2021-08-01

Women don’t breastfeed? Here’s a thought —

— maybe hospitals should be nicer to midwives.

I gave birth at Women’s College Hospital, and of all places I fully expected them to support my midwives. But they were unspeakably awful to them — rude, dismissive, demeaning, the whole gamut of bad behaviour. They topped it off by ignoring me (I was admitted unplanned, following a complication; midwifery patients usually go home shortly after the birth) as totally as they could, unless they were calling me by a name I don’t use and rolling their eyes at me. I was, to put it mildly, unimpressed that a hospital that purports to support women’s health behaved so badly to an entire profession that not only purports to, but does, support women’s health..

Nursing moms need more support: Toronto

A study by Toronto Public Health of 1, 500 first-time mothers in this city found that while most new moms try breastfeeding in the hospital, only about 63 per cent are still doing it exclusively by the time they’re discharged from hospital.

Six months down the road, only 17 and a half per cent of moms are not supplementing their child’s diet with formula, the study titled Breastfeeding in Toronto – Promoting Supportive Environments found.

Breastfeeding takes support. Serious support, from the new mom’s partner, family, and all health practitioners and support staff. If you have a hospital that cares so little about women that it rolls its eyes at midwives and ignores their patients, how well supported in breastfeeding do you suppose women who give birth there tend to feel? And that’s the hospital that’s theoretically most sensitive to womens’ needs.

Yeah. No surprise there. No wonder that only 63% are breastfeeding by the time they leave hospital — probably less than 36 hours after giving birth. Shame on the hospitals.

(For the record, with my midwives’ support, I breastfed my daughter for a year.)

2 thoughts on “Women don’t breastfeed? Here’s a thought —

  1. My experience in Switzerland was so completely different – the nurses there brought me vats of fennel tea to stimulate milk production, and would come latch the baby on any time I needed help (even in the middle of the night), whether I asked for help or not (if Z cried for too long, they’d come in and check). Lots of instruction on best feeding positions, avoiding pain, etc.

    Now, if only they hadn’t bodged the delivery (unfortunately, I blaim the midwife, who was actually in charge of the whole process there)…

  2. In my day, the nurses on the ward actually had the time to spend helping women with breastfeeding. Actually it was the most important part of our experience with the new mothers.The moms were in hospital for 5-7 days and they were helped with baby bathing, umbilical cord care, breastfeeding, personal care and what to expect once they got home. They had help with their engorged breasts and their confidence was such that when they left hospital they felt a bit more in control. Now, nurses have 3-4X the number of patients and a lot more paperwork . Charting is now done for legal liability, not patient care. Midwives were not legal/available way back then but I would think that if they were, they would have been part of the all-round care.

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