(I originally wrote this blog for Orgasmic Birth June 2012)
Lately I have been hearing so many success stories about Baby Friendly Hospitals providing optimal motherbaby care following cesarean surgery. Just last night I heard a success story about Mountainside Hospital in Montclair NJ.
Last fall I had the privilege of attending seminar led by Dr. Nils Bergman's Skin-to-Skin, It's What's in . . . the Evidence, the Research and the Literature at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital's 7th Annual Breastfeeding Conference at the New Jersey Hospital Association in Princeton and witnessed this shift starting to take place.
Dr. Nils Bergman spent about 7 hours working on convincing a room full of birth professionals of the many things of and related to skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and the "buffering protection of adult support" required for the baby to go thru its "needed neural processes" and develop properly in a safe, warm, reassuring environment - in the light of the mother's body. It was almost comedic- here was Dr. Bergman speaking to a room full of 80% nurses with a sprinkling of doctors, midwives, lactation consultants, and doulas trying to convince us here in NJ, a state with one of the highest cesarean rates, that their was actually no scientific evidence that the incubator is effective. The incubator was invented and used and then after-the-fact research was done evidencing that "mother is a superior incubator" - but, as Dr. Bergman informed, only 8% of hospital care is evidence-based so the findings do not necessarily translate into practice. Trying to get our heads around this shift in thinking is all part of the paradigm shift currently taking place in the birth world. Dr. Bergman said it might take us all a few days to get our heads around it and for those pathways to develop.
We talk about paradigm shifts and the big change one person can make, which is why it was so meaningful to listen when a nurse asked when was the appropriate time to attempt latch if the mom had an epidural? To witness medical personnel asking questions and showing interest regarding how they were going to support skin-to-skin motherbaby care in their labor and delivery room or after cesarean was just awesome.
Dr Bergman's response offered options regarding the half-life of the medication and also using the father or partner more. He helped us understand how the father or partner is an extremely necessary person in post-partum and can offer that skin-to-skin contact and "buffering protection of adult support" baby needs to experience "needed neural
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - Frederick Douglass
He even shared a story with us about a father who was embarrassed when Dr. Bergman needed to gently break the latch baby had on daddy's nipple so Dr. Bergman could bring baby to mom to breastfeed. And he suggested that, as with all things, when we do something new, we don't have to be cowboys about it and we need to do it safely.
Dr. Bergman gave the U.S. kuddos on several occasions - once because we have lots of great research on breastfeeding and another time because several hospitals encourage skin-to-skin immediately following cesarean section delivery. In post-conference research I did find several hospitals that support Skin-to-Skin care such as: Yale New
Haven, McKay-Dee Hospital in Utah, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Do you know of another hospital that supports skin-to-skin motherbaby care? Please share with us in our comments section.
"If you are a mammal that doesn't breastfeed, you become a fossil!"- Dr. Bergman
How do YOU see the Future of Breastfeeding and Skin-to-Skin MotherBaby Care?
It was a wonderful and fascinating day with Dr. Bergman. Catch him if
you can as he has a few more speaking engagements and if you are not
able to attend here are a few ideas.
Things you can do:
Be prepared with a PRIVACY TAG - this one created by California
Department of Public Health you can put on your door or the door of
"Put Dad to use!" says Dr. Begman. If daddy/partner is there put baby
skin-to-skin with them following a delivery where mom might not be
able to hold baby, such as cesarean delivery or if mom's medication is
still wearing off.
EDUCATE yourself so you can be an ambassador of skin-to-skin
motherbaby care: Read all about it at Dr. Bergman's website offering
wonderful products, research, and suggestions about how to implement
skin-to-skin motherbaby care http://www.kangaroomothercare.com/.
INSPIRE yourself by looking at these beautiful images on the WABA