Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is it good enough?

I used to worry that reading my experience would scare expecting moms.  But now I realize that while breastfeeding skill doesn't always come "naturally," if you are on the lookout for these "Breastfeeding Booby Traps,"  you have a better chance of overcoming problems. Here's my list of tactics for pre-emptively overcoming the "breastfeeding booby traps" at your birthplace (in my opinion, the place where we need the most help).

You call your hospital and ask about lacation consultants.
Their answer: "Yes, we have a lactation consultant."
Is it good enough?  No. You need to hear, "Yes, we have full-time international board certified lactation consultants available to you around the clock during your stay." 

You ask them about breastfeeding after Caesarian, and what their intervention rate is.
Their answer: "We don't have a protocol to support breastfeeding; the doctors treat the babies on a case by case basis.  Our intervention rate is average."
Is it good enough: No.  You need to hear: "Yes, our breastfeeding after ceasarian protocol is to give no baby any nutritional supplement, unless medically indicated and approved by you or your representative.  And the chance of your having a Caesarian to begin with is much lower than average."

You ask if they routinely give healthy babies formula or other supplements.
Their answer: If it's anything other than a resounding, "No," it's not good enough.

If their answers aren't good enough, call around to see if there are other hospitals in your area that give better ones.  If there aren't, plan to to find supplemental help on your own from a traveling lactation consultant and be vigilant and unapologetic when asking everyone caring for you and your baby to abide by your requirements--verbally and in writing when possible, and plan to have your partner, doula, or support person be responsible for tracking what's happening with your baby at all times.

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