Saturday, April 20, 2013

How to Know if Your Baby's Doctor is Breastfeeding Friendly

This week the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine released a revised protocol  for Breastfeeding Friendly Physicians Offices.  This document offers physicians 19 suggestions that they can implement to ensure that their practice is breastfeeding friendly. Many of the physicians in the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine are also International Board Certified Lactation Consultants

I asked a colleague who happens to be a pediatrician as well as a lactation consultant to pen a guest blog  on this topic. The ABM protocol is great, but it's really written specifically for physicians, not for moms. I thought it would be good for our moms to know what to look for when they are doctor shopping!

Wish List for a Breastfeeding Friendly Doctor

by Traci Lynne Brewer, MD, IBCLC

Dr. Traci Lynne Brewer with her
husband and new baby.
I'm a  homeschooling, stay at home mom, living in Central Asia, pregnant with my third child at 40.  What an interesting turn of events for a pediatrician and lactation consultant born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama.    But, I can't think of a better situation for my family right now. 

In light of my eminent delivery I have been asked to describe my wish list for a breastfeeding friendly doctor for my daughter, due any day now.

Here goes:

Wish #1:  The doctor will want to see me and my daughter 48 hours after discharge from the hospital.  Sure, it's a pain to get the baby and the gear loaded up and make an appointment on little to no sleep, but breastfeeding issues identified early are easier to work on than problems that can develop by 2 weeks of age.

Wish #2:  If my daughter has jaundice, I want breastfeeding to be given a chance.  An elevated bilirubin is not an automatic indication for formula feeding.

Wish #3:  If I encounter a breastfeeding issue that requires more specific knowledge or time than my doctor has, I want to be referred to a board certified lactation consultant.  Evaluations for lactation issues take time, something that doctors frequently lack, even if they are comfortable with breastfeeding advice.  This includes recommendations on how to return to work while continuing to breastfeed.   While I'm wishing, I'll wish for a lactation consultant working in the doctor's office.

Wish # 4:  I would like a doctor that doesn't put a endpoint on breastfeeding.  Finding support for breastfeeding past a year can be difficult.  Wouldn't it be great to have the doctor on your side?

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