In March we featured a story about a severely injured mother in Thailand breastfeeding her 7-month-old as she lay on a blood-soaked cot. A photo taken by a volunteer rescue group went viral, evoking strong emotions and great admiration for the woman whose first instinct was to care for her child.
Not unlike that unnamed woman, Danni Bett went with her own instincts and pushed back against a hospital medical staff that was reluctant to allow her to breastfeed her own daughter after a terrifying car crash.
Earlier this month Danni and daughter Indi were on their way to visit Danni’s dad when she lost control of her car on a patch of gravel and smashed into a metal fence. The car was severely damaged and Danni has no recollection of getting out but does remember switching off the engine.
As people ran to her aid from a nearby building, Bett’s entire focus was on getting her baby out of the car. Amazingly, little Indi was sleeping until the commotion woke her up and she started to cry. Simultaneously, Danni’s shock was wearing off and the pain hit her. She and 2-month-old Indi were checked out by paramedics at the scene and taken by ambulance to Christchurch Hospital for assessment.
Despite sharp, shooting pain in her neck, back and hips Bett didn’t want to take painkillers – she only took paracetamol – because she wanted to nurse the distressed Indi. Medical personnel wouldn’t allow her to feed the baby until tests were run: a series of X-rays and ultrasounds. Bett was placed in a neck brace.
Since she wasn’t allowed to feed the hungry and anxious infant, staff suggested a bottle, but Bett simply said “Please don’t.” Four hours later and with the tests complete she was wheeled back to her room and could hear the baby crying. Again Bett begged the nurse to allow her to nurse Indi, and the nurse finally relented.
Danni says that moment was “Instant relief. I wanted her and I wanted to calm her. Giving her a bottle would not be right. Breastfeeding is best for her and I had that.”
The nurse took a photo of that special moment showing Indi latched to mom’s chest while they lay in the medical ward. Bett later shared the photo on the Breastfeedingz Facebook page, saying she did it to inspire other women to stand their ground when it concerns their children. In her post, Danni wrote “If you want to breastfeed your baby, don’t let anyone say that you can’t.”
Mother and daughter are doing well, although Danni still suffers from the effects of whiplash. This new mom says that she will continue to share her views about the importance of breastfeeding and encourage other women to tell their own stories.