Having been in the army and then a teacher for many years, I never thought I would end up as a director of a baby product company, but when a friend introduced an amazing new idea to me I couldn’t help but invest time and money into starting up Snugglebundl.co.uk. Amongst lots of other great feedback from mums about the Snugglebundl lift and lay blanket, is that they find it ideal for discrete breastfeeding. Natural feeding is something I really feel strongly about to the extent that when the mother of my children was injured I rallied up support from many women to feed him until she recovered sufficiently to take over again. This is what happened.
When my son, Reuben was just six months old he and his mum were thrown out of their car in a serious road accident. We were driving home in the dark at about 1.30am on an unlit dual carriageway and it was raining badly. As our baby had been crying constantly for some time we were wondering whether to take him out and nurse him. After some deliberation we concluded that, as our exit was just 2 minutes away and the roads were so clear his mum could place him on her lap for a calming feed. The moment she lifted him out, a speeding car appeared from nowhere and his headlights were getting brighter and brighter. He was obviously travelling at a frightening speed thinking, like us, that he was alone on the road. I knew we were going to be hit hard but there was no time to do anything. By the time I shouted to get down the dreaded impact occurred and our car swerved to the left hitting a tree full on. The car seemed to bounce back and roll down the road a few times settling on its side. I looked around but couldn’t see Reu or his mum and my daughter. Thea aged three, was just waking up wondering what was going on. I immediately realised that they must have been thrown and my heart sank. I couldn’t get out of the door because it was against the road so I tried desperately to undo my seat belt to climb out the sun roof but it wouldn’t unbuckle. I was lucky it didn’t because I would have been half way out when another car hit the underside of my vehicle rolling it over on to its wheels. I would have undoubtedly been crushed to death.
Worried that we would be hit again and wanting to find my baby I quickly got Thea out and took her away from the car. I could see her mother on the road a few yards away so we rushed over to see her. She was in a comatose state and unable to be moved. At that point a lady came over who saw the bodies on the road and told me she had picked up my son just before a lorry drove past! Upon inspection I quickly saw him and he was ok but grizzly. It was obvious that, in trying to protect her son, his mum had taken the brunt of the fall. She was barely conscious, had several broken bones and had severe concussion. The ambulance crew took Reuben and her to the nearest hospital and I went too.
The hospital was a natural environment to me as I had been a combat medic in the Army so I stayed in A&E discussing the treatments. Strangely they thought I was a doctor and treated me like one of the team! This was to my advantage as I could stay with my baby, who was fully aware, and offer him comfort through it all.
Worryingly an x-ray revealed that my son had a brain haemorrhage so he had to be taken to a London hospital. It was awful having to leave his mum behind but I felt there needed to be a parent with him at all times and followed the ambulance in a friends car. By the time I left to follow the ambulance his mum had stabilised and we were able to have a short conversation about the situation before she drifted off again. I knew his mum would want him to continue breastfeeding and, even though I knew she would continue to extrapolate her own milk, we both realised it would be contaminated with drugs used to help her recuperation. Luckily we were part of a national network of breastfeeding mums so I managed to put out the message that we needed some mums in the London area to feed him. In no time about seven mums were on rota kindly feeding Reuben in shifts! They would bring their own baby and hand them to dad whilst they fed my son. It was so generous and caring that even now it draws me to tears when I think about it. I never really got to know them because they would flash in and out like guardian angels and take care of my sons needs. They were strangers helping out a stranger in need but we all had one thing in common and that was a belief that breast is best’ even if it is another mothers milk. This help continued for two weeks and there were always these wonderful mums queuing to help out! I stayed in the hospital with him, staying by his side until we left.
Once we got him out of hospital three mums Natalie, Lucy and Jo came to stay at our house at different times and nursed him until his mum was able to come home. By this time Reuben’s mum had been off drugs for a few days but, just in case, Natalie stayed a little longer until my son was able to restart suckling from his own mothers breast. Even now, almost 14 years later, nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing a baby being fed naturally.