How can Doctors know how to help a Mother with breastfeeding issues when they only briefly touch on the topic during their training? Perhaps we should be asking how this is possible when so much disease can be prevented by a Mother breastfeeding her child? The benefits to the Mother include decreasing the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer as well as diabetes and obesity. A breastfed baby has decreased risk of Upper Respiratory infections, Middle ear infections and obesity and diabetes later in life. There are also the benefits of antibodies passed from Mother to baby so they don’t catch everything that’s going around. A premature baby needs breastmilk so much – often determining survival – that donor breastmilk is in demand to help supplement his own Mother’s milk.
I recently attended an education session for Medical Students, given by a fellow Lactation Consultant. I was amazed that the content had to be squeezed into 2 hours (reduced from 4 hours previously), so you can imagine the content was very limited and the Educator told us she had selected things she knew would make impact. Some of these were:
- Breastmilk is NOT the same as formula!
- A Mother makes the unique milk HER baby needs.
- There is a list of “Acceptable Medical Reasons for use of Breastmilk Substitutes” – become familiar with them.
- Refer to a Lactation Consultant or a Child Health Centre if the Mother needs help.
- You DON’T need plastic surgery to fix your breasts after breastfeeding.
- You don’t need to poke holes in the nipple for the milk to get out.
- When prescribing medications for a breastfeeding Mother – DON’T routinely tell the Mother to stop breastfeeding. Seek help with decision making, there are many texts available, specific to Medication and Mother’s Milk.
Some of these topics were introduced to answer questions from previous students????? I hate to think how this lack of information impacts the vulnerable and desperate Mothers who seek out their GP or Paediatrician for help. It is obvious that nobody can know enough about breastfeeding in 2 hours to actually offer the support these Mums and babies need so please, please, please SUPPORT them and refer to the experts who can help them continue their very important breastfeeding journey.
In the words of a wonderful lady:
“I am Audrey Hepburn. I am a mother. Mother’s milk is the best gift that any mother can give to her child. It’s for his whole life.”