Wow, what a full post! You may or may not be familiar with “Hot Belly Mama,” but she recently gave birth to her first child under less-than-ideal circumstances (what that means, exactly, she has not said, just that her birth experience was not what she wished and hoped for), and in this post writes about her experiences with breastfeeding in the hospital.
She has PCOS, which, apparently, causes delays in breastfeeding and low milk supply in up to 30% of affected women. None of the medical staff at the hospital had any information for her on that, and she didn’t realize at the time that PCOS could affect her breastfeeding. The nurses couldn’t help; the lactation consultants couldn’t help; and, well, let’s just say that she began referring to her child’s pediatrician as “the evil Dr. Jones” for her much worse than lack of helpfulness — did nothing but promote formula (while saying she was 100% pro-breastfeeding). Also, the doctor refused to let the baby leave the hospital until she gained weight, without regard for the stress the hospital was causing the mother, without any apparent knowledge of how PCOS might affect breastfeeding and milk supply, without being able to help, without diagnosing the baby’s tongue tie and upper lip tie (which were also affecting her nursing ability [for a long post on tongue tie, click here]), and without any apparent regard for the parents’ already working with lactation consultants and being willing to go to the doctor every day until the baby gained weight (in other words, it’s not like they were neglectful parents, but were doing everything possible).
But the angel of the story was the La Leche League leader who did what none of the professionals apparently could do. Although she had no knowledge of PCOS herself, she started searching the internet for advice and information, and was able to help this new mother, when others could not or would not. When doctors and nurses get irritated by people who are willing to listen to those who are not doctors and nurses, or those whom they consider to be quacks, perhaps they need to be reminded of stories like this, and how a “regular person” was able to solve a problem that the others could not. This is not to say that the nurses and lactation consultants didn’t try — I’m sure they did. But they didn’t have the knowledge base to help, and although this woman was in the hospital for three days, the lactation consultants didn’t come up with the information to help her in that time. But a LLL leader did. Sometimes, it’s not education but dedication that matters.