Tag Archives: hospital

Birth and Breastfeeding

12 Jan

Penelope 3 weeksSo many times, I hear women telling other pregnant women to “educate yourself about your birth options”.  This is important.  It is not the whole picture.

Having a good birth is good.  It is ideal.  It is normal.  But we often forget what comes *after* the birth.  Of course I want to breastfeed and they will help me with that at the hospital.  Right?

The truth is, the people who care for you during birth often only have a cursory education in breastfeeding.  And they often do not need to keep up with current research on breastfeeding, so if you get an amazing nurse who is helpful for your birth because she has been doing the same job for 30 years, chances are, her breastfeeding knowledge is that old as well.  Back then, we were talking about “ramming the baby on” and using articial baby milk to “entice” baby to the breast.

Newer nurses are often afraid of bilirubin (which is physiologically normal to some degree) and low blood sugar (did you know the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine actually advocates *not* checking blood sugars without a medical indication? Here is that protocol ) and get hypervigilant to the extreme detriment of nursing motherbaby pairs.

The good news is that even if you have a crappy birth, breastfeeding can be salvaged.

Because we are mammals, we have instincts and programmed conditioning that requires certain behaviors to take place to breastfeed.  Because we are humans we are extremely adaptable. 🙂 even if things don’t work out quite the way we intended, we can still have the breastfeeding relationship we wanted.  The trick is: to find the right help.

This starts in the hospital by requesting to see an IBCLC as soon as possible after your baby is born. This breastfeeding professional has recieved extensive education about normal breastfeeding and continues to receive that. There are so many people who can call themselves “lactation consultants” or “lactation specialist” that you really have no idea if they have even taken a breastfeeding class.  Only the IBCLC has an internationally consistent credential.  If she says or does something that just doesn’t sit right with you, then get a second opinion.  There should be multiple IBCLCs in your area and even if there aren’t some will work by skype or email.

Here in Ogden, Utah, moms have a choice of which hospital they use to give birth.  All hospitals have lactation programs, although they are not all created equally.  Hopefully, as more hospitals in Utah become Baby Friendly, that will improve even more.  Women in Utah want to breastfeed.  We have a breastfeeding initiation rate of over 85%.  The problem is that either women are not asking for help or they are not finding it.

There are people poised to help with your with breastfeeding challenges.  🙂 Whatever your issues, whatever your income, whatever your culture or beliefs, there are people who are trained and ready to help you.  You just need to ask.  Utah Breastfeeding Coalition (or your state’s coalition)is a great resource if you just don’t know where to start.  They can hook you up with the right helper, whether it be a community-based helper, or someone with a little more training.

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