US photographer Melissa Benzel has beautifully captured this home birth, featuring an expectant mum breastfeeding her toddler as labour progresses (and tandem-style, after the birth, too!)
Photographer Melissa documented the birth on her blog, saying she had no doubt that the nursing toddler was partly responsible for Amiah’s labour progressing so well.
“This mama nursed her 2-year-old toddler all during her labor and postpartum, undoubtedly helping her progress in each step of her daughter’s birth!” Melissa wrote.
This is not just an anecdotal assertion. Nipple stimulation and breastfeeding during labour promotes the production of oxytocin and can spark contractions and speed labour along.
Wait and see
Amiah was 42 weeks pregnant when she called Melissa at around 2 in the afternoon, to ready her for action.
Melissa arrived a couple of hours later (despite Amiah’s suggestion she “wait and see” what happens.) Amiah’s beautiful baby girl was born just before 6pm.
“Amiah didn’t want me to come over and waste my time in case this wasn’t the real thing… SO GLAD I didn’t listen and got there close to 4pm, baby girl arrived at 5:38pm,” Melissa laughs.
It was obviously a special experience for everyone involved, toddler included.
“I’m so happy I was able to document this beautiful birth for her family. Definitely one I’ll never forget!” Melissa says.
The images she captured certainly confirm this.
While some mums might respond negatively to these shots, perhaps announcing they didn’t want anyone to touch them – or their children anywhere near them – during labour, it’s obvious that this was what worked for this mum and kiddo, and it’s really a beautiful thing.
It’s important to remember that every mum is different and every birth experience should be respected and honoured.
This one is especially powerful. Take a peek.
Thanks so much to Melissa and Amiah for allowing us to share this special day with our readers.
All images are by Melissa Benzel of Benzel Photography
Birth team credits: