This is the 46th post in a series on Booby Traps, made possible by the generous support of Motherlove Herbal Company.
I’ve been writing for several months about Booby Traps moms experience in the hospital. To wrap up this section, I’ve compiled a checklist to help you avoid these Booby Traps. I wrote a similar checklist for avoiding prenatal Booby Traps.
This list is based on a lot of research drawing connections between specific hospital practices and breastfeeding outcomes. Of course, if you are lucky to be near one of the only 4% of U.S. hospitals or maternity centers that have achieved Baby-Friendly Hospital designation (BFHI), you can rest assured that proper protocol to help moms and babies is already being followed. For the rest of you, we hope it’ll help you have a Booby Trap-free hospital stay!
To avoid the Booby Traps, make it clear that you want to:
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth, whether you birth vaginally or by cesarean section (including in the operating room), and allow the baby sufficient time to self-attach to the breast if possible.
- Delay umbilical cord clamping until after it stops pulsating.
- Not have your baby suctioned unless medically necessary.
- Initiate breastfeeding in the first hour (during immediate post-birth skin-to-skin session, if possible).
- Delay all newborn procedures until after the first feeding, and that you would like to have them done while you hold the baby.
- Room in with your baby, and not have your baby taken to the nursery unless medically necessary.
- Not have your baby supplemented with formula unless medically necessary, and that it must be approved by you or your partner.
- Delay your baby’s bath in favor of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin time during at least the first day.
- Not have your baby given a pacifier or bottle, whether you’re separated or not.
- Not have your baby screened for low blood sugar unless medically necessary.
- Get expert help with latch and positioning from staff who have current and regularly updated training in breastfeeding, in order to minimize inconsistent advice.
- Have access to an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
- For preterm and sick babies, to avoid the many Booby Traps found in the NICU.
- For twins (or more), to avoid the many Booby Traps faced by moms of multiples.
- Limit staff and visitors to a number that allows you to focus on your baby and getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Bring a sign to hang on your door.
- Not be given a formula “gift bag” when you leave the hospital.
- Get referrals to breastfeeding support resources in your community.
If this seems like a lot for mothers to do, consider asking your local breastfeeding support groups, breastfeeding coalitions, and mom groups to help you ask your hospital to begin the process of becoming a Baby-Friendly Designated Hospital. You and your baby deserve to have proper breastfeeding protocol be the standard of care!
Did you follow a checklist like this? Any suggestions for improving it?