"Baby Friendly"

So, what does the term "baby friendly" mean to you? Well, there are a lot of different things that come to my mind but I heard this used during my recent hospitalization to have my youngest child and when asked what it meant, this was the response I got.....

"This is what we refer to when talking about breastfeeding. We are trying to be "baby friendly" and encouraging all moms to breastfeed as opposed to bottle feeding."

Let's back up...

We were getting discharged from the hospital to take Baby Lauren home and our nurse (who utterly irritated me about several things) said, "Oh, since we are baby friendly now, we don't give patients diaper bags anymore so here is a lunch bag." She continued to tell me something else which I totally tuned out because I was still stuck on this whole "baby friendly" idea. I stopped her and said, "What does baby friendly mean?" Her response is above after she said, "Oh, I can't believe you haven't heard of it." I frankly couldn't either. I mean, goodness, I was in that hospital for 15 days and I have worked there for more than a year and I have never heard anything like this.

She went on to explain that all of our hospital system is going "baby friendly" and soon will not offer any assistance to moms who don't breastfeed. I stopped her again with this question: "Is that not offensive to some moms?" She said smuggly, "Yes, it is to some but it's what's best for the baby." By not offering assistance, she means they will no longer provide formula for bottle fed babies at the hospital and they are doing away with all pacifiers provided by the hospital. She said that if moms choose to bottle feed, they must bring supplies from home in order to do this. She even went further to tell me that soon they will not have newborn nursery in our hospital anymore and have taken it out of one of the hospitals in our system. She said that having a newborn nursery encourages moms to not bond and feed their babies in the middle of the night. ****I haven't given an opinion yet but let me do that right now about the previous statement.****I bonded with my baby and the nurse in the nursery brought me my baby every 3 hours for me to BREASTFEED her and the ONLY thing that the newborn nursery encouraged me to do was REST...you know that thing that is essential for a new mom who has just gone through LABOR and needs rest before returning home with not one but TWO children!!!!

I was completely dumbfounded. I just could not believe this. Now, let me say that I am all about breastfeeding. I tried with my first and was minimally successful but with my second baby, I am exclusively breastfeeding. WHY am I doing this? Because I feel that it is what is best for my baby. Let me be real honest and transparent here...I am not crazy about breastfeeding. I enjoy bonding with my baby and I get satisfaction knowing that I am doing something good for my baby BUT my first child is FINE....healthy and fine and she only got 1-2 oz of breastmilk a day for about 3 months. Lauren is 3 weeks old and I have been successfully breastfeeding for 3 weeks but there have been NUMEROUS times where I have wanted to throw in the towel, break out the formula (or frozen breastmilk) and give up!!! My boobs are SUPER SORE, the baby eats constantly, I don't know how much she is getting and it is just hard. It is hard...one of the hardest things I have ever done....breastfeed. Who woulda thought??!! But, I press on....the breast pump was too expensive as well as the formula and again, I know deep down it is what is best.

I feel that there is SO much peer pressure and pressure from media and hospitals and doctors, etc to breastfeed. The worst part about it is that the world view is that you are not "baby friendly" if you choose not to breastfeed. My best friend from high school CHOSE not to breastfeed simply because she did not want to. I don't think she is less of a person or a mom for not doing that. It is a CHOICE...A CHOICE!!!! Just last night I was in tears telling Brice how wrong I think it is that society paints this picture of a horrible mom is she does not "do what is right" for her baby. When I couldn't and ultimately quit pumping for Rachel I cried....I realized later it was because I was afraid that people would think I was a bad mom not because I was truly upset that she wasn't getting breastmilk anymore.

I say all of this to say that I am FOR breastfeeding IF it is what you or I choose. I have chosen it with this baby. Will I do it with the next one? Probably...or maybe not. I don't know. What I do know is that whatever the choice is, I still consider myself "baby friendly."



Bubeaner said…
I agree wholeheartedly with you. My theory, and having worked together in a hospital I am sure you will agree, is that this is just a gimmick that administrations have found to cut costs at the expense of being truly baby and mom friendly. HEB no longer has a nursery. And the same rules apply for the NICU. Can you imagine a NICU without pacifiers?!?! Or bottles? Tell a mom who had to deliver early (or is still in bed due to complications) that she has to pump!!!

I am with you. I did what I had to do for John's health. But it was my choice. After all I was the one having to get up every 1.5 - 2 hours all day long to pump a miniscule amount of breast milk. I was the one who was sore, tired and emotional. If I can decide where my child lives, goes to school and what he eats later in life, I sure can decide what he gets feed in early life. Forgive my language, but I believe this is a bunch of B.S. (ARRG!! Can you tell this subject makes me angry?)

As to the breastfeeding, it eventually gets easier. Although, there are time, even now, when I want to throw in the towel. =) I guess that is part of parenthood.
Unknown said…
HEB is the hospital "in our system" that I was referring to. They say that all of the hospitals in the system will be without a newborn nursery before long. ugh.
Unknown said…
I just created an account to leave a message. I'm so very glad that this did not happen to me when I had Ethan. I could not breastfeed due to the fact that my thyroid meds was over the amount that would enter his body! The newborn nursery to me is wonderful to moms who NEED to rest! Society has gotten CRAZY!
Anonymous said…
Ok, I'll bite and jump off into this... :)

First of all, I don't think either side should be judged for their choice either way. There are so many choices we have to make as parents that there really is no true right or wrong...just differences of opinion...diapers, potty training, cosleeping, working, childcare, schools or even home schooling, organic, the list goes on.

That being said, I am a staunch supporter and encourager of Breastfeeding. It isn't an easy thing to do but being a parent isn't about being easy (in my opinion) from labor to birth to parenting. My son took in no other fluid than my breast milk until he was 14 months old.

I think this nurse may not fully be understanding what "Baby Friendly" means...and it sounds a bit offensive to be coined that term anyway. I've never even heard of that. As a breastfeeding Mom, I was put off by the constant formula "samples" (entire cases and cans) that were sent to me without any request from me before I even delivered. As well as the diaper bags full of formula they used to send home with you from the hospital...I needed a gallon of milk or box of fruit or something I could convert into breastmilk! This may be an excuse for the administration to cut costs, but they should have invested some money into breastfeeding programs (since formula companies donate much of that formula...) so that there could be honest, equal choices for the mother and she would be equally supported for success in caring for their child... We have to also keep in mind the diversity of the obstetric population and their access to resources. Although being a couple thousand dollars over the cut off for WIC isn't helpful to me at all...that's a whole other discussion.

I also had a huge (though inappropriate) fear a nurse would give my baby a little formula or pacifier without my knowing in the nursery...I soon go over that. I also "said" my baby would not be going to the nursery at all and there would never be any giving of the paci (before I delivered). As we all quickly learn as parents, things change and soon I didn't mind sending that baby to the nursery for a couple hours in the middle of the night and the first night home I dug out the pacifier (consequently he still like to tote that thing around). Neither choice hindered or challenged my choice and ability to breastfeed or bond with my son.

I did however battle with over production of milk, constantly clogged milk ducts, repeated mastitis, and nipple thrush (yeast infection) over the course of several months. Therefore I understand pushing through uncomfortable breastfeeding and being determined in your purpose (yes, being a milk cow for a limited time can be a purpose when it is nourishing your baby).

As I approach deliver in a different town, in a different state, in a different hospital with my second child, I am a little anxious as they have no newborn nursery and new Moms do need to try to get as much sleep early on as possible.

And because you've sparked a little fire under my inner social worker who dreams away most of the day...

Another topic for thought in another time, the push for epidurals and interventions and scheduled deliveries when Mother and Baby are progressing normally and healthily (is that a word?) through pregnancy, labor, etc. Key word being healthy...

As a Mom striving for a labor and birth as intervention free (without epidural, pitocin, forceps, etc) as possible but still delivering in a hospital. It is very hard to get staff support and understanding without hiring my own doula who, with my husband, fight for a cocoon of support around me to fight off those tempting me at my moment of weakness with pain medicine and rolling their eyes that I would choose to walk the floors and sit on my birthing ball rather than lay in bed with a pitocin drip. But that is for another day... ;)
Unknown said…
Wow, Dee!!! Did I hit a nerve?! Thank you so much, everyone, for your comments and most of all encouragement. This breastfeeding thing is hard but I think we are doing better. Dee, as far as the assisted delivery...both times I had pitocin, epidural and with Rachel had vacuum extraction! Like you said, the key word is healthy....which I was not! Anyway, interesting topic and discussion
Anonymous said…
No, no, no...no nerve. I just don't ever have many adult discussions anymore and they get me excited! :) You know me. But absolutely no nerve. It used to be social injustice and poverty...now its breastfeeding and childbirth... Before we know it we'll be discussing dating and college!
Unknown said…
Glad that I could provoke some thought in you!!! =) Then after dating and college we will discuss menopause, grandchildren and nursing homes!!!! UGH!
Sarah Denley said…
Great post! I just came across it via Twitter.

I have to say I agree with the commenter that said some hospitals push formula TOO much. I agree 100% that it should be available if one chooses not to or can't breastfeed. However, sending everyone home with samples sends a message I don't like- that breastfeeding really isn't better, or is only marginally better, for the baby. I feel like that's a dangerous message for the medical community to be endorsing.

Also, I don't agree with the nursery thing. I love that "rooming in" has become an option at many hospitals, but with my second he was spitting up a LOT that first night and I would have wanted to stay up and watch him all night long if I hadn't been able to send him to the nursery!

One other question,why a lunch bag vs. a diaper bag?
Sara said…
I too just came across this on twitter and it almost brings tears to my eyes thinking how hard I tried to breastfeed my daughter. I had PIH and was on bed rest, was induced five weeks early, she spent two and a half weeks in the NICU and I tried everything to make more milk.

In the end though, I couldn't keep up and stopped. And, while I am okay with the decision I made, I still get upset when people ask if I'm nursing. If it weren't for formula, my daughter would be starving. Literally. And, I think a big reason I killed myself trying to keep going was the whole "baby friendly" stance the hospital and NICU took. I felt like it was the only thing I could do for her for those two and a half weeks. How about being "mom friendly" as well and promoting enjoying your baby and getting some rest. I literally did not enjoy feeding her until I gave up the nursing. And, that probably sounds awful, but it's true. (I'm sure a lot of that has to do with my horrible experience and recovery, but I might never know.)

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