Mum’s instinct busts hospital protocol Mum’s instinct busts hospital protocol
A terrifying car crash that left Danni Bett lying in hospital in a neck-brace wasn’t enough to stop her from breastfeeding. Despite being constrained to... Mum’s instinct busts hospital protocol

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A terrifying car crash that left Danni Bett lying in hospital in a neck-brace wasn’t enough to stop her from breastfeeding.


Despite being constrained to a hospital bed the Nelson` woman pushed back against the reluctance of Christchurch Hospital medical staff to allow her to breastfeed her distressed newborn.

Earlier this month Bett and her new baby daughter were 10 minutes away from Christchurch on a visit to Bett’s father when she lost control of her car on a patch of gravel and smashed into a metal fence.

Danni Bett and her baby Indi Nathan.

The car was “basically totalled” but not written off. Bett cannot remember getting herself out of the car.

“I remember switching the car off. People came running out of the building to see if I was OK. All I could say was, ‘Get my baby out, she’s in the car, get my baby’,” Bett said.

Indi was still sleeping, but the commotion woke her and she began to cry.

“I was in so much shock [after the crash],” Bett said. “The paramedics came and checked us both out and we jumped in the back of the ambulance.”


That’s when the pain hit Bett. A shooting spike ran down her neck, back and hips. She and two-month-old Indi Nathan were taken to Christchurch Hospital for assessment.

Bett said she did not want to take any strong painkillers as she wanted to breastfeed Indi but it was four hours before she was able to do so. Bett only took paracetamol.

Bett was placed into a neck-brace. A series of X-Rays, ultrasounds and tests were needed to ensure Bett was fit, but Indi was hungry and anxious.

Bett said the nurses and doctors couldn’t allow her to feed until the tests were completed.

“I asked if I could feed her, but they said no and suggested a bottle, but I said ‘Please, don’t’.”

After Bett’s exams she was wheeled back to her room. It had been about four hours since the accident.

“I could hear Indi crying. She was really unsettled.”

Bett begged the nurse to allow her to feed her child. The nurse eventually relented.

Still lying on a stretcher bed in a neck-brace, Bett and Indi united.

“It was instant relief,” Bett said. “I wanted her, I wanted to calm her. After a traumatic day as it is, to give her that [a bottle] would not be right. [Breastfeeding] is the best for her and I had that.”


The nurse captured the special moment on camera. Bett shared the photo that showed Indi latched to her chest while she lay in the medical ward – a soft smile across her face.

The post was shared with the Brestfeedingnz Facebook page, something Bett said she did to inspire other women to stand their ground when it came to their children.

“If you want to breastfeed your baby, don’t let anyone or anything say that you can’t,” the post read.

The post received 3100 reactions and more than 65 comments.

“I posted our story to reach out to other mums about breastfeeding that no matter what it’s our choice to feed our babies whenever, wherever. If it’s in public or in a hospital bed it’s our right,” Bett said.

Bett is suffering from the effects of whiplash, but both mother and daughter are doing well. Bett has continued to breastfeed and the new mother said she would continue to share her views about the importance of breastfeeding because the experience helped other women share their own stories.


Henry Okafor

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