"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we join the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in it's "Talk to Me!" theme where participants will share personal experiences, insights or recommendations in communicating breastfeeding intentions and goals to their support system. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."First of all, I was lucky. I had a husband who did not even question my breastfeeding intentions. In fact, he was even the one who called LATCH to reserve slots for us at the first breastfeeding class they ever held (back in Malayan Plaza, March 2007). This was before LATCH's partnership with The Medical City, that offers free breastfeeding classes to would-be parents, began.
And my mother-in-law couldn't raise any objections about my breastfeeding decision either, because her own daughter would do it for four years. And my Mom, though she encouraged me to mix feed so I can still continue working, was already based abroad and didn't have much say in how I lived my family life.
So, again, I am lucky. If there were people who tried to undermine my decision to breastfeed, it was doctors who I saw for sinusitis and allergy attacks. But I knew enough not to listen when I didn't need to. I was empowered.
Which brings me to the title of this blog post.
It is not common practice here in the Philippines to 'shop' for a pediatrician before giving birth. However, aside from the fact that you will see your pediatrician more than you will ever see your gynecologist, and you will entrust to a pediatrician the most precious thing ever in your life (your kids' health), a pediatrician also has much influence over your parenting.
And that is where breastfeeding comes in. It is a parenting choice, not just a feeding option, for it will require a certain lifestyle, a degree of commitment, and a lot of compromises and sacrifices. And if you're a first time parent who do not know any better, you can easily be scared, swayed and undermined.
In my experience, many first-time moms ask "They say my milk will come in after a few days from the delivery, so what will my baby feed on till then?"
Imagine if all pediatricians (and nurses) tell these new moms to have their babies latch as soon as possible because 1) they have colostrum to offer and 2) direct feeding is the stimulation required for the flowing, mature milk to come in.
Imagine if these moms who want to breastfeed are supported from Day 1 by their pediatricians, instead of being charged formula at the nursery where their newborns stayed.
Imagine if pediatricians didn't just check your baby but also met with the parents and talked about newborn care.
And so, I hope, aside from looking for the right gynecologist, or hospital to give birth in, would-be parents would also exert a lot of effort in finding a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician before they give birth.
Would-be parents can ask for referrals from trusted people (family, friends, their gynecologist, or in this internet era, cyber experts). They should arrange for a consultation and expect to pay the usual PF charged by the pediatrician. And they should ask their questions, after all, they are paying customers.
It would be more prudent to just tell the doctor that you are looking for future pediatricians that you can work with. Then, express your desire to breastfeed. Proceed maybe by asking them about the breastfeeding practices in the hospitals they're affiliated in, or whether they had breastfeeding training.
These two links also provide questions one can probably use, although I feel some of the approaches suggested may be too forward for our culture.
Finding breastfeeding-friendly pediatricians
Choose a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician
Other tactics that you can use is raising other concerns to indirectly raise the issue of breastfeeding, like:
* Doc, I am really anxious about feeding my baby. What can I expect the first few weeks? What happens when I go back to work?
(if supplementation with formula is given as a ready option, then you might as well assume that any complaint from you of sore nipples or exhaustion or colds will also result in the same 'solution' from that doctor)
* Doc, we have a strong allergy history. Are there things I can do to reduce the risks of my baby getting them?
* Doc, I want to breastfeed. I'm just wondering though what scenarios will be deal-breakers with that desire?
* Doc, if it's a given that the baby is healthy, how long before you allow such baby to be roomed-in?
* Doc, what are your thoughts on co-sleeping?
* Doc, I believe some newborn babies cry a lot. What are the common reasons for that?
Yes, indirect may work better for us Pinoys... plus, you get a greater sense of what a doctor stands for that way, instead of asking questions answerable with a yes or no.
Bring your spouse/support system in this 'shopping spree' and really try to get one you know you can trust and will work with you, not against you.
I have heard enough stories of pediatricians commenting that a breastfed baby was underweight or small for his age... but most are actually referring to the wrong charts or paid to push certain formula brands.
Let's keep these doctors on their toes. Make prenatal pediatric consultations a top priority during pregnancy and reduce, if not totally eliminate, those moments when you'd be made to feel as if you're not doing enough for your child just because you chose to breastfeed.
And once you've chosen your pedia, include him/her and your brestfeeding intentions in your birth plan.
Other participants to the carnival include:
Apples and Dumplings: Communication and First Time Breastfeeders
Dainty Mom: Creating a Pro-Breastfeeding Culture in the Family
Truly Rich Mom: Truly Rich Tips (esp. for moms) - How to get others to support you in breastfeeding
On breastfeeding: Say it, claim it, get support!
EthanMama: My Best Breastfeeding Support System — My Husband
TouringKitty: Communication through Breastfeeding
Escie's World: Ready, Get Set, Go! for Breastfeeding
J and the Three Boys: I'm breastfeeding, and that's that.
Nanaystrip: BreasTALK : Text, Retweet, Share your Knowledge and Experiences
PenpenEspie: A Shout out to My Breastfeeding Buddies
Project Blog by Kate: Talk and Make It Happen
Newbie Wife: How I Taught the Family to "Breastfeed"
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Effective Communication Bucket List
Go Help Yourself: “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates”
Mommy Kuwentos: How I recruited my top breastfeeding buddies
Handy Mommy: Communication Decision
Dinna: Making It Known
Legally Mom: BREASTFEEDING TALK BETWEEN ME AND MY FORMULA-FED DAUGHTER