Today marks the 8wk anniversary of my breastfeeding adventure with Lexie.
Here I will share our story from the beginning and hopefully come back and update over the course of the next few months.
I had planned to begin nursing Alexis immediately in the hospital, BUT…………..
…the nurses and doctor totally freaked out on me.
I tried to reason, to refer to medical data, and assure them that I did not require any assistance or time commitment from them. But it was just too much for their textbook minds to handle.
Warning! What follows is rather long winded nursery/doctor drama, and umm..........well, my own personal rant. So if you like you can skip on down to the bottom where I actually start the story of breastfeeding Lexie, feel free. :-)
The head nurse, coincidentally Lexie’s assigned nurse, was horrified when I explained that I was prepared to breastfeed Alexis using a supplemental feeding system. Her words were, “Oh, we COULDN’T let you do THAT! You would be putting the baby to your ACTUAL BREAST, and she isn’t yours.” Stutter. “I mean, she is ….uh…. under the attorney right now and you don’t even have guardianship papers yet.
Truly, I nearly laughed out loud it was so absurd, “actual breast?”
Nah, I figured I would use these fake boobs until all the paperwork is through. LOL!
D told me later that he bit his tongue to keep from saying, “Why yes, didn’t you know this was a new form of sexual assault, putting a newborn to a naked breast.” :-)
Why couldn’t I just be normal and give her a bottle like everyone else?
“After all formulas are so good today that it really isn’t much different than breastmilk and it is completely a matter of personal preference.” (These are the actual words that I overheard from a nurse to a new mother who was asking about breastfeeding.)
Can she really mean the stuff that lines the supermarket shelves? That formula is based on Chinese powdered milk and corn syrup or sucrose (white table sugar). Need I mention all the recalls? Similacs most recent contamination recall was just before Lexie was born. Comforting, isn’t it? Have you ever had your breastmilk recalled? :-) Oh, but it is all the same. Sure it is. (NOT)
Anyway, back to this nurse, (still need to go back and review her on Angie’s List, she was ….well, let’s just say, “Not a good experience, I could say ever so much more about her, but let's just say she needs another job badly”.)
She (the nurse, that is) proceeded to explain that I would have to have consent from the attorney before they could allow me to do THAT.
This was meant as staling agent because it was the weekend and she assumed that I couldn’t possibly get a hold of the attorney until Monday.
I took it as a valid piece of legal red tape, just something to be untangled. I dialed the para-legal and in five minutes, with the nursing standing right there, had gotten verbal consent. Oh,that wasn’t enough SHE had to speak to them herself. I made a move to pass the cell phone, but the nurse held up her hand, and said, “ Oh no, I can’t take consent on a cell phone, they would have to call the nurses line.” (Seriously?) “But”, she continued, “I have to feed another baby, so I can’t take that call until after 12, and they would also have to fax in written consent. “ I dutifully relayed this info and hung up.
I am starting to get the picture. These people REALLY don’t want me to breastfeed this baby. Noon arrives, everything falls into place with consent from the attorney.
Ah but no, the doctor would also have to give consent. So I stayed on in the nursery awaiting the advent of the all powerful doctor person.
Now the nurses begin to suggest attractions in the area, and places to eat
Do you think they wanted me to leave?
I certainly am not about to miss THE DOCTOR?
Just before the doctor arrives, the nurse comes to me to explain that when the doctor arrives I will have to leave the nursery because each of the babies in care need to be discussed with the nurse in charge of them and this is private information and they can’t have ME in there while they are doing this.
I smile (hopefully sweetly, because I am now getting annoyed) and state that I will stay with Lexie until I need to leave but request to see the doctor before he finishes duty on the floor. She says, “Yes, yes of course.”
In walk two different sets of parents to sit with their littles, and a minute later THE DOCTOR arrives. I wait to be asked to leave because I have a suspicion. Which is confirmed, the nurses have a problem, because all the other “NORMAL” parents can’t be asked to leave and this puts them in a a hard spot because it will look very bad to ask me this strange anomaly adoptive parent to leave. Forty five minutes later all the other babies on all sides, before and behind have been seen, and a whispered nurse/ doctor confab has been had at the far side of the nursery.
Finally, it is Alexis turn to be seen and charted. I wait and then just as doctor turns to leave I say, in my sweetest voice, “I have a couple of questions, if you have a moment.” She (lady doctor) turns around and asks, “Oh, what would you like to know about the baby?”
“Actually, I just wanted to discuss breastfeeding with you. The nurse stated that I would need your consent to breastfeed Alexis.
Doctor crosses her arms, and frowns and says, “We don’t do that sort of thing, here.”
I push onward.
“ I am aware this is not standard procedure, and I will not require any assistance from the nurses. I have the supplemental feeding system that would be necessary for this and am prepared to use it. You will be able to monitor exactly how much she is receiving; all I am requesting is your consent.”
With a toss of her head, she says, “Why would you want to do THAT? You don’t even HAVE any MILK.”
Swallowing my offence, I refer to medical data concerning bonding, and skin to skin contact. I appeal to her doctor knowledge saying that I am sure she has read the studies on these issues.
She grudgingly said that she is aware of these studies but she doesn’t think that it indicates breastfeeding. Close contact is all that is necessary. After a lot of other blah,blah, blah, about good formulas and the fact that I “might confuse the baby, which would make it take longer till they could release her , and certainly I wouldn’t want that” She ended by saying, “I can’t control what you do when you leave here, but while you are here in this nursery you WILL NOT be doing THAT.” (THAT being the unspeakable freak show of adoptive nursing). And then she left, stalked out really.
I was so upset, and had tried so hard the entire time to “hold it together” and be self-controlled and level headed. I walked out into the parking lot and in tears called dh to come and get me. While I waited for him I vented on my dear friend, Laura. Thanks, girlfriend!
Later dh told me that I should have just broken down in there and cried and said, “Why is it so unreasonable to want to nurse a baby?” Maybe it would have softened her a bit.
But I didn’t do this because, first of all I don’t cry very easily and second of all not in public, and certainly not when I am trying to be diplomatic and reason with someone.