Monday, June 9, 2008

Road blocks to breastfeeding.

As an OB nurse, who breastfed for 2 years, I find it disheartening when mothers react negatively to breastfeeding. I have had patient’s family members make snide remarks about breastfeeding that were completely uncalled for especially in front of a new mother. In my practice I find three main problems First Doctors, Nurses and then Doctors again.
Doctors are first because they see the patient first, they can encourage breast feeding, assessing for inverted or flat nipples, and support. Ways to encourage breast feeding is education at each visit give a mother one bit of information, moms are seen for about seven months prior to delivery that is a lot of tidbits. If the Doctor would take a few second to assess for inverted or flat nipples in the sixth to seventh month the patient could purchase Nipple shields ( ). Support could be offered to the expectant mother through referrals to a breast feeding class, breast feeding consultant or the la leche league (
The next problem is some nurses, who find it easier to feed an infant with a bottle instead of assisting with breastfeeding. It is understood that not all nurses have breast fed their own children and do not have a large knowledge base to work from, but in most cases nurses do not work alone. When a mother wants to nurse some of the nurses I have worked with have sabotaged breastfeeding unintentionally but none the less the harm is done. The only thing that should go in a breast baby’s mouth is the mother’s breast. THE ONLY THING THAT SHOULD GO IN A BREAST BABY’S MOUTH IS THE MOTHER’S BREAST. No pacifiers, no bottles, no rice cereal, no exception.
Doctors again, there is a misconception that a breast baby has to return to birth weight in one week, this is not true. If the infant is content, having 6-8 wet diapers and 2-5 stools around the third day of life there is not a problem. So many doctors want new moms to supplement to get the weight up on the infant that a good breast milk supply is not established.
As a new mom, trust yourself; if you want to breast feed be your own advocate. Explain to the nurses Before delivery that you want to breast feed ask them to not feed your baby. Ask for help; ask to be seen by the lactation consultant on staff. It is your right as a mother to determine the best care for you and your child.

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