I began my journey into parenthood in 1998. After an amazing experience of giving birth to our first child, our beautiful son, the time came to breastfeed him. I was very fortunate that I had been exposed to women breastfeeding, in particular one lady who I worked for in her home, and I already knew I would breastfeed my child/ren. There was never any doubt and I assumed I would feed my baby until about 8 months of age and then I would see how we were going.
Within a half an hour of him being born, I put him to my breast as I lay on my side and allowed him to suckle, although he was very sleepy and didn’t work too hard at it. A few hours later, it was dawn and I wanted to feed my baby, so a midwife was sent into my room to ‘help’ me. It was a complete disaster - the midwife took a hold of my baby in one arm and with her other hand she pulled my breast to meet my baby’s face. I was half sitting and very uncomfortable and she continued, with force, to try and make my breast meet my baby’s mouth. He started screaming, I was crying and the midwife got cranky.
Up until that point I had only had wonderful relations with the midwives in the hospital - they were supportive and kind and had allowed me my own space and freedom during labour. I was confused and upset and asked the midwife to leave us and I would try on my own. At this point I was feeling gutted. I really needed some help and support to start this thing called breastfeeding. I lay in that bed, with my baby son tucked in with me, wondering what we were going to do and feeling frightened that my baby would starve if I didn’t feed him soon. Then I heard a quiet knock on the door and a sweet voice saying knock, knock, can I come in?
An angel had arrived.
I learned that this midwife was also a lactation consultant and was actually filling in for another midwife who was ill that day. She sat on the end of the bed and spoke with me about how I was feeling. She asked a few questions about my BF experiences up until then and at that point I cried and told her what had happened. She held my hand and without judgment of the other midwife, told me she would help me. Something that she mentioned during this time became of great importance to me - she was still breastfeeding her 3yo daughter. I was very impressed and right in that moment, I made the decision that I would breastfeed my babies for as long as they would breastfeed.
This lady, my angel, spent about ½ an hour with me, one-on-one, guiding my baby son and myself into the beginning of a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. Twice during that time, the matron poked her head into the room to remind my midwife that she had other mums to see to and she should hurry up. To which my midwife replied, “I will come when I am sure Sally is ready for me to leave her.” Wow-how special did I feel!
I left that hospital confident in the knowledge that I had someone who believed in me and my abilities to breastfeed and I continued to breastfeed my son for another 14 months. I never did recall my angel’s name but I will always remember her kindness and devotion to both me and breastfeeding.
Thanks Sal for contributing your inspirational story! I too had a breastfeeding angel who I contribute my success at feeding my first son to... withouth her, I honestly don't think my experience of breastfeeding would have been what it was.
I'd love to hear any other stories of breastfeeding angels... so please feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post!
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