Before my son was born I figured breastfeeding would be a snap. Honestly, how hard could it be? One, attach baby. Two, baby nurses. The end. Ha. When my son was a newborn he was a lazy eater. He’d get latched on, then just lay there, I guess waiting for breast milk to magically pour into his mouth. Considering I managed to get him latched on, you’d think the nurses or hospital staff could have helped me get him to actually nurse. But no. When the hospital staff saw my son wouldn’t eat, they jumped right to, “You’ll have to give him formula.” I begged for a lactation consultant, but the hospital had just one on duty, and, “She was busy.” When I refused formula they actually threatened me, “You’re not leaving the hospital until we know you’re giving him formula.” In the end I was lucky because when my midwife stopped by to check on me, she had a simple plan, “Place your pinky finger ever so slightly in the outer part of his inner ear.” This trick stimulated my son’s sucking reflex and we were golden. The hospital, by the way, still sent me packing with a huge bag of formula cans, which I discarded.
Unfortunately, a recent CNN article shows that not only was my experience typical, but actually far better than what many new moms experience when it comes to breastfeeding. The CNN piece paints a depressing picture, with numerous examples of how the medical community has been failing new mamas for years when it comes to helping them achieve breastfeeding success. More and more hospitals are banning formula, yet mothers are still left mostly to their own devices when it comes to learning how to breastfeed and how to deal with breastfeeding problems. That’s unacceptable. Keep reading to learn more and to be directed to some helpful resources.