Breast. No Bottle.

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

Violence in medicalized breastfeeding help

with one comment

I was helping a coworker with some breastfeeding issues. She was an MD who came post IBCLC, post pediatrician help with the usual mix of pump-expressed milk-formula-nipple shield. She was underslept, exhausted from the juggling of devices and substances and ever so distant from actually breastfeeding her baby. After a quick chat over the messenger I could not see any reason why she was sent on a path of all the gadgets so off we went to see if nursing at the breast can be improved.

My initial concerns were for the mother herself. The medicalized breastmilk extraction frenzy that everybody seems to be so concerned about wears out women in no time. A dead mother is not good for breastfeeding. Or anything else for that matter. When I get cases like this I would like to see  that a mother gets some sleep, eat some food (not vitamins, not smoothies, not supplements, not pills for milk or teas for milk, but food, something prepared at home), takes a shower, inhales and exhales. In reality, breastfeeding has room for adjustments. It is not a race to reach the finish line in two days hospital personnel expects.

Then comes the issue of letting the baby do her job – find the breast, attach, and suckle. No number of techniques that you learn about “THE LATCH” will help the baby. Breastfeeding is a relationship between two people. You cannot impose your techniques on the other one. If we were to think of sex, imagine you learn all the techniques of penetration, then upon meeting your lover-to-be, you start prodding, forcing, pulling, ramming. It would be akin raping another person. Forced latch techniques do exactly the same – force the baby to bulk and hate you with vengeance.

I look for some supplementary info to send to the mother on a LLL website and find the infamous “feed the baby” slogan in almost every article. The mother IS feeding the baby but it does not help breastfeeding. This is what got her to me in the first place – feeding, not breastfeeding. I abandon the idea of finding an LLL article and rely on snippets from various articles on how to learn when a baby is ready to nurse, say that it may happen every 15-30 minutes, not the imaginary 2-3 hours some hospital clock admin came up with, and go over how to hold the baby. It turns out both pediatrician and an IBCLC told her to hold the baby’s head and guide the baby’s head to latch!  Sacré! Now I did read the report of a Russian breastfeeding consultant coming back from the US and retelling stories of some proud LCs about production line latch – ram! ram! ram! but I did not know it was actually happening. Apparently it does.

Medicine as a science is very unkind to people, women in particular.  Words of aggression, war, and fighting are abundantly used in medical literature and popular reports of medical endeavors. Except you cannot be aggressive in breastfeeding. It does not work. The most common word women use to describe breastfeeding is love. Not war. Not food. Not fight. Not agression. Love. Forcing a baby onto the breast or forcing a baby onto a feeding schedule will and does backfire. Unfortunately, when LLLI launched a profession with an aim to appeal to doctors and fit into medicine, they subscribed to the underpinnings of medical science with all its faults and drawbacks that historically undermined women.

The mother I was helping asked me “Why did an LC and pediatrician tell me to grab the baby by the head?” My response – Grrrrrr. No comment.


Written by Medical Nemesis

May 3, 2016 at 09:09

Posted in Other

One Response

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  1. I had so many mothers asking for help… And they all were grabbing the baby’s head. Because the hospital personnel told them to do so… I think it is a general belief that if you are not holding the head, the head would fall down. Also, there was a baby who hated when someone touches him between the shoulder blades. The baby’s mother told me that the LC was pushing the baby to the breast holding between the shoulder blades…

    Marina Kopylova

    May 3, 2016 at 09:30

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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!

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