Sunday, October 10, 2010

What do you mean?!!

I have been troubled by many, many calls and worries that after delivery and during the postpartum hospitalization period,the nursery nurses are entering families rooms announcing, authoritatively, that "Your baby is starving! ". Your baby is NOT starving, dehydrated, crying because he's hungry, suffering from low blood sugar or in any other distress , for sure, unless your pediatrician or one of the pediatric hospitalists or neonatologists has paid you a visit to discuss, with your informed consent, the need to feed your baby something other than colostrum.

Babies are born knowing that your milk may not "come in' for 2-5 days, on average. Babies are born with a special brown fat that they manufacture expressly for the purpose of NOT starving to death while waiting for that mother's milk. It is the source of their energy until they can suckle your milk. Colostrum supplies the immunities, not much hydration or nutrition and it is very thick and not easily consumed. Just sucking a little while will tire your baby out and they will sleep to conserve energy ( the brown fat ) until they hit pay-dirt.

If your baby is wetting diapers and no one from your pediatric practice has approached you about supplementing with formula, don't listen to the nursery nurses. Politely ask them to notify your pediatrician or the neonatologist or the pediatric hospitalist or even a lactation consultant ( if you can find one )before they put a bottle of formula into your baby's mouth.


My suspicion is that the nursery nurses mean very well. However, I think that they are bored. With rooming -in, they have lost one of their primary tasks: feeding the baby and then subsequently burping and rocking and changing the baby too. You do that and you should.

Babies are born to survive. If they weren't, we wouldn't be here. Prepare yourself for some ups and downs while in the postpartum unit and take a lactation course or read a good book about breastfeeding in order to understand the process and NOT flip-out when you hear that " your baby is starving!".