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Episode 89 Breastfeeding Report Card 2016
So glad you could join us for another show. If you would like to connect with me, some of our guests and with each other, go to Facebook and search for All About Breastfeeding Community and join our group. You can meet other moms from literally all over the world, learn more about breastfeeding, and access some cool handouts I have uploaded to the group file. This is your group and you can be a part of the handouts I design. Go into the group and post what subjects that you would like for me to write about. You can also check out the handouts I have already post and tell me what you think about them. Is there anything I need to add to make it better? Something you think should be changed? I have often worked in a bit of a vacuum, meaning everything I have written so far, gets a look/see from just a few people who give me feedback. Now, I am excited to have all of you AAB listeners take part in this. So JOIN the Facebook group, meet some moms online and check out the files.
I wanted to start off today’s show with a big hearty congratulations to my good friend Vanessa Merten, host of the Pregnancy Podcast, which is a fabulous podcast that you will want to subscribe to if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. She provides valuable information on all topics related to pregnancy. Vanessa has just released her first book called: Your Birth Plan – a step by step guide to creating and writing your birth plan. Just search for it on Amazon. It is a wealth of information.
This past week, the CDC, which is the center for disease control, released the 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card. Looking through the statistics, I sighed…. just like I do every year. There are people who really get excited with these numbers. Me? I always say that I am greedy. I want more. I want better. I want what parents want. And what do parents want? Well, the statistics tell us that nationally 81 percent of parents want to breastfeed their babies.
Ever @6 @12 EBF3 EBF6
Arizona 85 54 30 46 23
nat’l 81 51 30 33 22
2014 79 49 26 40 18
2010 75 43 22 33 13
2007 73 41 20 30 11
These numbers are fabulous. 81 percent of mothers are starting off their pp life with baby saying they want to breastfeed. The report goes on to tell us that only 33% of babies are EBF at 3 months and only 22% are EBF at 6 months. The latest recommendations from all the top agencies suggest that all babies be EBF for 6 months and we are only at 22%. So pardon me if I don’t get as excited about these figures as others do. I just know we can do better.
Call me crazy for not being as thrilled with the latest statistics as some people are. We continue to make improvements, however, they are baby steps in my opinion and I think the money and the expertise is there to be gaining momentum in Leaps and Bounds, not baby steps.
With so much more awareness about breastfeeding, so many more IBCLCs in hospitals and private practices, some in WIC centers, clinics and physicians offices, so many companies doing so much better with having pumping rooms and catering to moms who are breastfeeding and pumping, the rates at 3 months and 6 months should be climbing,, and yet they are moving at a snails pace.
As a nation, I believe we are failing breastfeeding mothers. The 2 BIG questions are: Where are we failing? What can we do to really 10X these numbers. Give them a major boost. Help parents meet their goals.
I know what we need to do. I don’t believe it is too hard to accomplish or take too much money. It will take a shift in the mindset of our Healthcare providers Statistics have shown that one of the most important factors in mothers meeting their breastfeeding goals is their physicians. This includes their HCP for prenatal care and their babies pediatrician.
Do you know that most physicians have only received 1 hour of information on breastfeeding. Most physicians I speak with tell me that there is not even practical information as it is: Breastmilk is best for babies. Here are the benefits. Support all our breastfeeding mothers. Do you know why this is a big, big problem?
Because most parents look toward their HCP for breastfeeding advise and help when they are having problems. IBCLCs like myself have typically studied for years and put in hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours into learning about breastfeeding. We have worked closely with hundreds of mothers, helping them with latching their babies on, spending hundreds of hours demonstrating techniques, explaining and teaching mothers. Many of us have read at least 10 different medical textbooks on issues related to lactation, attending many conferences that focus solely on lactation and the breastfeeding family.
If I sound a bit like a breastfeeding care provider snob, you might say that I am. Don’t you think it makes sense that myself and my peers should be providing lactation care to mothers from prenatally on? We have thousands of hours of experience to offer mothers vs. 1 hour or so from their care providers. Now, we don’t not live in an always and never world. Nothing is black and white. I have met quite a few physicians, midwives, ND who have elected to seek out training in lactation, however, this number is very, very small.
So, what can we do? I believe all mothers who are planning on breastfeeding, should have access to an excellent breastfeeding class, meet with an IBCLC prenatally to discuss their health history as it relates to lactation. It is at this juncture that we are beginning to make important connections. Moms meet with IBCLCs and get to know, like and trust them. They have an awareness of any possible risk factors for lactation difficulties before she gives birth. Once she gives birth, all mothers who are breastfeeding spend the first full day with someone who will help guide them with proper position and latch techniques, whether it is observing the breast crawl and ensuring baby has a good latch, or helping them with different holds such as cross cradle or football hold, helping assist them if they have had a cesarean section, reviewing what they learned in breastfeeding class regarding normal newborn breastfeeding behavior.
Basically what I am advocating for is that no mom is left to fend for herself that very first day. Whether she gives birth in the hospital, or in a birth center or at home. No mother should spend the first 24 hours with a baby that is not latching on correctly or having less feeds than are normal.
Once everyone is assured that baby is breastfeeding well, mom should be followed up with at least three times the first week, with once being a check up at the babys drs office. her baby will have a weight check during that time to ensure the weight loss is within normal range and output and breastfeeding will be assessed.
Just like mothers choose a pediatrician or is assigned one from her insurance company, it would be great if she was able to choose or be assigned an IBCLC for at least the first two weeks of her babies life. I am convinced if we were able to follow each mom and baby pair closely for the first 2 weeks, the breastfeeding continuation rates would soar.
If a mom is followed from the first day on, it is likely that any breastfeeding issues that cause pain or low milk supply or poor baby weight gain, will be caught and rectified quickly, rather than go on for day and days, which result in too much of a weight loss and far too much breast and nipple pain for her to bare. We can prevent these things from even happening. And when breastfeeding is going well for a mom from the beginning, we can give her a high five. So glad things are going so well for you. You just had a great checkup.
We know that the biggest reasons moms discontinue breastfeeding are because they:
1. Breastfeeding is too painful to continue.
2. Babies are not latching on well and are spending time at the breast but not getting good milk transfer, so
3. Babies lose too much weight and moms are encouraged to supplement with formula
4. Mothers struggle with milk supply. There is a small, but significant number of mothers who have various health issues
5. that make it difficult for them to make enough milk for their baby.
6. However,a majority of the time, it is because of what I call breastfeeding mismanagement.
I make no judgements about any moms that discontinue under these circumstances. The system is failing them. When mothers struggle, their partners and family members also struggle.
When they are at their wits end watching their loved one suffer, they think they are helping by offering to feed the baby, suggesting she switch to formula.
I know that the federal government has the money to make this happen. Perhaps if we can convince them to earmark at least half of the money that is used to purchase formula, to follow breastfeeding mothers closely the first 2 weeks, well that would give us about a billion dollars to work with. The first 2 weeks are the hardest for breastfeeding moms and I am convinced this is where we can make the biggest difference.
I would love to hear your opinions on this subject.We can have a healthy dialogue going on in the Facebook Group. If you want to be a part of the conversation, come on and join the All About Breastfeeding Community Facebook page I know I sound like a broken record by telling you to put the word community in your search, but you just won’t get to us unless you do.
Next week I will get deeper into the top 5 reasons moms stop breastfeeding. I am going to go deeper into what I refer to as
breastfeeding mismanagement, go over a few case histories of moms that I have recently worked with, so you can have a deeper understanding of how this happens. I will, as always, make sure I change names, and ages, and location and family members, etc to protect moms anonymity.
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