The expectant mother (J) and I had discussed how we see the hospital stay going. She had asked us to be in the room during the birth of our child.
OUR CHILD = The child belonging to J, Me & my husband
That was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I will never forget it… but alas that is for another post.
J had wanted to try to pump after baby was born to give her as much of her own nourishment as possible, but she wasn’t emotionally able to nurse. I was 100% for whatever she was comfortable with doing.
While she was in the throws of labor, her milk was leaking everywhere. We ended up having to wrap her in a towel.
Oh, to watch labor and not really be able to do anything to help… not my favorite. Luckily she was open to me using my essential oils with her which helped her (and me) to relax a little… again that’s for another post.
We spoke with the charge nurse and notified her of our feeding plan – we would need help getting a pump for J after birth to feed our sweet girl. The nurses said it was likely no problem but that their “official” lactation consultant (lc) would have to be there to facilitate.
After baby girl was born we had to wait 2 hours before a lc was available to help us with feeding baby girl. I was getting very worried that baby girl hadn’t had anything to eat yet, but no one else seemed worried so I tried to push it off. At 8am a woman came in and we discussed what we needed. She returned around 9am and stated that it was hospital policy not to let anyone use the hospital breast pump unless the child was in the NICU.
She continued to say that she could help J hand express the milk into a spoon. So away they went, milking poor J into a spoon. J didn’t care though, she would do whatever she had to do to get the milk to our little girl. We were able to get 10ml into baby girl with a small needless syringe. (My daughter has the most incredible birth mom EVER! I love them both so much.)
Next was my turn! At least they could help me …. right?
I asked the lc if she could help me work on a good latch. I had my Supplemental Nursing System, so just needed some help from the professionals to get going. She was almost embarrassed as she said this…
“I cannot help you because you are not a patient of the hospital and we don’t know what fluids you would be feeding the baby”
Ok, here is the deal. I was not producing milk and hadn’t started on any protocol to begin producing milk. I had just the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) filled with formula to feed her.
I took what she said and just stewed… because I am non-confrontational. So I stew and pretended to say super intellectual things to the nurses, the lactation consultants, the hospital board… to make them feel less than. So There! And then I cried a little while no one was looking.
I asked the nurses for a premade bottle of formula so I could at least get some food in her.
I was heart broken. I don’t know why, I wasn’t the one that wanted to do this breastfeeding thing. It was everyone else around me. I was being pushed into this experience by surrounding forces. That’s what I’m telling myself. Truly, I really wanted to try it.
We got into our own post-pardum room with just hubby, me and baby. I decided to youtube “how to breastfeed your baby the first time”… after scrolling through all the birth videos I got to some basic helpful videos to get started.
Basically my understanding was.
- Feed boob like sandwhich.
- Shove it in as far as possible
- Baby will know what to do.
- It shouldn’t hurt.
So here I go. Fill supplemental system with formula. Line up sns hose with nipple… line babys nose up with nipple.. wait for open mouth. Shove nipple and lots of boob into babys mouth. Well that didn’t go as well as I had hoped.
We tried it a few times. She latched a little once or twice, but didn’t seem to be pulling the milk through the tube. She was getting hungry and I was getting frustrated. I tried with a different sized tube (there are 3 sizes). None of them seemed to work for us.
The SNS was a giant pain in the ass and I didn’t know how to use it. Here is a picture so you can kind of understand what I was going through. My basic assumption from my readers is that you may have already breastfed before so you understand the difficulty of the latch. Now add a tiny hose. There are videos on youtube kind of showing (as much as they can) how it’s supposed to work.
Initial feeling – unworthiness.
I didn’t deserve to breastfeed this baby. This isn’t even MY baby! J could potentially change her mind (even though she stated SEVERAL times that baby girl was staying with me). I’m just wasting my time and emotional energy.
It was a silly thought anyway.
The bottle works just fine.
I will just do skin to skin instead.
She will attach just fine without breastfeeding.
**Update: I called the head lactation consultant (Is that a thing? I guess so) at the hospital and had a long conversation with her. She asked that I write an email to her supervisor (the one who made that policy), which I did. It was intellectual, educational, and not down putting. I have not received a response. I will likely find someone else to email and call soon. This doesn’t need to happen to another family. Its a silly policy. (Memorial North, Colorado Springs, CO. Contact me if you want the contact info so you can also send a letter dictating the importance of attachment those first few hours in the hospital.)