I recently came across a page on breasfeedinginc.ca that I felt desperate to share with you all! Because the truth of the matter is that, no matter how much science backs up breastfeeding as the bare minimum for normal, adequate nutrition for infants, and everything else as sub standard with health consequences, there are care providers (doctors, nurses, even lactation consultants) who don’t actually support breastfeeding but simply see it as “one of the options.”
But to succeed on this journey, you need actual support. You can do it on your own, it’s possible, but it isn’t pleasant. Your partner needs to be on board, if they aren’t already then your family either needs to shut their mouths or get on board, and your care provider most definitely needs to be 100% rooting for you to succeed.
So you can imagine my delight when I found that Edith Kernerman over at Breastfeeding Inc. had written up a list of things that should make you reevaulate your care provider! It’s an emotionally trying time, and when new mommies feel like they know nothing it’s crucial that they be willing to go to a DIFFERENT care provider!
Don’t be afraid to switch! There are lactation consultants, midwives, and OB’s all over this country and it’s worth it to find one that will actually support you!
Some of the points Edith covers are:
- encouraging you to use a bottle because they don’t believe in nipple confusion
- offering you samples and literature on formula early in your breastfeeding journey
- believes that breast pain and sore nipples are “normal” instead of helping you solve them
- bases “success” or “failure” on number of feedings per day and the number on the scale
I don’t want to give away her entire list before you get over there, so I’m gonna stop with that!
I understand that there are times when a mother needs “permission” to stop trying to breastfeed and switch to formula. Those times are why formula should exist. But that shouldn’t be a decision that is taken lightly, or something that should be done over fixable issues like pain and exhaustion.
Even major supply issues can be remedied for most women, and sometimes a tongue or lip tie can be easily repaired with a short, outpatient procedure done in a doctor’s office.
For a care provider to actually be supportive (encouraging and empowering you towards the best possible choice) they need to be lifting you towards success, not enabling quitting. They need to have resources for:
- Boosting supply quickly through diet and lifestyle changes, as well as herbs and supplements.
- Be educated about latch and tie issues and know where and how to refer you if needed.
- Recognize that breastfeeding has benefits worth fighting for.
- Support extended breastfeeding as suggested by the WHO and based on the mother’s preferences.
- Know the legal rights of breastfeeding mothers in their area.
- Know how to properly utilize tools like nipple shields, pumps, and nursing pillows.
- Educate mothers on warning signs of issues like blebs, plugged ducts, and mastitis, and teach them how to head those things off with natural remedies that will avoid medication and antibiotics while breastfeeding.
- Know which medications are safe during breasfeeding for issues like pain relief, seasonal allergies, insomnia, and etc.
If your care provider isn’t answering questions about these issues without automatically going to “you could switch to forumla” or “you’ll just have to tough it out”, then it’s time to dump them. There are plenty of consultants and doctors out there who can help you without pushing you into failure.
Remember, this is a journey worth fighting for. I don’t want you to be run into the ground over it, or to be sad and discouraged for the whole journey, but I hope and pray that you have a support team that HELPS you instead of hinders you, so that if you have to switch to a bottle and formula (or pumping and bottles) system then you can do it with zero regrets, knowing that you were given all the tools and did your best!