I completely forgot about this blog last week. Well, that's not entirely true. I had several ideas for posts, but whenever I thought about actually writing one, it wasn't a good time for me to sit down at a computer. So I'll make up for it this week. ( :
Last week wasn't a great week for me, so even when I tried to think of things for the "High Five for Friday" post, I had a really hard time. There were a few highlights, though...
Last Saturday (not this past one, but the one before that...so confusing), two of my friends came over with their babies for a play date. I love when we get to do that! Its fun for me to reconnect with my friends, and I think its good for C to have interaction with other babies. She's great with adults, but since my in-laws keep her, she's hardly ever around other kids. I want her to have friends! And she does. One of the babies is 4 months to the day younger than C, and the other is 10 months younger. So the youngest one doesn't actually play, but C gets a kick out of him, and he's such a sweetie! The other baby, a girl, has just started walking, and C thinks that is fabulous. The girls don't play like I thought they would, but they kind of watch each other play and then take things from each other...apparently, sharing is not a skill they have mastered at this age! But its cute to see them together. ( :
Last Tuesday, the hospital kicked off their new Live Well series with a program on breastfeeding! I was so stoked to hear the news. Actually, DH was the first to tell me about it. Well, he told me he heard the hospital hired a full-time lactation consultant, which is absolutely wonderful news. I looked her up and found out she was having this program, so I signed up to go. Obviously, after breastfeeding a baby for the past 19 months I don't need to hear the benefits of breastfeeding (which was the topic), but I thought it would be good to go and support the effort. My friend with the girl baby went with me. Unfortunately, there were only two expecting couples attending, which was kind of a disappointment. But we hung around after the program and got to know the lactaction consultant. She is great. She's currently breastfeeding her baby, who is 14 months I believe.
Our hospital is finally making strides to be "baby friendly." Basically, that means they completely support breastfeeding. There are a host of things a baby friendly hospital does to accomplish that, and it starts during labor and delivery. Just having a full-time lactaction consultant on board is a huge step towards that goal. When I had C in that hospital, the nurse who helped deliver her was very helpful with breastfeeding. She showed me right away how to get C latched and how to hold her, and even showed DH some things to do to help me out. Once we were moved to our room, the nurses were pretty helpful if I had any issues, but no one actively tried to help me. Thankfully, I didn't need any help, but if I was having trouble, I'm not sure I would have taken the initiative to ask for assistance (I didn't know better then). Also, the nurses in the nursery really pushed formula on me. I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but I didn't know a lot of things I do now, and I didn't know then that introducing formula can really harm the breastfeeding relationship in the beginning. (Thankfully, it didn't for us.)
C was jaundiced and had to stay under the bili lights all the time for a few days. The nurses brought her to me to breastfeed every 2 hours or so, but they told me she also needed formula so she could stay under the lights longer. Plus, they said, the formula would help the jaundice go away quicker. Since I didn't know any better, I agreed with whatever they suggested. (They also recommended pacifiers when C wasn't with me!) Looking back, I'm amazed that I didn't have any problems during that time, because we did everything possible to NOT be able to breastfeed. (Later, when my head cleared and I was back in my normal research everything mode, I read a TON on jaundice and the breastfeed baby. I could have nursed her in the nursery under a bili blanket. Or not, a few minutes without the lights wouldn't have made a difference to her. And breastmilk actually is better to help wtih jaundice than formula. (Duh. Breastmilk is better than formula for everything.). The point is, she didn't need any of that formula, or the paci, and she didn't need to spend so much time away from me in those fragile early days. I know the nurses were just doing their jobs and going along with hospital policy, and I know they had my baby's health in mind, but I still wish things were done much differently.)
Since the hospital is striving to become baby friendly, all of those practices are changing. They don't offer pacis anymore, I'm told. They do what they can to support and encourage breastfeeding. AND they don't pass out formula sample bags anymore! That is a huge deal. When we left the hospital, I had a huge stash of formula they gave me. I took it home to have "just in case." I kept it for weeks. I wanted to have a backup in case something went wrong. In fact, the first time DH and I left C for more than an hour, I sent several bags of my pumped milk and several bottles of formula, "just in case." I now know how easy it would have been for me to substitute formula at the first problem. And that would have ruined breastfeeding for us, just like it has for so many women and their babies. Because when your baby is hungry and you're having a problem breastfeeding her, you just want to make sure she's fed and happy, so if you have to use formula, so be it. I get it. I never got to that point, but I understand. If hospitals don't give you bags of formula and its not there tempting you, you're more likely to push through any problems that arise with breastfeeding. I've seen it.
So, I'm really happy that the hospital is making this move! I'm not sure when they're planning on doing any more programs on breastfeeding, but I intend to attend them all and show my support. I'd love to get involved. Which reminds me, I need to start back going to the LLL (La Leche League) meetings this month. I want to do my part to support and advocate breastfeeding! ( :