Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breastfeeding 101

I don't consider myself outright "crunchy" although I do follow attachment parenting, we co-sleep, both childbirths were unmedicated and I tandem nurse. On second though maybe I AM sort of crunchy. I have been totally amazed by the lack of knowledge in the medical field about breastfeeding. It's as if the two groups of medical personnel you would expect to be educated on the subject, midwives/OB's and pediatricians, each assume the other has it so they don't bother. When the Weebles was born I would ask her pediatrician questions when I had them. Nods and blank looks. WTH? Here are my favorite instances of blatant ignorance on the subject that could have thwarted a new mom's efforts at breastfeeding.

1. When I called to make another follow up appointment with the lactation consultants at the hospital when my daughter was about seven weeks old, the lady told me that she didn't think they could help me if my daughter was that old, that we probably wouldn't ever be able to get the hang of it. My daughter is 19 months this week and still going strong thankyouverymuch. Actually we wouldn't have had such problems to begin with if a nurse at the hospital hadn't broken our latch right after birth to take my baby away without my consent. That's a whole other issue.

2. When I found out quite unexpectedly that the Peanut was on the way I called to make an appointment and the nurse that does the initial phone interview told me flat out that they required me to quit nursing by 20 weeks. Let's just say that little bit of information had me crying the rest of the day until I realized she was just uninformed. At no point in my second pregnancy did any midwife tell me it was necessary to quit.

3. After the Peanut's arrival the baby nurse warned me that my toddler would take up all the milk that my newborn needed. This wasn't an issue to me because I knew she just had no clue what she was talking about but how many other mom's might not? Think of the rift that would have caused at that point to wean my toddler right after her brother was born. The Peanut was eight pounds at birth and nearly 13 and a half at two months so I think he's doin' just fine thanks.

I really wish there would be some sort of education on this subject for everyone in related fields. Being a new mom is hard, breastfeeding is HARD and emotional and painful (but obviously worth it) without misinformation being thrown into the mix. We need those that we trust to help us navigate this exciting and scary time to be knowledgable enough to do so.

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