You may not even know it, but you and your baby have been working hard, preparing for the next step in your relationship after pregnancy and birth -- breastfeeding. Just as you provided everything your baby needed to grow on the inside, you are sequenced to continue this job once baby is on the outside. Currently I am working toward increasing my formal lactation knowledge to better serve the Bakersfield and Visalia areas. To add to my current 6500 direct breastfeeding counseling hours, I am completing 90 hours of specific lactation education (required to become eligible to sit for the exam to become an IBCLC). I came across these quotes while studying, and I was struck by the timing of these events!
While we are designed to nurse our babies, that doesn't mean it will happen easily. If you are experiencing breastfeeding issues, reach out for some help! There are many places to look, starting with the hospital where your baby may have been born, WIC offices, local public health options, private practice IBCLCs, and group support gatherings, such as La Leche League and Breastfeeding USA. Often you can call any of these resources for some phone help or questions answered. If you need more support, hopefully the person on the other end of the phone can further direct you to the best resources for your situation.
Just because we are mammals and breastfeeding seems like it should be "natural," that doesn't mean we won't need some good information and ideas from others who are in positions to help. Don't be afraid to get some guidance -- you are your baby are in this together!
For more resources, view this past post.
Some years back, I attended a conference where Diane Wiessinger was one of the keynote speakers. She shared information about breastfeeding and birth. In the course of one of her presentations, she showed a picture of a beautiful house by the water where her family spends vacations. Everything in the picture reflected calm, peace, and escape from the world. What she shared, though, was revealing: "Whenever I am here, at this home away from home, it takes me a few days before I have a bowel movement." (Yes, I know I just put poop in your pretty picture -- hold that for a minute.) Her point? If this is how a body responds and readjusts to a different (beautiful, serene) environment as displayed by bowel habits, how does that translate to pushing out your baby in a hospital room, surrounded by many strangers (and loved ones)?
I love this scene from "Open Season." I think it is a humorous, disarming way to illustrate the point. Enjoy! And my apologies to Diane if I got things wrong -- it's all open to interpretation!
Before I start I must share, I do realize "animal midwife" isn't a real term. I guess if a veterinarian is who you call when an animal needs extra help birthing her young, I am calling the person who is "with cow" (or ewe) during a spontaneous, normal birth an Animal Midwife. This Animal Midwife is a former childbirth student of mine (currently pregnant with her third baby -- so it's been a while!). After she read my first baby's birth story, she reached out to me to share her thoughts. The following is our conversation...
Animal Midwife: I loved your blog post! I shared it since I have so many friends and family expecting their first babies. I just had two friends a week apart go in for inductions and both (one not even 12 hours later), were rushed in for c-sections. I almost hurt for them knowing what they missed out on and the trauma physically and emotionally they might feel.
Me: I know what you mean. I was lucky I didn't end up with a cesarean birth.
AM: That's how I feel! If I hadn't had the midwives, that would have been my case! Luckily, I made some good choices and knew I wanted a midwife versus an OB. I think it's mostly because I grew up with livestock. I was telling my mom the other day, if I ran out and gave Pitocin (oxytocin) every time I thought a ewe or cow was done and ready to just get it over with, the lamb or calf would die nearly every time, and possibly the momma. Babies come when they are ready!
Me: Do you have Pitocin that you can use for your animals?
AM: Yep, it's called oxytocin, but it's the same thing. I have used it to treat a retained placenta. If I were to give it even a few days early there's a good chance the lambs or calf wouldn't be in the right position causing major problems! We would never break our livestocks' water either. My friend was being induced and they broke her water resulting in a cord prolapse and an emergency c-section. I just wish she would have waited, but they told her 2 weeks ago the baby was already 9lbs, and at birth he was 8.6.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)