Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

A monologue of a lactation consultant

with one comment

I overnight with a friend at the hospital after she had a baby. In the morning a lactation consultant walks in. I bear witness to her monologue that sums up lactation consultancy at the hospital.

Lactation consultant (LC) – How is breastfeeding going? Lots of diapers… nursing a lot…

A mother (M): Breastfeeding is going good.

LC: Did you have engorgement with the first baby? What did you do?

M: I nurse often to prevent engorgement. I put the baby to the breast every time he searches.

LC: Do you have a pump? You can use a pump to relieve engorgement. You can use a pump to soften the breast if it is too hard and the baby cannot latch on. Pump just a little bit, not too much.

In a typical counseling situation there is a dialogue between a person and a counselor. A counselor reflects on what a person is saying, offering insights based on the needs of a person.  As you can see from the script above, a dialogue between the lactation consultant and the mother did not happen. Lactation consultant asked questions and gave answers without listening or hearing what the mother was saying.

What was particularly disturbing in the encounter was the misinformation about using pumps to relieve engorgement. It was uncalled for. It required a piece of equipment that will stand between a mother and her baby interfering with breastfeeding. It suggested unnecessary spending to sustain breastfeeding. It was wrong.

Fiona Dykes in her book “Breastfeeding in Hospital. Mothers, midwives and the production line” says:

“…when breastfeeding information and support is provided in hospital… it is commonly issued in a routinized, prescriptive, authoritative manner that disregards the personal agenda of the woman. The encounters tend to be time-pressured and monologic. This approach conforms to the techno-medical ideology.”


Written by Medical Nemesis

October 3, 2011 at 19:10

Posted in Other

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Sounds like LC had something to say and she said it, there could have been any mother on the receiving end. LC was not engaging with an individual at all. Sorry to hear that.

    Maria Yasnova

    October 4, 2011 at 15:24

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

Breast. No Bottle.

To nurse, or not to nurse: that is not a question!

%d bloggers like this: