In mommy world one of the most controversial and political topics is breastfeeding and in turn the “baby friendly hospital” craze. There were so many articles to digest and link to that I didn’t know where to start for this post. I recently learned from an acquaintance that when she gave birth the hospital banned pacifiers. I googled that to see what’s up and learned its part of UNICEF’s “baby friendly hospital” campaign. A hospital can get this special “feel good” designation by following these 10 steps on breastfeeding. I knew there was a huge push to get women to breastfeed, but its getting out of control when women are not really free to make the choices they want for their baby and selves. Banning pacifiers makes you feel like you are trying to give your child a drug or something illegal.
I have a real problem when these organizations, hospitals, big government feel movements, like to interject, butt-in and tell mothers or basically force mothers towards what they think is best, ignoring the natural maternal instincts that will guide a mom to make the best choices if she were just left alone. It truly feels like a big-government intervention. Breast is best, yeah I get it. I mean its common sense that something that comes from your body is the best. However, a very close second is rest is best and if a mom isn’t resting she can’t function and be a good mother and she certainly isn’t going to be able to bond well.
To get the discussion rolling this topic and due to lack of time I am going to focus in on this article to start, but feel I have more to say later:
“To earn the designation, hospitals and birth centers must subscribe to the practice of “rooming-in,” that is, keeping mothers and babies together around the clock. But while hospitals say the practice is beneficial, media coverage has been largely critical, warning that hospitals are robbing weary new mothers ― women who have just done the grueling work of birthing a human being ― of their only opportunity to get some rest.
Exactly. Hospitals for women are no longer a place of rest and recovery. If you are induced you can easily go 12-24 hours without food then have to give the biggest workout of your life with no food and no real rest either. Then with the “rooming in” policies you are suppose to leap out of bed at every cry despite the incredible pain, bleeding and stitches you may be dealing with. Even if you don’t have a C-Section there is some serious recovery that needs to happen. In any other scenario when someone has surgery or goes though such a medical ordeal we would think it harsh to then expect them to babysit a newborn when their stitches are fresh.
The article hits that point well when it shares this story:
In an op-ed for Forbes, mother of two Kavin Senapathy wrote about her experience delivering babies in Baby-Friendly hospitals. With her first, she spent the night “hopping in and out of bed” to comfort her crying baby, “all while cringing at the stinging of stitches” ― an experience she describes as “excruciating.” She insisted her second be taken to the nursery so she could recover, but was told “in no uncertain terms that had this been my first baby, I would not have been allowed to use the nursery because otherwise how would I learn to care for my child?”
In my experience you do basically have to beg to have the baby taken to the nursery or present a really serious case for why you need rest as if it isn’t obvious. The glares you get that you are a bad mom for daring to want to sleep for 2 hours is unreal. The hospitals do act like you are neglecting your baby if you even think to put any of you needs first in those first hours and days after birth. I believe in the thinking “put the oxygen mask on yourself first”. You are of no use to your child if you aren’t breathing an thriving. How can you bond if you are dead? Or at least dead tired. However, there are those on the feminist and traditionalist side that will hammer it into you that you are selfish to even think about your self after birth. One nurse replied when I asked, “can you take the baby to nursery so I can rest”, was simply “no, welcome to motherhood”. Its a cruel introduction to motherhood, especially coming from a place such as a hospital that you are under the mistaken belief is there to take care of you–for rest and recovery. After the first birth, I wised up and took the view that the hospital was more of a prison that you had to get out of as quickly as possible so that you could get home and get some real rest and recovery, so that I could BOND and do motherhood my way, the way that works best for me and my family. Of course talking about resting at home isn’t saying much as there are way too many distractions there, but still its at least better than supposed hospital rest.
The remark in the quoted section that implies women shouldn’t be able to use nurseries because how else will they learn to take care of their babies is pure BS. Newsflash—from day 3 and forever women will learn very well and very quickly how to take care of their baby once they are home. The hospital is probably the best and only chance a mom has for serious rest (given the medical staff); however it has now become the worst place to get rest and can often leave a mom leaving the hospital feeling even worse. A great way to send mom on her way and into motherhood.
Even if breast is best, “mother knows best” has basically been tossed aside and replaced with UNICEF knows best. There is not a once sized fits all answer to motherhood.