An overnight guest of the most lovely variety – wet nursing and tandem feeding

These photos popped up on my newsfeed this week and brought back some lovely memories which I thought I would share.

I have discussed in the past, would I feed another mothers baby, yes I thought.

On this particular day, I got to my phone to missed calls from a friend of mine, and a text asking me to collect her baby from the hospital where she was having to overnight with her toddler.

In a heartbeat I confirmed I would and headed home to drop my brood before picking him up from hospital, I certainly hoped she wanted me to nurse him, because I have no pump, no bottles and being a Sunday all the shops were closed.

I often wondered how an exclusively breast fed baby would settle with a different mama, would he cry or would he be content.

I arrived to collect him and checked with his mama, yes she would like me to feed him, and co-sleep – thankfully we have a side car and he is a better sleeper than my youngest, who wakes hourly. So I brought him home, this little bundle of loveliness, my 3 and 5 years olds were delighted, my 9 month old, not so sure.

Cue happy smiles, posing with baby for photos, kisses on his precious head and then, feeding time, he was so light compared to my milk grown monster. He had a few test suckles and then he settled down for a good long feed, my little one wasn’t having that, so I had one on each breast, booby brothers.

This brought back many happy memories of tandem feeing my 3 and 5 year old. Having fed he happily settled down and slept, waking only once for a feed and settling back off again.

It was a lovely experience to be able to do this for him and my friend, what were the alternatives, formula he wouldn’t drink and that upset his little belly, or a bottle he wasn’t used to given not by his mummy but some one else, he was happy and content and that showed.

Nowhere is strange for the carried baby. I wore him in his own wrap, so he had the comfort of familiar milk drenched boobies, with the smell of his mummy surrounding him, this is how he slept, covered in his wrap, an inch away from me in our side car, which is usually occupied by my 3 year old, nowhere is strange for the carried baby.

Even I an experienced mummy of 4, woke to check he was breathing through the night.

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In the morning I carried on tandem feeding the 2 of them, while my wonderful husband brought drinks and snacks, much awe of nursing mothers of twins, I didn’t leave my bed. You could see around lunchtime he was starting to miss his mum, 4 months old but clearly able to express himself.

Thankfully we were off to view a house we are buying so he was entertained by the journey and the newness (yes we bought it). Late afternoon he went home to his mummy, who had missed him so – but he was safe, he was happy and he was content, I would have him again in a heartbeat, I couldn’t bear to think of a baby sad, and missing the usual comfort of the breast, when I was so easily able to provide that for him and lessen the worry for his already worried mum.

There was no need for thanks  but this is the message she left for me on local positive parenting group,

“I have an amazing friend I met on this very group she had given me lots of clothes and toys for Tom and then the night before last she gave me the most amazing gift ever, I couldn’t keep Tom (who is exclusively breast fed) in hospital with Seren, they offered me a pump but that would be useless since I don’t have a big enough stash for him she came picked him up and fed my baby for me I don’t think she quite knows how amazing she is so just saying thank you”.

This was followed up by the most beautiful bunch of flowers, timely arriving after I has spent the day in hospital with my youngest.

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I have wet nursed a number of times since then, including twins after a call for help on Human Milk 4 Human Babies whose mother is now a firm friend of mine. Clearly this isn’t something I would do in my role as a Doula though.

This to me this is my norm. I don’t feel amazing, I didn’t need flowers although they are very beautiful, I just did what came naturally to me, there is no “out there” or “controversy” for me, my friend and her baby needed me, and what is more, I enjoyed the time I spent with him, it was a pleasure for me, you forget so quickly how tiny they are and it was a privilege to be trusted with my friends most precious possession, her perfectly perfect baby boy.

(Names changed).

South Wales Positive Parenting Group 

Feel free to join the South Wales Birth Circle, Home Birth Support Group UK or the South Wales Home Birth Group.

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly Doula.

If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.

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Photo of Samantha

About Samantha

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly DoulaSOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

You can also join one of her network of supportive GROUPS.

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