Was Snooki Boobytrapped at St. Barnabas Hospital?

Written by Danielle and Bettina

Yesterday’s People magazine issue reveals that Nicole Polizzi is having trouble breastfeeding.  “At the hospital he was kind of latching on, but we decided to use formula because he wasn’t gaining enough weight.  But I’m pumping and I’m definitely going to try again, because now it’s squirting out.”

If you’ve been following Best for Babes and breastfeeding advocacy, you can probably guess what really happened to derail Snooki from breastfeeding (see the contest at the bottom at the post.)  You also know that only 6% of all hospitals in the United States follow the proper protocol for helping breastfeeding mothers.   St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ (near the tony surburbs Short Hills and Montclair) is NOT one of those hospitals.   Unfortunately, New Jersey already ranks highest in the country on unnecessary formula supplementation in the hospital, according to the 2012 CDC Report Card released in August . . . a whopping 35% of all NJ babies get formula in the first 2 days, and many are getting it against parental wishes.  We know that unnecessary formula supplementation is one of the leading causes of breastfeeding difficulty by interfering with the latch of the baby and the milk supply of the mother at a very critical juncture, when moms and babies are mastering the breastfeeding skill set.   Boobytrapping a mom in the hospital is like tripping a runner at the beginning of a race; you can still succeed, but you may have a long and painful game of catch up to play first.

If Snooki had given birth in the only designated Baby-Friendly Hospital in New Jersey, South Jersey’s Elmer hospital, she would undoubtedly be breastfeeding successfully now.  [Ed. Note: 84% of Elmer hospital babies are discharged exclusively breastfeeding, compared to 39% of St. Barnabas babies.]  Or, if Snooki had given birth in one of the 27 hospitals that are participating in Mayor Bloomberg’s Latch-on NYC initiative, we bet she would have had a much better experience.  (Perhaps New Jersey, true to Nicole’s “kind of latching” comment, should be called Latch-Off!)

So, dear readers who have been following our Motherlove sponsored series on Hospital Breastfeeding Booby Traps®, what do you think happened to Snooki?  Was she a victim of prenatal and hospital Booby Traps, or were healthcare providers afraid to coach and encourage a celebrity who has expressed being on the fence and even scared about breastfeeding, even though she tweeted that she “loved nursing” her baby shortly after the birth?   Tell us what you think was a likely scenario!   (Please keep your comments focused on the boobytraps, any comments that are excessively judgmental of Nicole Polizzi will be deleted.)

Win this beautiful bracelet!

Two winning comments posted by Wednesday, September 12th at 12 midnight will win the author a gorgeous Best for Babes Miracle Milk™ bracelet: 

1) Winner #1:  The best explanation of how Nicole Polizzi was probably booby-trapped

2)  Winner #2:  The most compelling encouragement to Nicole Polizzi to continue breastfeeding and to achieve her personal goals


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53 Comments | Last revised on 09/06/2012

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53 Responses to Was Snooki Boobytrapped at St. Barnabas Hospital?

  1. Andrea says:

    Sounds like the idea that if she didn’t have “enough” milk or he didn’t gain weight like a formula-fed baby does, she needed to supplement with formula was the culprit to me. Bet the hospital or doctor told her to supplement. My first didn’t latch or nurse for the first four days and I never supplemented. Pumped and dribbled milk a bit, but he soon gained…a pound a week once he got going. 🙂 No formula.

  2. Emily Sizer says:

    My son was born 4 weeks early and spent 18 days in the NICU. I tried to breastfeed him in the hospital on several occasions and he wasn’t very strong at latching. I pumped every 3 hours for those 18 days because I knew my milk was the best thing for him. When we were finally able to bring him home I was determined to make breastfeeding work. It took about a week with no bottles for him to realize the only way he was going to get his milk was from the breast and he’s been a successful breastfeeder for 9+ months! If I can get my son who had a bottle for 18 days to breastfeed, Snooki can do it too!

  3. Tyler says:

    It sounds to me like Snooki fell for the classic boobytrap “You better supplement or your baby will continue to lose weight”. Every new mother has been so conditioned to fear a drop in weight right after birth and many times low breastmilk supply is blamed. A drop in weight can be attributed to all the extra liquids leaving the babies body that it received via their mother’s IV during labor. Also it is important to remember that babies stomach is very tiny and only needs a little bit of colostrum in the beginning. A doctor telling a new mom that her baby is “losing weight” from lack of food is pretty scary and that mom could be easily influenced to supplement.

  4. Frieda says:

    Sounds like it just came from the whole “baby’s not gaining enough weight” thing. Supplementing instead of continuing to try is the downfall here, in my opinion.

  5. stacyG says:

    Poor Snooki. Obviously her pediatrician didn’t tell her (aka “doesn’t know”) that breastfeed babies are expected to lose 10% of birth weight (more if mom had IV or csection) and has 2-3 weeks to regain. And then came the presumption that her supply was low. 🙁 Next on her list of hurdles will be nipple confusion and flow preference.

  6. Heidi B. says:

    No doubt that Snooki was told her son lost too much weight and coukd not leave until he gained it back. When he didnt gain fast enough they blamed it on improper latch and advised her to give him formula, which of course, he gained the weight back on. Instead of helping her with proper latch they made her feel that her milk was not enough and formula was.
    Snooki. My son was under 5 lbs full term when I brought him home. We struggled biut I never gave up. At 4 weeks we ditched the formula and he breastfed unril he was 2. pleas meet with a LC to help get a proper latch so you can give your son the greatest gift but know that if you do not suceed it is ok and he will thrive.

  7. Niki says:

    Poor Snooki. I would imagine that she was unable to see a lactation consultant and that would be what she needed if the was kinda latching on. Formula fed babies get fed way too much especially in the first few days. The first day a baby’s belly is about the size of a marble I believe, very small. It is very normal for newborns to not only not gain weight but even lose a little before they go home since in the womb they are being fed constantly through the umbilical cord. Clearly she has enough milk if she is pumping just fine and milk is squirting out. I really hope she gets the help she needs to make her bfing work for her and her beautiful baby boy. He’s a cutie!

  8. Amy says:

    I think Snooki was definitely booby trapped. She said he wasn’t gaining enough weight, so they started supplementing in the hospital. Assuming she had a vaginal birth, her stay likely wouldn’t have been that long, meaning they didn’t give adequate time for her milk to come into feed the baby. Ive been there; I was told with my first that if he was a certain weight they would either supplement with forumla against my wishes, or admit him but discharge me, and I couldn’t stay with him. I asked for another doctor, who assured me that as long as i fed frequently, my milk would come in and he would gain his birth weight back in no tme. As labor and delivery professionals, hospital staff, both doctors and nurses alike, should be required to complete breastfeeding support training so these booby traps don’t happen. I hope Snooki is able to resume nursing her little guy, or at least feed her expressed milk. Good luck to her, and best wishes and congratulations, regardless of how he’s fed!

  9. J U D Y says:

    I feel like too many hospitals are all to quick to jump the gun with the whole formula issue! They prey on sleep deprived Moms who naturally want what is “best” for their little ones, by making false comments about not getting enough and they aren’t gaining weight! They should be ashamed of themselves! I had three children all who STRICKLY breastfed. It wasn’t always easy, but so worth the effort put in in the begining to master the skills, for both me and my little ones. Our Hospital was amazing and they worked with new Moms to help them master breastfeeding so you could go home being confident in what you were doing!

  10. Michelle Crawford says:

    I believe that the “is my baby getting enough” fear is what caused this derailment. No parent wants to be “starving” their child. I am not sure what her doctors told her about weight loss with newborns but they should have assured her that they are sure to lose some weight and most will have regained their birth weight by about two weeks.

    Congratulations for considering and trying breastfeeding! As mom of four, I understand how breastfeeding can be difficult the early days but trust me-it gets easier. In no time it will be second nature and you’ll wonder what did I do before I had this little baby? Don’t be afaid to ask for help and remember this time next year, you will have a walking, babbling toddler! Take this time and enjoy the bond only you can have with your baby. If you decide it’s not right for you, it’s easier to stop after two months than to wish you had ever started breastfeeding.

  11. kelly walker ibclc says:

    In those first few days, hours even, baby is learning to latch. Mom is slowly gaining confidence that her body will provide nourishment. Baby and mother content. Now..enter misinformed and unsupportive nurses. They note that the newborn has not gained (not taking into consideration the tiny portions a newborn needs) they put doubt into the mothers mind that perhaps she is not acrually providing the “best” for baby. They note that moms milk supply is not “In” yet, but doesn’t take the time to explain how milk supply is triggered by more nursing and no formula. They make mother self conscious and self doubting. Mother trusts the staff to advise what is best. Formula is fed to tiny baby..perhaps four or more ounces. Now his stomach is full and he lacks desire to nurse. Therefore..milk supply is delayed further. Mom has unknowingly fallen into booby trap number 1, and most common of all..”milk supply issues”.
    Nicole! It is not too late to breastfeed. Trust your body and recommit. Enjoy this quiet, restful time to bond with your precious little one. Don’t listen to people who try to sway you. You are the best, and only, person who can decide what works for you and your baby! Surround yourself with supportive people. It gets easier! This is a time of learning for both of you! Hang in there!

  12. Kellie says:

    If the actual BF doesnt seem to be like an option for you KEEP UP with the pumping!!!! I exclusively pump for my daughter who is 5 months old and she has NEVER had formula yet!! We tried breast feeding but it just didnt work for us. Bad latch and in my case I also have a 5 year old, a three year old and house construction going on so it was VERY difficult. The pumping made it so much easier and both baby and I were happier for it. It takes dedication and time to get into the rhythm of it but I pump every 4 hours and I (personally) feel that pumping was a better choice then formula and actually breast feeding. My baby gets the goodness from the breast milk and I can let other people feed her with the bottle, I can pump both sides in 20 min or less, I can pump in the car (probably not recommended but you gotta do what you gotta do), I can make a bottle and not worry that it will go bad in an hour if she doesn’t drink it all right away. What ever way you go as long as you give breastfeeding or pumping a thorough dedicated shot, no one can say anything. You are sort of an breastfeeding/pumping ambassador and you have a million plus mommies rooting for you to do your best!!! Good luck and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE reach out to breast feeding experts if you have any questions or concerns!! We all need to support each other!

  13. Jaimie Leader-Goodale says:

    My best guess is she was overloaded with fluids in prep for an epidural before the birth. Then after the birth, his latch wasn’t secure and so he wasn’t pulling quite as much as he should. The nurses then said “oh your milk isn’t in yet, you need to supplement because he’s losing too much weight” – likely because he was over loaded with fluids from the birth process. Thus propagating the myth that your milk has to come in right away to sufficiently feed the babe (as opposed to the appropriate meal sized colostrum) and starting a snow ball affect. 🙁 I really hope she can get him to latch again soon!

  14. I hate Booby Traps as much as the next person. But — for Snooki; for right now — I hope she will find an IBCLC to give her the help she needs to get the baby back to breast. There are almost a dozen IBCLCs within a 5 mile radius of her birthing hospital, who can help her out! http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432.

  15. Jaimie Leader-Goodale says:

    To Snooki: Never Give up! NEver surrender! In all honesty – this can be recovered from if you really want to. The choice is yours, and you are doing your best no matter your choice. Just remember there are people who are available to help you and want to see you succeed!

  16. Anna-Marie says:

    It’s sad that so many hospitals across the country are so quick to push formula when things aren’t “going to their standard.” Huge kudos to her for keeping at it with pumping and planning on getting baby back to breast though! I really hope that she is successful at nursing her little one. We really need more positive stories on breastfeeding out there. I know a lot of folks don’t like to view celebrities as role models, but that is a reality! We should be ready to embrace any positive publicity that nursing can get, especially when it comes from a younger crowd!

  17. MIssy says:

    I think she was!!!! The baby tummy is so little at birth and they do not eat a lot.Instead of someone taking time they gave a bottle to help its easier to do the formula and that is sad!! And I wonder if the nurse knew that you dont gain as much on breastmilk as you do formula bc u over feed them with formula and they spit it. I think its a very sad thing!!!!!

  18. Jessica Schuster says:

    In my experience, it seems that nurses and other providers scare new mothers into thinking that every baby is supposed to start gaining weight immediately without normalizing the initial loss of weight after birth. It is normal for a newborn to lose weight after birth, but I was never really told that. Mothers also expect their milk to come in full force immediately after birth, and our bodies just don’t work that way. I was lucky to have a mother who breast-fed for support when we had difficulties in the beginning. My advice: Snooki, just like you are learning to be a mom, your son is learning what life outside the womb is like. Be patient, and trust that you can do what your nature intended. Get help if you need it from an IBCLC. Don’t give up!

  19. Annette says:

    Sounds like it. I wonder where the “he wasn’t gaining enough weight” comment came from, nurse, pediatrician, lactation consultant? I also wonder if when she choose to breast feed if she was made aware of the fact that all breastfed babies lose weight in the first few days while mommies milk comes in and that it is absolutely normal and will gain all their birthweight back (and them some) as soon as mommies milk comes in. I also wonder if she was informed that while she was waiting on her milk to make it’s appearance that mommies colostrum was still providing all the important nutrients that baby needed and whether or not she was informed of how much “food” a tiny newborn actually needs. I also wonder if she was advised on the risks of formula feeding (not only health risks) but the effect it would have on her milk supply if she chose to try and breast feed again in the future and implications it would have with baby latching on again. Finally I wonder if she was given the option to seek a second opinion on her baby’s weight gain.

  20. kelli says:

    It sounds strikingly similar to what happens to many of my clients around here. They get told they either don’t have milk or don’t have enough in the first few days. Completely disregarding the fct that colostrum is just right and It’s common for babies to lose a little weight at first. then they come in at 3-4 days post partum wanting formula because the doctor convinced them they didn’t have enough milk and act shocked that “all of a sudden last night I started spraying milk everywhere”. It’s BASIC Breastfeeding education!

  21. chelley says:

    Well, I think the first thing we have to consider is the possibility that Lorenzo is an “imposter baby” – born just a little before his EDD, looks just like a full-term baby, but early enough to have feeding issues (especially staying awake at the breast). When he started falling asleep during nursing sessions, the solution was probably to give a bottle of formula. I think I read once he wasn’t due to early-mid September. Then again, celebrities will often overshoot their EDDs, just so the media leaves them alone. 😉 But, I do think that this is a contributing factor here. And we all know that most health care professionals don’t see any difference between a 38-weeker and a 40-weeker, but there really is – especially when it comes to nursing. So, there’s strike one.

    Secondly, reports are that she was in labor for over 24 hours. Which means she almost certainly was pumped full of IV fluids and pitocin, because hospitals start getting itchy when that baby doesn’t pop out by hour 12, and start in on the “help” to make labor progress faster. This means little Enzo’s birthweight was falsely inflated, and when he dropped all that excess water weight, he “lost” so much of his “birthweight” that they “had” to supplement, because he was obviously starving. (rolls eyes) What probably happened is that little Enzo’s smart body shed water weight and put him back to what SHOULD have been his real birthweight, but the nurses over-reacted. Strike two.

    A third booby-trap that is definitely more common with celebrities (I’m guessing, since I’m not actually a celeb myself, thankfully!) is the handling of the new mom with kid gloves. Health practitioners have become so afraid they are going to offend someone, that they aren’t telling their patients what they need to hear! Personally, I find this a bit offensive. I’m a mom, not an idiot, and I can handle the truth. I can only imagine how magnified that is for celebrities that they don’t want to tick off. Strike three.

    I don’t know this for sure, but given Nicole’s prenatal apprehension about breastfeeding, a logical guess is that neither her mother nor any of her friends have breastfed. I’m also pretty sure, given the behavior displayed by said friends on these reality shows, that they have plenty of negative commentary about breastfeeding. Strike four.

    There are probably some other factors that we are not privy to. However, if I had to guess, making conclusions from what’s been in the media, I’d say that those four issues are certainly big booby traps that unfortunately Nicole has to navigate.

    If I could tell her anything, it would be to say “keep fighting!” I had a horrendous birth experience with my first, and breastfeeding for the first 3 months was fraught with problems. But, if you can fight through that initial period, it becomes SO much easier and such a wonderful thing that you and your baby share. It IS worth it. I went on to feed that baby for a year and a half, and when I had my second, it was pretty easy sailing (and I’m still nursing that little one at 17 months). Nicole is doing the best thing in the world for her son right now, and I really hope she gets the encouragement and support needed to continue their nursing relationship for a long time. Hey, maybe she should call Kourtney Kardashian! I have no idea if they are friends, just thought it might be a good idea to reach out to someone else that uniquely understands the position she is in. 🙂 Having a mom friend that understands what you are going through and has been through some of those same things herself? Priceless!

  22. Tara says:

    When nurses and doctors tell exhausted new moms that their baby “isn’t gaining enough” it is scary to hear because of course moms want to do best by their baby and make sure that they are as healthy as possible! This is also what happened to me (thankfully we overcame this and are still nursing into toddlerhood). While I was angry at my nurse for a long time for not knowing better and making me feel pressured to supplement, now I look back and I’m more frustrated with myself for not knowing better. I feel like there are so many booby traps that ultimately result in formula supplementation in those very early days… lack of discussion and education on breastfeeding, the thought that ‘breastfeeding is natural therefore easy so I don’t have to read and learn much about it ahead of time’, trusting health professionals to know best, etc. etc…

    I hope Snooki has a good breastfeeding support person and she is successful in nursing her little guy to whatever goal she has in mind. The more celebrity faces we have on breastfeeding the more normal it will hopefully become.

  23. msav says:

    This happened to me! Baby wasn’t latching right away and they wanted me to supplement but I said NO WAY. I hand expressed onto a spoon and spoon fed my baby colostrum. When we got home, it took a few days for my milk to come in so my baby lost weight, but I still kept at it KNOWING that a baby losing weight the first week is normal. I offered her the breast every 2 hours and she started latching by day 2. It was painful, but we kept going! She gained all her weight back by two weeks. We kept going with out formula and ALL WAS GOOD! There are exceptions if your baby is seriously failing to thrive and such. BUT- if your baby is in good health, then I would ditch the formula and offer the breast around the clock. Skin to Skin and constant nursing is what I did with my babe for her first 2 months. She’s a chunk, too! You can do this, too! It’s such a wonderful experience and the bond is incredible. NOT TO MENTION, the amazing nutrition you are providing for your baby. You definitely have good supply, so take advantage of it! You will be an inspiration to all future mamas out there. We need to get back to breastfeeding our children, and you can help! Please don’t quit on yourself or your babe. Breastmilk has everything your baby needs, decreases chances of illnesses such as obesity and ear infections. The list of benefits is incredible and far too long for me to type. Keep at it!! -Sincerely, a mama who can relate to your situation and totally believes in you.

  24. Kathryn says:

    I bet he lost the water weight due to IV fluids which led them to reccommend supplementing. She probably did not have friends/family with experience to help her push back against that policy.

    She should keep on. It’s healthy for her and the baby and a great bonding experience. One little setback doesn’t mean she’s a failure at breastfeeding. She could be a great role mOdel to other NJ moms. Seeing other people succeed (especially with a stumble) is such a great encouragement for others. Also she can use her status to educate about hospital supplementation.

  25. Catrina says:

    Since when do babies gain weight in the hospital? I thought it was typical of them to lose weight prior to gaining. Sounds like the work of uneducated nurses, once again. How exactly do these people become neonatal nurses anyways? They don’t even have a basic knowledge of how babies are biologically programmed to thrive.

  26. Katherine says:

    I’m confused by the statement that her son “wasn’t gaining enough weight” at the hospital. How long was she hospitalized?!? Newborn babies aren’t supposed to gain weight right away. They initially lose weight, for 2-3 days, until the milk comes in, then start gaining it back. Most are at birth-weight plus a little by day 7-10.

    Was she really in the hospital that long?

    It also sounds like a good lactation-consultant could be some help,with fine-tuning the latch. My son was born with a recessed lower jaw that made latching difficult, but a little expert help was able to fix. By the time my daughter was born, I thought I had it all down, but we had some different latch-issues. Still, my LC was able to get us sorted out quickly, and things were easier for both of us.

  27. Margaret pellegrino says:

    My best guess is about the “gaining enough weight” comment. I’m not sure about the details of the birth but if she was provided IV fluids then that makes a baby’s birth weight higher from all of the fluids. The baby then could’ve appeared to have lost a lot more weight because of lost water weight. It would’ve appeared to take longer to gain back that weight as well. The doctor who said that the baby wasn’t gaining enough weight fast enough could hve web using a formula fed growth chart rather than the recommended WHO growth chart for breastfed babies. Another culprit could be the hospital not providing enough services, or trying hard enough, to help her with the baby’s latch. If the baby wasn’t latched properly then he could have not been withdrawing the milk efficiently and truly not been gaining weight. If the latched was assessed properly and corrected then the weight gain shouldn’t have been an issue. Supply doesn’t seem to be an issue because she is still able to pump. If a doctor or nurse said she had supply problems within the first week then that’s a boobytrap as well. Her milk wouldn’t have come in yet and no one knew that colostrum was enough for the first few days on its own. These are my three major boobytraps that I saw immediately! All could have been corrected with the right support and information. Shame on them but I hope she is able to get back to exclusively breastfeeding.

  28. Becky says:

    It could have started in labor. If she had routine IV fluids, especially with an epidural as so much fluid is pumped into the mom, there is a kind of forced engorgement. This prevents baby from latching well until the fluids flush from body after a couple of days. Nurses are rarely aware of this. Very few nurses have any trainig in lactation. So we have early engorgement, a nurse who doesn’t have the ability to instruct, sa mom who doesn’t know t ask for an LC. Then baby was probably circumcised which can make babies very sleepy for up to three days. An outrageously dumb policy some hospitals have about babies not gaining in the hospital or even a ped who is just as out dated about baby weights as they pertain to the differences between Breast and Formula fed babies.. A possible incentive program for nurses to hand out formula from the companies, the teaching that most mom’s can’t produce enough, the teaching that formula is seccond best, and that babies “need” formula to prevent low bloodsugars, and last but not least, the teaching that BF and FF babies eat, grow, and behave like FF babies so that moms are feeding on a schedule and not on demand.

  29. Becky says:

    I was speaking of the mom being engorged, but I believe that the person above was correct about baby being full of fluid too.

  30. Rebecca Hohenberger says:

    My daugther was born at 36 weeks and came home after day 3 but was sent to the NICU of Akron Children’s Hospital on day 5 because her bilirubin level was 18.4. We spent 13 days in the NICU with me pumping every 3 hours. She was getting tube fed my milk, and we alternated breastfeeding with bottle feeding and tube feeding. I called on the lactation consultant numerous times while in the hospital, and also made visits to the one at the hospital I delivered at almost weekly for several months. I had a La Leche League leader come to my house and joined the local LLL chapter, attending meetings frequently. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it comes naturally… BUT… it can be done, and is totally worth it. Still nursing my 17 month old today. We’re rooting for Snooki and her darling little boy!!!

  31. Erin Cooper says:

    As a Post-Partum RN, I can’t even begin to pick one explanation for Nicole’s dilemna at the hospital. I face so many challenges as a completely pro-breastfeeding RN, as I am met frequently with patients, patients families, and other nurses who are quick to give up and supplement with formula. I work very hard to make sure my patient is latching, positioning and breastfeeding well. I work very hard to educate patients so that they know that any decision regarding supplementation can hinder their breastfeeding and that they do, in fact, have enough colostrum to tide the baby over until the actual milk comes in.
    While I really can’t, as I said, begin to pick one reason for the supplementation, I can guess at a few.
    My experience has been that most patients that do end up acquiring formula, request it. I do not want to say this was the case here, it remains the number one problem for me with my patients. If a patient requests formula because they believe there isn’t enough weight gain, I exhaust every other resource first. Even then, I do not give formula unless it is absolutely warranted… Often times I am met by other nurses on other shifts who are not as committed and I find formula was given while I was not there.
    When it comes to weight loss, there are very specific guidelines. If a baby is an “imposter” baby (over 36 weeks, but under 40) and is not going to nurse well or is just not nursing well, it is imperative that the patient begin pumping and manually extracting milk as soon as possible. The baby can be given breastmilk via a syringe or a spoon or even via a Supplemental Nursing System, in order to continue success with breastfeeding. This, unfortunately, is not always what happens. It is easier for formula to be given via a bottle than to take all these courses of action. When a baby does reach a 10% weight loss it becomes critical to find some way to get the baby to eat, but this does not mean it is absolutely necessary to give formula, as some may suspect. Nurses and MD’s are not always equipped with the time or resources to follow these paths and formula becomes the inevitable result.
    Frequently I find issues with families and patients themselves, who to no fault of their own, request formula. This can because they do not physically see “milk” and believe they are not making enough or it could be because the baby is crying a lot. Patients families are not always educated along with the patient and they will encourage formula as well. What most new parents don’t realize is that they have plenty of colostrum to tide the baby over, that some amount of weight loss is absolutely normal, and that babies have just been through a lot and they do cry. Patients deserve education, education, education, but sometimes they are either not given that luxury or despite any amount of education, they continue to disregard and they request supplementation. It is the nurses job to try and get the patient to change this decision, but in a “client based” market, it can be very difficult to not grant this request. I find this is my number one “booby-trap”. After hours of help and education, patients will request formula and the nurse is then in her own trap.
    My advice for Nicole is quite simple. Stop giving formula or any bottle. There are so many other ways to get the baby to eat breastmilk that there is no need to continue. If she is serious about breastfeeding success, she needs to speak with a lactation consultant, continue to pump, and to feed the baby only breastmilk. She can do as I suggested and use a syringe, a spoon, an SNS system in addition to getting that baby to the breast every 2-3 hours. Count wet and dirty diapers as it comforts parents to know that, despite babies behavior or a parents thought that the baby isn’t getting enough, the baby is having the correct amount of diapers. Keep a journal of feedings and just keep an eye on everything. Make sure that your little one is getting plenty of skin to skin and snuggle time, it will help with any crying. Make sure that all of his other needs are met if he is fussy so that you know for sure he is in fact hungry. Look for early hunger cues so that he is calm enough to latch on. Once latched on, massage your breast downward and pull his chin down in order to help with the amount of milk he is getting. If your “let down” is intense, let it flow into a cloth diaper and then try and put him back on, it can be overwhelming. If he falls asleep at the breast and doesn’t finish a feeding, rub his sternum or feet (never his cheek) in order to wake him up to complete it. Feed him when he is hungry, not by the clock. Always always give the breast first, try for 20-30 minutes and then try an alternative to getting him on the breast (like SNS or a syringe). Pump only after you have offered the breast.
    Do not give up! Have your man help with feedings, have a family member help with feedings, call a lactation consultant. Make sure you have gone to the bathroom, gotten some water, something to eat, so that you can finish the feeding without having to get up.
    Just keep it up! Nicole sounds very devoted to getting him to breastfeed and if this is the case she needs to know that she just needs to keep going. Just stop the formula and the bottle so that he has no choice but to take the breast or the syringe or…
    Nicole: You have as long of a road as you let it! He will eat and he will do it the way you want him to, but you must keep going with the breastfeeding. You will do it!! You are a strong and beautiful woman, I have no doubt that you can do this!!!

  32. Britany says:

    Snooki, like most moms, only wants what’s best for her baby. Doctors and other healthcare providers often use that maternal desire to bully mothers into something that the dr prefers. No mother wants her baby to go hungry and doctors are comforted by numbers. If a doctor knows exactly how many ounces a baby has eaten they are not as concerned about a drop in weight. My daughter was not back to birth weight by 2 weeks old and I was terrified that her pediatrician was going to tell me to supplement. Fortunately, she encouraged my nursing, told me I was doing a great job and that my baby was very healthy. She also stated that we should keep an eye on my daughters weight and should it continue to drop, then be concerned. I am proud to say that she is now 13 months old and we are still breastfeeding.

    My advice: Snooki, breastfeeding is hard work, when you are first starting out, and without the right support it’s easy to give up. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and want to help you succeed. If YOU don’t want to breastfeed then that is your choice, but that is ONLY YOUR choice. Don’t let anyone else make it for you. If you hang in there, it will get better! And once your baby is a toddler and never wants to snuggle or sit with you, you’ll appreciate those quiet nursing moments even more!

  33. Kristin says:

    “At the hospital he was kind of latching on, but we decided to use formula because he wasn’t gaining enough weight” First things first, it is expected and NORMAL for a breastfed baby to not only “not gain enough weight” those first few days in the hospital but to LOSE weight, especially if mom received an IV during labor than can cause not only mom but baby to have a little extra water weight when baby is born. There is no mention of whether or not she received help from a lactation consultant but one should have gone to work with Snooki and make sure baby was indeed latching correctly and explain that it is normal for babies to lose weight those first few days. A lot is going on as a new mom and we tend to rely on the doctors and nurses for information about our lo’s well-being and sadly, not many doctors and nurses have proper training when it comes to breastfeeding and not only do they not know correct information, they believe all sorts of breastfeeding myths that they pass on to their patients. I am glad to read that Snooki is still pumping and hope that she is able to get the help she needs to be able to successfully breastfeed her lo. It is good to see famous women open up about breastfeeding, but at the same time when they are hurt by the breastfeeding myths it can help to spread those myths on to other moms.

  34. Amy Clark says:

    There were probably several factors at play here. Number One, she started out delivering at a non-breastfeeding hospital. Number Two, she is a first time mom and uncertain as to how to nurse. Number Three, she was not sure she wanted to or could successfully breastfeed. Number Four, babies typically lose a few ounces within their first few days — this is excess fluid and perfectly normal — and that is nothing to fret over, certainly not anything to supplement for! But hospitals and hospital staff generally push formula if there is ANY uncertainty or difficulty in breastfeeding, rather than send in qualified lactation consultants to help. It is easier, cheaper and faster for the staff and hospital, and they are readily supplied with formula by the formula manufacturers and trained by their management to do so. Snookie is a young and relatively uneducated first time mother, which places her into a precarious nursing position right off the bat. To fail to give her the encouragement and training she needs to successfully breastfeed is a sad but common mistake on the part of the hospital; if she had been fully committed to breastfeeding though, she should have taken lactation classes/instruction or at least studied the process in depth to improve chances of success. Any time you introduce ANY supplement, particularly in the first weeks — but especially in those vital first days — you are totally compromising the breastfeeding relationship and setting yourself up to fail.

  35. Rachel says:

    Everyone who births should have a doula/LC combo, like my amazing team from Nourishing Wisdom. They helped me figure out hurdles before we gave birth, they stayed with me and helped my daughter and me establish breastfeeding right after she was born, and stayed in touch encouraging me through a hospital stay for jaundice, where the hospital was pushing hard for me to give her formula. And then when we came home, they checked in to make sure she was still BFing like a champ. Even at the hospital, people I assumed I was a second time mom, because I had my BFing skills down, thanks to these awesome ladies! http://nourishingwisdomservices.com

    My daughter and I are at 10 months, going strong. She is at the top of her class in terms of weight and height and meeting all her milestones early (she is already walking!). And she is a wonderful, happy, healthy baby. That is probably the best reason Snooki should continue to try to BF (and should get an IBCLC to come help her figure out the “pitfalls” or “teatfalls” as it were.

    But the second big reason, for our favorite meatball to keep BFing is that nothing quiets a crying baby like getting boobed!

    Hang in there Snooks! You can do it!

    ::fistpumps and breastpumps::

  36. This article is full of inacurate information. I am a Doula and I work primarily with St. Barnabus hospital. Breast feeding is more than encouraged at St. Barnabus. The hospital does not give formula to babies unless parents request this and no one gets sent home sample formula because of the hospital’s commitment to breastfeeding. There is an excellent staff of lactation consusltants and I am sure they would help her privately if she really wanted to breastfeed. Shame on People for this article.

    • Bettina Forbes, CLC says:

      Thanks for your comment Catherine, and kudos for being a doula and helping moms and babies! Why do you think St. Barnabas has such a low rate of breastfeeding at discharge compared to other hospitals in New Jersey, and scores below average on the breastfeeding index? Would love your insight.

    • Suzy says:

      The same can be said about the hospital I delivered in, and actually was said to me by several friends who delivered there. I, however, had a completely different experience, and was booby trapped many times, in several different ways. So go figure. It’s definitely possible for people to have different experiences, especially if they didn’t have a doula or other person there to advocate for them.

      • Erin says:

        i just wanted to say that this is very similar to where I’m an RN. I do not give formuka unless parents request it. I work so hard to get them to not take it! Sometimes, tgetes nothibg you can do to convince a parent it isn’t necessary and that is the honest truth. It is the number one problem.

  37. Suzy says:

    Actually, Elmer Hospital isn’t the ONLY baby-friendly hospital in New Jersey – Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell, NJ recently received their baby-friendly designation.


  38. Nancy Kleinfeld says:

    Follow Liz Brook’s advice. Get yourself an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Get that baby latched and milk drunk. Show America what you’ve got and what you are made of. Lead by example. Becoming a mother does change us and breastfeeding changes babies.

  39. Michelle Ramos says:

    She was likely intimidated by nursing staff, as I was when I had my first child. They threatened to take him away to NICU and give him bottles themselves if I refused to do it. So I nursed and supplemented. They made sure I left with lots of formula, ready to go. When I got home, I bagged it and donated it to charity, determined to nurse exclusively. That child nursed until he was almost 4.

  40. Addison Kat says:

    Snookie probably was booby trapped at the hospital mainly because she had no idea what she was doing and no one was around to help guide her. Although there was probably a lactation consultant on staff at the time, they don’t automatically come and see you unless you ask. And even then, they come if time allows. I gave birth over the weekend the lactation consultant at the hospital I was at didn’t come in over the weekend and I didn’t see her until a week later when I came back for an appointment I made with her. My milk didn’t come in right away and I was worried that my daughter wasn’t getting enough to eat. Luckily this wasn’t my first and I had great nursing experiences with my previous two and I stuck with it. Now I have a healthy 2 month old who weighs in at a whopping 16 lbs and 1 oz! If you want to do it, just stick with it and don’t give up and surround yourself with people who are supportive of your breastfeeding goals.

  41. Melissa says:

    I wonder if Nicole’s experience was similar to mine. I was very stressed and worried that my baby wasn’t getting any food. My milk hadn’t come in and he was crying. A nurse was standing there with a bottle in hand, she and my husband were telling me to give it to him.

    I caved and fed him the formula and my son settled in to sleep. I felt a keen sense of failure. Soon my son had a horribly stinky formula poop much worse than the breast-fed poops he’d had earlier. I realized that his body responded much better to my breastmilk.

    I resolutely rejected further requests to give him formula and decided to keep trying to breastfeed until we were both happy. It took some determination and tears. But I breastfed my son until he was 2 and 1/2. You can do it Nicole. Don’t give up! My healthy boy never had an ear infection or needed antibiotics. I loved our sweet cuddly nurse-y naps. Breastfeeding for the first time can be challenging, but set your mind to it and revel in the rewards!

  42. Erin says:

    I never saw a follow-up. What happened and who won?

  43. Susan says:

    Everyone has offered excellent advice and information about getting breastfeeding off to a good start while in the hospital. However, the initial posting for this whole blog is based on ASSUMPTIONS! Best for Babes picked out one line from a People’s article and ran with it. No one knows anything about what REALLY happened in this hospital because of HIPAA and Snookie’s right to privacy. You do not know how she was treated and how much attention she received – celebrity or not – how much she did (or did not) work with a lactation consultant, if there were any issues surrounding this baby’s birth, how big or early he might have been, what the initial reason was for suggesting that she pump (was it to protect the establishment of her supply if he was having difficulty latching?), what does “using formula” mean to Snookie as compared to how a breastfeeding supportive nurse or doctor might interpret it, and so on. There are just way too many questions for anyone to jump to conclusions on this situation and pass judgment this particular hospital!

    Lastly, because New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health is strongly supporting the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, many hospitals in this state are in the process of working towards achieving this status….including Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Because the process is a long and exacting one, those hospitals in the state that are in the middle of this process should not be labeled “breastfeeding unsupportive” and uniformly condemned – they are all trying and learning!

    Best for Babes – try to be a bit more responsible in your reporting and to not blindly denounce people or places when you lack most of the pertinent information! Media in general already has a bad rap for giving half-truths and twisting information. Do not join their ranks!

    • Bettina Forbes, CLC says:

      Thank you for your feedback. This blog post was an opportunity to generate awareness about Booby Traps and the benefit of Baby-Friendly hospitals. Rest assured that when St. Barnabas achieves BFHI status, Best for Babes will be glad to toot their horn and spread the word!

  44. Rae Hatten says:

    How she was Booby-Trapped: While weight loss can become concerning, were factors such as IV fluids during labor taken into account? Was it legitimately a concerning amount of weight, or was the staff inadvertently using scare tactics and catastrophic reasoning to push formula? If there was no one there (such as a doula or IBCLC) to advocate for the exhausted, fresh new mother, there was little chance for her to stand up to the “professionals”.

    Snooki: Do not become discouraged! It may take some work, and some time, but you and your son can become a successful breasfeeding dyad! Don’t look back. Only look forward. You have a huge community behind you, rooting for you and supporting you!

    • patricia says:

      Nadine Vaccarino was the lactation consultant who worked tirelessly with Snooki. Was even on the episode that aired. The ditzy woman on the TV, and the very smart woman in the hospital bed are 2 entirely different people. This smart cookie knows exactly what she is doing. Her stupid questions about chocolate breast milk, were planned off camera.
      And If I was to choose a hospital to deliver in, I too would choose SBMC, one with a top NICU if God forbid there was a problem. How many deliveries does Elmer’s hospital have compared to SBMC? I am sure with her second child, she will return to SBMC. And SBMC has been a part of the How many deliveries does this Baby friendly Initiative, and doesn’t have formula available. Mothers have brought their own. Only the NICU has the higher calorie formulas available. There are no coupons, no gift packs, no gift bags. Those were discontinued when they stopped carrying the formula from Ross.

  45. patricia says:

    Nadine Vaccarino was the lactation consultant who worked tirelessly with Snooki. Was even on the episode that aired. The ditzy woman on the TV, and the very smart woman in the hospital bed are 2 entirely different people. This smart cookie knows exactly what she is doing. Her stupid questions about chocolate breast milk, were planned off camera.
    And If I was to choose a hospital to deliver in, I too would choose SBMC, one with a top NICU if God forbid there was a problem. How many deliveries does Elmer’s hospital have compared to SBMC? I am sure with her second child, she will return to SBMC. And SBMC has been a part of the Baby friendly Initiative, and doesn’t have formula available. Mothers have brought their own. Only the NICU has the higher calorie formulas available. There are no coupons, no gift packs, no gift bags. Those were discontinued when they stopped carrying the formula from Ross.

  46. Lynn says:

    It’s very easy for all of you to comment on this.. With your personal opinions and experiences BUT no one was there with her. Perhaps the nurses DID support and encourage her journey to successfully breastfeed and perhaps there was a MEDICAL reason to supplement that her pediatrician ordered. Don’t judge until you know the facts! Careful who you judge and bash. They might be YOUR nurse one day!

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