understatement -- but Marrero is clearly a pro.

    "I knew it would be challenging, but I actually got what I needed in the first few minutes!" she says. "The shoot was fun and from start to finish with changing babies etc., [it] was less than an hour."

  • Marrero posted a video of the shoot on her Facebook page, where it's been viewed more than 120,000 times.

    "We had it all... smiles, tears, stares, complete meltdowns -- you name it!" she captioned the post, which she shared January 25.

    Marrero tells CafeMom that people have said "the sweetest things" about her adorable photo shoot, and that the babies' parents were thrilled to see the many kind comments online.

    "They all knew of my work and other viral portraits, so they all expressed they were thrilled to join in on this project," she shares.

    Now, we've only got one question: Where can we order our own box?

valentine's day