This week I had an interesting thing happen. I txted a friend asking how it was all going with the new baby. He’s 4 weeks today. She went straight into telling me he feeds every hour and the doctor told her that she’d just have to put up with it for the first 2 months. I was furious for her. How dare a doctor say that when it’s totally untrue.
It’s hard enough to be a new mum for the first time, why do doctors give such bad advise? Baby is full term with no health issues. Why would you not try to help instead of setting her up to fail. If it were me, I’d be finding a new doctor.
I asked her a few questions and then asked if I could help. She answered YES in big letters, but she said ‘Don’t tell me to put him on a schedule’…… so I thought about the immediate problem and pretty quickly came to the conclusion he wasn’t getting enough of the good hind milk. She was feeding 10 minutes a side and he’d fall asleep. Just snacking really. She wasn’t really told about breast milk structure or to feed one side at a time. There was no real lactation consultation in hospital and she was really having difficulty.
I imparted my knowledge as best I could about how it all works and suggested she express off the fore milk and then let baby reattach. As a general rule a newborn should feed for around 20-30 minutes on one breast per feed unless they look for more. This way you can 1) drain the breast to help avoid contracting mastitis and 2) baby will get the hind milk which has more calories and keeps them satisfied longer. In this instance more calories=good 🙂
As they grow they will drain the breast more efficiently and feeds will be much faster but to begin with it takes time.
Having fed 2 babies until beyond 8 months, I have a pretty good handle on breastfeeding and it’s issues.
She texted me yesterday morning to say it was going very well and baby was stretched to 2 hours between feeds, still not totally ideal but certainly an improvement and she’s enjoying some rest and feeling less cow like. She was excited she was going to able to shower!
This my friends is what helps cause post natal depression in women, in my opinion. How can you feel human when you’re stuck feeding a newborn 24 hours a day. More time and energy needs to be put into nurturing these new mums and teaching them how to get good flexible schedules going for their babies and their return to normal life.
I’m not about hyper-scheduling but I don’t believe in full on demand feeding either. I think a combination of both works best all around. You can certainly get baby into a routine that works for everyone fairly easily. (here’s a link to another post which goes into more detail on setting up a flexible schedule http://www.amotherlife.com/are-we-sleeping-yet/)
I am totally appalled that with the amount of money the healthcare system charges, that a new, first time mother would be sent home with no instruction on a very important part of motherhood and babycare. Shame on you America. You’re too busy turning a profit and rushing these women home. For the amount of money it costs to give birth here you should get a private lactation consultant in your home everyday for a week.
We have really lost the sense of village and community. Sisters helping sisters and older mums helping new mums…….women supporting women through this new, overwhelming and scary time of new motherhood. I would love to see that take hold again and grow somehow. I will endeavour to help those I can with the knowledge I have gained. If we all do that then it will be a good start.