Breastfeeding Booby Traps: A Perinatal Nurse’s Opinion0
There is a lot of talk amongst the mom breastfeeding blogging community about factors that interfere with successful breastfeeding. They call these booby traps and they have added the hospital setting as one of the reasons breastfeeding is not successful for some women. Does giving birth inside a hospital dictate your overall success with breastfeeding or is it the culture that we live in that is the real boobytrap?
I had to think about that one for a minute but not before I got defensive and angry. I work inside a hospital with women giving birth and I help teach breastfeeding too. If I was to be your nurse I am passionate and caring and understanding around breastfeeding. I also work with some amazing nurses who feel the same way as I do. We often talk about breastfeeding at work and the challenges around it and trouble shoot with each other when we encounter different issues.
The argument from the pro breastfeeding community, or lactivists as they call themselves, is that hospitals births and post partum care is not really breastfeeding friendly. Meaning, the people who care for the post partum families are more likely to offer an artificial nipple or a bottle filled with formula than help and educate and promote breastfeeding. Of course I can be honest and say that I do see this. I do see pediatricians and nurses alike thinking they are being helpful to the tired overwhelmed new mother by giving the baby just a ‘wee bit’ of formula or a pacifier before breastfeeding is established. However, you are more likely to meet someone more like me than not. We truly want YOU to love breastfeeding! We want your baby to latch on and feed like a champ! We want you to have oodles of milk!
My stance on this hot topic is this: mothers need to take the time to educate and surround themselves with positive breastfeeding information BEFORE they give birth. So much prep is done for the babies birth or for their gorgeous little nurseries but how much time is spent learning about breastfeeding by watching videos or reading books or just talking to other breastfeeding mothers? From my practice I know that it does not even compare.
I can spot a new mother who is passionate about breastfeeding from a mile away. She has read books and has knowledge around what is normal and what is to be expected with breastfeeding. I can also spot the exact opposite person from even further away. In my professional practice it seems that more times than not a new mom really has no information about what to expect with breastfeeding during the early days. Now, ask her about what outfit the baby will wear home and you’ve got yourself a conversation!
Of course this is not about putting blame on anyone! I don’t roll that way and I truly want mothers to have positive breastfeeding experiences because I believe in it so very much. So, what can a mama to be do to help prepare herself to have a positive breastfeeding relationship? Here are my thoughts:
1. Make the decision to be dedicated to breastfeeding. Knowing that it might be difficult at first but it will get so much more easier.
2. Buy a breastfeeding book or peruse some on line sites that are pro breastfeeding. Some good sites that I recommend are: Dr. Jack Newman’s awesome breastfeeding website.
The La Leche Leauge is also a great resource and a group can be found within your community. Click here to go and learn something about breastfeeding.
3.No matter what type of birth you have advocate that you want to do skin to skin right after your birth. Do skin to skin as much as you can. With the baby naked and laying right over your breasts. There many many amazing benefits for you and your baby by doing one hour of skin to skin right after birth. Go and see what The Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation has to tell you about this.
4. If you have to be separated from your baby for a medical reason start stimulating your breasts ASAP. Use hand expression to to help stimulate your milk production.
5.Know that there is not just one way to breastfeed. Every breast, nipple, baby is different and there is 101 different pieces of advice out there. Some of it will work for you and some will not. Try to go with the flow and keep the basic principles in focus. A good latch is where it is at!
Breastfeeding can be challenging and it can take patience and dedication and focus. Have you encountered any boobytraps when you breastfed?
Check out some of my past posts about breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding in Public: Six Tips To Help You Feel Totally Awesome
Behind the times: The Breastfeeding Veil In North America
Oh The Mammaries! Tales Of Engorgement During World Breastfeeding Week
Go to my husbands blog and see some amazing black and white photography of babies doing skin to skin after birth in the hospital. He is working on a project with the hospital that promotes skin to skin and breastfeeding. We are a PRO breastfeeding family all around!