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If you are planning on a hospital delivery and on breastfeeding there are questions you might want to ask when you tour the hospital. Supportive breastfeeding leads to successful breastfeeding.

Hospitals can vary very much in their support of the breastfeeding mother. The first few days of baby’s life is so important in the over all successful establishment of breastfeeding.

Arming yourself with good questions and getting the answers from the hospital staff will prepare you for what you will have to do to ensure a good feeding experience for you and your baby.

Some suggestions for a question list:

  • Ask your hospital if they are a  Baby Friendly hospital i.e.. do they follow Unicef guidelines when it comes to breastfeeding?
  • What kid of lactation support does the hospital offer?
  • Do they give the moms formula free diaper bags?
  • Do they initiate breastfeeding and skin to skin contact immediately after delivery?
  • What is the breast feeding policy in the NICU

viaTop 10 Questions to Help You Find a Breastfeeding-Supportive Hospital | Best for Babes.

In my opinion, parents-to-be can never have too much information prior to the birth of their child.

Knowing what questions to ask is part of getting the information that you need at this time of transition to parenthood.

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THURSDAY, March 1, 2012 MedPage Today — Every infant should begin life with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, followed by another six months or longer with other foods gradually added to the childs diet, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These statistics are stunning…take a look at the link below:

via Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice – Pregnancy 101 – EverydayHealth.com.

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If you are wondering like I was yesterday if the “Nurse-In” at Target was successful…here is the answer.

No apology from Target and that is exactly what I expected…if you apologize it is an admission of “wrong doing” isn’t it?

Large corporations are not in the habit of admitting wrong doing…ever!

I wonder if moms are satisfied with Target’s statement … was there enough media coverage on 12/28 ,,, personally, I don’t think so.

If the attitude towards breastfeeding anytime, anyplace is to change…there should be some prominent media coverage to bring this issue to the forefront. Let’s face it, most of us are not breastfeeding so this affects only a small segment of the population. In reality however, it affects the health and well-being of children…so the affects are extremely far reaching.

Should this not be of more concern to the public at large? Any opinions out there?

What needs to be done?

Did the Target nurse- in get results? | BabyCenter.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed babies…

it is a healthy way to feed babies…

for some moms it is an easy transition after delivery and for other moms it is difficult and takes time and patience to get into a rhythm with their babies.

Whatever the case…moms should be encouraged to breast feed and be able to breast feed anywhere.

That apparently was not the experience of a Texas mom who was “harassed” by Target employees when she chose to breast feed in an aisle at a Target store. She was asked to go to a fitting room to breast feed.

Now, my personal choice would not be to sit down in an aisle at Target to breastfeed but a fitting room would not necessarily have been my choice either. Perhaps, a table in their food court would have been more my style.

Now…today, moms have organized through Facebook and are scheduled to “nurse-in” at selected Targets this morning.

What will be the outcome of such a protest?

I am sure there will be some who are “appalled” that moms would do such a thing.

It is time to support breastfeeding moms…the research is in and the American Academy of Pediatrics has made their statements.

Even if you do not support a “nurse-in” it is time to give the thumbs up to those moms who do and it is time to let Target and others like them know that customer service is more than a counter in the front of the store.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY FRIDAY!

As a follow-up to a recent post of mine I would like to comment on the article in the Wall Street Journal that is quoted below.

Hospitals can definitely play a significant role in the success of breastfeeding especially if they follow what Georgetown University Hospital is doing to actively encourage women and their infants to bond and breast feed soon after delivery.

I am not surprised that this example is from a teaching hospital in a major metropolitan area. Patients can be selective and demanding about where they deliver and these teaching hospitals want to offer all they can to provide what is recommended best for moms and babies. I am in no way putting down other hospitals but in my experience the teaching institutions will get on board with recommendations faster than other hospitals. The reasons are many  but in today’s healthcare environment economics is a very motivating factor.

On the topic of economics…obstetrics traditionally is not a money maker for hospitals the way cardiovascular surgery is…that being said hospitals are businesses and pouring money and time into obstetrical services is not something that is done without serious financial considerations.

In my practice, I have had moms say that nurses and lactation consultants have been “Nazis” when it comes to breast feeding immediately after delivery and they have not liked the attitude that is has been conveyed to them in the hospital.

My question about the shift in breastfeeding strategy is ,when are we going to learn to be gentle with new moms and be encouraging with kindness? New moms are often scared and unsure of themselves and sometimes they are even afraid of their newborns and afraid of all the body changes that they are experiencing immediately after delivery.

New moms need to be catered to while in the hospital…they will be home soon enough dealing with a whole new world now that their baby is finally here.

Hospitals can be encouraged to shift their strategies ….that is all well and good but until they have the  nurses and lactations consultants with a gentle touch, who are not overworked…but who are devoted to “helping” the new mom with her new baby without being judgmental, breastfeeding will still be much more of a challenge for mom and baby than it needs to be.

It is my belief that much more emphasis should be placed on the approach that is used with the new mom in combination with the strategies of early breastfeeding and bonding.

Maybe we need to revisit “Reva Rubin”s Postpartum Theory” to understand what the mom is emotionally experiencing in the first hours and days after delivery and use Reva’s observations to guide us in the care of the mother and newborn.

a. Taking-In Phase. During this phase the mother is oriented primarily to her own needs. She primary focuses on sleeping and eating. She may be quite passive and dependent. The mother is reacting to the intense, physical effort expended during delivery and the intense, emotional effort required of her during labor. The mother does not usually initiate contact with the infant. This is not out of disinterest. It may result from her own immediate dependency. Nevertheless, she is taking-in information that helps her to identify the infant. She may use her finger-tip to touch her infant. This serves as one of the first steps in the identification process. She holds the baby facing her so they can explore each other’s face (in the face position). The mother relives the delivery experience which allows her to integrate it fully with reality, fully realized her baby is born, and to identify her infant as being outside and separate from her. This phase, taking-in phase, may last for a day or two. The nurse should plan activities so that the patient can rest as much as possible because failure to allow the patient to receive the necessary and earned rest may yield a “sleep hunger” which may be manifested by irritability, fatigue, and general interference with the normal restorative process. The father’s role is primarily being supportive of his wife and his family.

b. Taking-Hold Phase. During this phase the mother strives for independence and autonomy, she becomes the “initiator.” She is concerned about her ability to control her bodily functions (that is, bowels, bladder, and if breast-feeding, concerned about adequate amount and quality of milk). She takes an active part in trying to control these functions. She is concerned about her ability to take care of her newborn. This phase is associated with a great deal of anxiety (especially by a new mother). She may have several mood swings. The mother might be involved in a lot of activity trying to accomplish tasks. Fatigue and exhaustion may occur if the mother is not helped to set realist expectations and limits for herself. The nurse is responsible to allow the mother to actually perform infant care tasks, reinforce all positive actions (do not impose yourself), and provide guidance, instruction, and demonstration, as necessary. Reassurance and explanation about infant care are especially needed in this phase. This phase lasts for about ten days (most of this phase is accomplished at home).

c. Letting-Go Phase. Generally, this phase occurs when the mother returns home. The mother must accomplish two separations during this phase. The separations are to realize and accept the physical separation from the baby and to relinquish her former role of a childless person. The mother must adjust her life to the relative dependency and helplessness of her child. If she quits work, she must adapt (even if only temporarily) to less freedom, less autonomy, and less social stimulation. If she continues to work, she must handle the additional strain of finding sitters and meeting additional workload. The mother may experience a let-down feeling, which is called postpartal, or baby, “blues.” This is a form of depression that is usually temporary and may occur in the hospital.

via Psychological Needs of the Postpartal Patient.

Reva Rubin believed that a mother needed time to absorb and integrate her labor and delivery. This takes place in the first couple of days postpartum while the mom is trying to get to know her newborn and begin the awesome task of taking care of him/her, changing diapers, bathing and feeding. The new mom probably does not pass through the “taking-in phase” before she is discharged home from the hospital.

Over the years postpartum hospital stays have gotten shorter and shorter so mom has had to condense her “taking-in” experience into hours rather than days. She has to get comfy with diapers, bathing, swaddling, and of course feeding…breast or bottle. Postpartum nurses have had to adjust their care to give mom a “crash” course in newborn care…this is a tall order and in my opinion it takes a skilled educated nurse to accomplish this effectively with a new mom.

To encourage breast-feeding, Georgetown University Hospital staff place the newborn on the mother as soon as possible, usually within a half hour after birth. The hospital, in Washington, D.C., delays weighing and measuring the baby until after this skin-to-skin bonding takes place, says Carol Ryan, who manages Georgetown’s lactation team. For women who had caesarean sections, healthy babies are brought to the mother as soon as possible and touch the mothers’ face if they can’t be placed on her, says Ms. Ryan. Infants also are roomed with the mother 24 hours a day, rather than being taken to the nursery.

The U.S. government’s goal for the end of the decade is for about 60% of women to be breast-feeding at least part of the time for the first six months, according to the government’s 2020 Healthy People objectives.

via A Shift in Strategy to Get More Mothers to Breast-Feed – WSJ.com.

We need more than strategies from hospitals…we need human kindness and a much more gentler approach to mother and baby in the hospital followed by a gentle approach at home while this dyad begins to take on the tasks before them. There needs to be a real effort made to make breastfeeding a “socially” acceptable thing. Education of the general public would greatly help in this area.

Then maybe we will begin to see a serious increase in breastfeeding success.

related posts:

https://parentingintheloop.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/world-breastfeeding-week/

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Although World Breastfeeding Week is over this post is so worth reading. Enjoy.

After trying for many years I had my first child at age 40. I was determined to do everything right. High on that list was breastfeeding. I was prepared for it to be challenging, but it turned out that my son and I were the perfect nursing pair. He did a great job of latching on and sucking, and I did a great job of producing “liquid gold.”

When my son was eight months old I developed a breast infection. Many nursing women have them — they are painful, but no big deal. I felt a lump that seemed like a clogged milk duct. But when the infection went away, the lump stayed so I scheduled an appointment with my physician.

via Cheryl Greene: World Breastfeeding Week — You Can Still Be A Great Mother, Even If You Can’t Breastfeed.

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This is “World Breastfeeding Week”…we know that breastfeeding is “Best for Babes” but not every mother feels that she can adequately breast feed and not every woman wants to breast feed. This being said there are many ways we can encourage women to breast feed and do so successfully.

The following article talks about ways that hospitals can encourage a new mother to breast feed. Many good points are made here…but ultimately the mom will be taking her newborn home after a very short stay in the hospital and the home atmosphere and home support will be the true test of success.

What we need is a “doula” of breastfeeding…a compassionate, educated, non-judgemental mom who is willing to help mother and baby get established in their breastfeeding routine together. This is not an easy task. There is no room for a fanatical breast feeding “doula” who imparts her successful breastfeeding stories and inadvertently guilt to the new breastfeeding mom. This relationship in my opinion can make or break a breastfeeding experience.

Hospitals can only do so much and since hospital experiences are so short  for the new mom in many cases, it is my belief  that for many reasons  hospitals will never provide the support that is needed  for success in breastfeeding.

A new mother’s ability to continue  breastfeeding is influenced by what she  experiences and how much support she receives during the first hours and days after birth. Breast milk is “the perfect nutrition,” says Frieden. It provides antibodies to help newborns ward off illness until the immune system can produce their own, which doesn’t happen until the infant is 6 months old.  Mom’s milk also provides important hormones that help baby regulate how much it needs to eat. Plus, studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis, as well as cutting the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes and asthma, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The CDC report says breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby’s odds of becoming overweight by more than 30%. For babies to get all of these benefits, the AAP recommends that infants should be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life and moms should continue to nurse while they start introducing solid foods until the baby is at least a year old, longer if mom and baby still want to.

In response to this report, the American Hospital Association tells CNN: “Breastfeeding is a personal choice and hospitals will follow the wishes of the mother, be it to breastfeed or bottle feed. There are numerous reaso

ns for the results and those include that hospitals can’t always accommodate a single room for maternity care and some mothers choose to send their babies to the nursery.”

There are of course other ways to help mothers continue to breastfeed. One came earlier this week, when the Department of Health and Human Services adopted recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which will require insurance companies to pay for breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling, without any cost to the insured (aside from her regular insurance premiums of course), starting in August 2012.

via Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs.

“Best for Babes” is a wonderful organization which is totally on the right track in trying to assist the breastfeeding mom and baby. We need more involvement like this in order to promote successful breastfeeding. Here is the mission of “Best for Babes” for those of you who are not familiar with this organization.

The amazing health, economic and environmental benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for six months or more are well-established.  Moms know this — they want to breastfeed. But sadly, very few of those who start or plan to start make it past the first few days — they struggle and suffer unnecessarily and give up, understandably, long before they intended to.  Too often, it’s not their fault!  They are being set up to fail by the very people and places that are supposed to help them — by the Booby Traps– the many cultural and institutional barriers that prevent them from achieving their personal feeding goals.

BFB’s mission is to help turn this situation around by bringing the power and influence of a consumer-driven, celebrity and corporate-backed, mainstream independent nonprofit –the Mother of All Causes –to bear on this issue;  to help create permanent  culture change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding and moms!  As a nonprofit foundation, we serve and complement the heroic, long-term efforts of the existing breastfeeding community and we lend added value by being able to harness and leverage the collective power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, the public sector, advertising, the medical community and the media.

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