I just met with a lovely young couple who had their first son a short time ago. He was a C-section after a prolonged labour with little to no progression. When the baby was born he was doing skin-to-skin with his mom shortly after. However that is where the positive ends. He wouldn’t latch and by day 2 the nurses in the hospital told the parents that they needed to supplement. Not only did they tell the parents to supplement, but they issued a nipple shield. That did two things. By supplementing (by bottle) so early, you are not able to establish your milk supply. A baby at the breast will bring in the milk and nothing else. Pumping is only a 2nd best. When they added the nipple shield, they almost sealed this baby’s fate to be bottle fed. When a nipple shield is used, a baby is latching on your nipple through plastic. They are not latching on the areolae which is where the ducts are therefore not truly transferring milk from breast to baby. Mom was pumping and still is at week 3. When I went, the baby was breastfed with a nipple shield for 2 solid weeks. She hadn’t even attempted to get the baby on for a whole week. She was exclusively pumping. I discussed with them that it may take some time for their son to latch, but it was possible. I educated them on cup feeding and explained that the movement of the tongue is closer to that of what it needs to be on the breast. I also said to get rid of the bottle as it was just confusing him. They were so exhausted already, that they decided to exclusively pump and supplement with formula in the bottle. They looked so defeated. In their words “If only we called you last week when there was still a chance”. I feel so sad. There are SO many stories out there just like this. Nurses don’t take the time to educate moms on how to breastfeed properly. In the nurse’s defense, they are so busy they don’t have the time. However mom and baby are both suffering. Women need to go into the hospital already informed about the risks of interventions in labour and delivery and their potential effects on breastfeeding. A proper plan of action needs to written down and handed to the support team so they know what to suggest. Parents also need to know about the first 48hr’s after birth. They need to have real expectations of what it’s like. This comes from educational classes and speaking with other mom’s. A great place to start is at a La Leche League meeting (link on my website). It’s a great prenatal source for mom’s. Above and beyond that, please consult me to discuss my prenatal breastfeeding classes. Prepare to be informed!