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20.6.11

Not Just Humans.

I always feel a sense of sisterhood when I see a fellow mummy breastfeeding her child. I almost find myself staring hoping to make eye contact and wanting to say "well done you!"

I also love driving along country roads and noticing lambs and calfs latched onto their mummies. Especially when you see a lambs tail wagging quickly in delight.

In March 2010 we holidayed at Center Parcs Longleat and had a day out at Bristol Zoo. I'd visited a few times as a child when we stayed with my nan who lives in Somerset so was quite excited to be taking my husband and child for a day out there too.
We'd just been into the Gorilla house and walked outside to go and visit some other animals. As we walked past Gorilla Island I noticed a Gorilla sheltered with her baby.

She was breastfeeding.

I sat on the bench near the fence of the enclosure and stared for ages. She noticed me watching her.
Not only was I fascinated at seeing her breastfeeding, but I was captivated by everything about it.
How similar it was to me feeding Charles. The fidgety things her baby did that Charles also did with me. The way the baby changed from one breast to the other, making sure he'd got all he could from each one.

At one point the baby took her nipple into his mouth and turned his head round to face in my direction, stretching her nipple too far. She flinched and tapped his head. Charles had recently started doing similar to me so I knew exactly how she felt.

It was almost as if I could have a conversation with her about it, and reassure her that my baby does that too. Except I couldn't. But I was getting reassurance from her at least.

My husband had taken Charles to see some of the other animals, not quite understanding the extent of my fascination. Other visitors walked passed, giving a quick glance but not appreciating the scene before them.
I wish I remembered how long I was sat there for.

At times I wanted to apologise to the Gorilla for staring, especially when she would look over at me. At times I wanted to grab Charles, latch him on and shout "LOOK, I'M DOING IT TOO!"

Instead I just sat in admiration.

And of course, I couldn't resist capturing the moment on my camera, to remember the experience and to share with others.