I talked with a lovely mother and baby recently: "My baby won't breastfeed." Why, I pondered?
The birth story shed light on this child's introduction to life. Induced labor, dropping heart rate, meconium. Her baby was immediately taken to the warmer and bright lights where everyone but mother rubbed, poked and deep suctioned him. He was then handed to mother for a few minutes before being taken to the nursery for the night. At 6:00 AM mom woke to realize she had not seen her baby in eight hours. She panicked and went to the nursery to find him. "Oh, he is fine," a nurse told her. "We fed him two bottles of formula last night." The mother was jolted.
Now one week later this baby hasn't a clue as to how to make breastfeeding work. Bottle feeding requires either suction or compression, not both. Breastfeeding requires both. Poor little thing comes to breast and expects to be fed. It took two hours of mother patiently watching and waiting, but he latched and after many false starts he began drinking from the breast. What a glorious sight. We were all happy.
Birth practices heavily influence the success of breastfeeding. Tanya Lieberman of Motherwear Blog recently interviewed Linda Smith about her book The Impact of Birth Practices on Breastfeeding. Tune into her podcast.
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