Life
Mom has to feed hungry baby while at the zoo – has touching encounter with orangutan while breastfeeding
What a beautiful encounter!
Alissa Gaskell
01.22.20

Breastfeeding moms struggle with a lot: nipple confusion, engorgement, dwindling supply, time management, and so much more. All these greatly impact a mom’s emotional, mental, and physical health – taking care of a baby round the clock is hard enough as it is. Add to that various breastfeeding struggles and you’ll wonder just how moms do it.

This is precisely why moms need all the support they can get: a helping hand, understanding, patience, and most of all, acceptance.

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels
Source:
Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

It’s perplexing how there are some establishments that don’t provide clean nursing stations, or strangers who shoot weird, disgusted looks at moms who feed their babies in public. Moreover, the snide “Cover up!” remarks given by people who have absolutely zero understanding of breastfeeding. Babies need to eat. Why should they have to be fed in dirty, cramped public restroom stalls or corners that are far from being breastfeeding-friendly? And why should moms feel embarrassed for feeding their babies in public?

These struggles have inspired the #NormalizeBreastfeeding movement which moms the world over continue to support and fight for.

Medela
Source:
Medela

One breastfeeding mom in particular did not hesitate to share the story of how she got the support she needed from the unlikeliest companion: an orangutan confined within a zoo enclosure.

Gemma Copeland is a travel bug who didn’t want her adventures to end just because she gave birth. In fact, she wanted her son to develop the same love and appreciation for traveling at a young age, too. That’s why Gemma and her partner had no hesitations about traveling to Vienna, Austria with their baby boy.

One of their stops was the Schönbrunn Zoo. That’s when Gemma’s baby got hungry. She took advantage of how quiet it was in one corner of the zoo and sat down to feed her little boy by the window of an orangutan enclosure. What happened next made Gemma so emotional that it moved her to share a detailed account of her surreal encounter with the supportive orangutan.

Facebook: Gemma Copeland
Source:
Facebook: Gemma Copeland

“My breastfeeding experiences in public have been diverse, some people looking curious, others content and the odd negative one.”

In an interview with Bored Panda, Gemma shared how her breastfeeding journey has been far from smooth. “Once I was asked to cover my little boy whilst he was feeding to which I responded by handing over a spare muslin and asking them if they minded covering their shallow-minded selves. This quickly ended the situation leaving me to enjoy my coffee and bonding with my son.”

Fortunately, Vienna came through. According to Gemma, the people who witnessed the encounter she shared with the orangutan was met with the warmest response. They expressed their appreciation for what met their eyes: a mother nursing her child, an orangutan interacting beautifully with humans, and the peace and quiet it all was wrapped in.

Facebook: Gemma Copeland
Source:
Facebook: Gemma Copeland

Gemma expressed the same appreciation for the place and was beyond grateful for the experience. “I would like to think Vienna chose us as opposed to us choosing Vienna,” the happy mom said. “When searching for our trip, I had no destination in mind but it proved to be a life-changing choice as little did we know what was about to happen.”

Facebook: Gemma Copeland
Source:
Facebook: Gemma Copeland
Gemma’s story comes with two very important lessons: breastfeeding is natural, normal, beautiful, and should be accepted without condition, and animals deserve to be treated with kindness and respect like what we humans insist on for ourselves.

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By Alissa Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Alissa Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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