Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Triumphant Tuesday: Commercially-Motivated Medical Staff

As I wrote in the article: '15 Tricks of Formula Companies', getting health professionals on side is a common strategy of formula companies. New mothers understandably carry the assumption that health professionals have significant expertise in the areas they counsel, and that health professionals always have the baby’s best interests at heart. However the reality is that a baby’s interests, and indeed a mother's interests, are often misplaced by commercial interests when a health professional has been corrupted by formula companies. Cera is a mother who experienced this first hand. When Cera became pregnant with twins, the sabotaging remarks of her family were the least of her worries...

“My name is Cera (pronounced Sarah). I am 22 years old and proud mom to beautiful twins. I was blessed to have a boy and a girl. They are happy, bouncy, smiling bundles of joy and my husband and I couldn't be happier. It however didn't start out that way...

Unsupportive Family

My family has a really bad tendency to tell me exactly how they feel at any given time, so when I was pregnant with twins and they found out I was going to attempt to breastfeed they had no problem telling me I was nuts! My mother in law informed me that breastfeeding was like a ball and chain, and that it was embarrassing to do anywhere but at home. She told me that she used formula with her youngest child because she didn't like to breastfeed. That in itself planted seeds of doubt in my psyche about breastfeeding. 

The next big "confidence boost" came from my ever loving sister. She had a c-section with my niece and after a couple of failed nursing attempts, turned to formula. If anything I feel that she was jealous of my determination not only to breastfeed, but to feed two babies. She informed me that I wouldn't release any milk because I was not having a natural child birth. I wasn't convinced, so I bit my tongue and carried on. It wasn't until my third trimester when I woke up to a milk soaked bed did I realize that there was hope for me!    

Skin-to-Skin Interrupted

On June 4th I was finally in hospital for my scheduled c-section to bring my twins into the world. I was 38 weeks pregnant and bigger than I ever thought a pregnant woman could get! After the babies were put into my arms, I was more than ready to start the bonding and beauty of breastfeeding. My husband stayed to help and watch as my little 6 pound babies were nestled under my arms and up to my breasts. After both babies successfully latched, I was ecstatic. I beamed with pride and relief and forgot about all of the grief I received from friends and family telling me there was no way with a c-section and twins, that I would never be able to breastfeed. With panic aside, I happily bonded with my husband and newborns. That was until the lactation specialist walked into the room.

She busted through the doors into my room and instantly started barking orders. I knew right away I wasn't going to enjoy the company of this woman. She saw my little baby boy sleeping sound, snuggled against me after he had just finished his meal. She then grabbed him from my hands to undress him, rub him and put an ice cold wash cloth on him. I was shocked to say the least. I fully understood that you have to wake your babies to get them to eat, but to interrupt my bonding time was more than appalling. After she put my son back onto my breast and move onto my daughter, I politely asked if my husband could try and wake her. 

Two days later I was getting into the groove of breastfeeding. I thought all was well and I was in Mommy bliss! However one evening the lactation specialist came into my room with a scale to weigh the babies and 'make sure I was producing enough for them'. This is when we found out both of my babies had lost a significant amount of weight. I was mortified. I couldn't believe it. My baby bliss just melted away with one scorned look from this woman. She lectured me about not waking them up regularly enough (even though I woke them every 3 hours as I was instructed) and she accused me of not listening to her. A flood of tears hit me. I was alone in the room with her since my husband had left to get some clean clothes and feed our pets at home. When he walked back into the room he found me pale faced and bawling my eyes out. The thought that I could be starving my children made me sick

With careful consideration, we asked one of our wonderful nurses to not allow that nasty woman back into our room. After a lot of prayers and help from the nurses, in a few days we got our babies weight back up and breastfeeding returned to a happy experience for everyone. Sadly, this harmony was short-lived. The next day the specialist came back into our room to apologize (even though I didn't want to hear it) and to proceed to tell me that if I didn't have a Medela Breast Pump that I was not leaving the hospital without buying one from her. I was livid! After all this woman had put me through, and now this?? I couldn't believe it! I told her that I had a nice brand new pump at home and she proceeded to tell me that it wasn't good enough. I was now captive!

With my mom at my side, we called every mother we knew and our insurance to try to get me a Medela. Finally an acquaintance of my husband’s friend had one that I could borrow and we got our babies home.

Now my babies are both growing healthy and happy with full tummies that I proudly provide. I constantly get compliments from other mothers and even doctors for not needing to supplement my two "not so little" ones. If I had the chance to speak to any young mothers of multiples that are hoping to breastfeed without supplement, I would tell them to never give up on what you feel is right for your babies. It will get easier in time.”

Cera's Bingo Card:

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Leslie said...

Great job Cera! You are a very determined, strong mother and kudos to you for sticking to your guns and trusting yourself!

kmueller said...

I am always amazed at how inconsiderate hospital staff can be. My LC also told me that I couldn't leave with my daughter until I bought a breast pump, or agreed to top-off with formula.

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