RMC Anniston: Can Baby Friendly be Mommy Friendly, too?

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In 2007 and 2010, my first two children entered the world in a small community hospital. The nurses doted on me and the babies and it was refreshing that they offered to take the babies to the nursery so I could rest, eat, or shower. The nurses made sure my husband and I always had plenty of snacks and drinks. My first night alone with baby number two, a nurse even kept me company so I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed caring for the little one post c-section. At the end of each hospital stay, a nurse would wheel me down to the hospital entrance, inspect the car seat, and send us on our way.

baby friendly
No extra support person. During previous c-sections, once the baby was delivered and placed near me, my husband would walk him or her to the nursery. While he was gone, my mother was right by me. The great thing about my mom is that in addition to her maternal instincts, she’s also an RN. I know she wouldn’t hesitate to intervene if something went wrong. But I didn’t have that reassurance for my third c-section. Although the doctor approved two people with me, the hospital would not allow it. I may be 30-ish, but sometimes I still want my mommy with me.

Kangaroo Care. A gooey baby isn’t the only downside to kangaroo care, which is when they place the baby inside of your gown. Studies have proven that when normal, term newborns are placed skin-to-skin with their moms, they can make the transition from fetal to newborn life with better respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability. The study also added significantly less crying–which I didn’t seem to experience with Goob. Imagine just having major surgery, your doctor trying to explain to you why your poor little uterus can’t handle a tubal ligation, being drugged, and having a newborn SCREAMING into your ear. Poor thing wanted the boobie and I couldn’t provide it until recovery. My child was certainly blessed with a good set of lungs.

Long recovery. I had to ask permission for my mother to come see me and the baby in the recovery room where we were isolated for at least an hour or more after the birth. By the time I was allowed to go to my room, my mom, dad, and sister were asked to leave and go wait somewhere else. I arrived at the hospital at 5 something, had Goob at 7, and my poor Dad didn’t get to see any of us until lunch time. It was a difficult change from seeing my family almost instantly.

Every test was done in the room. I dozed a lot, but I recall a young nurse stating she had never bathed a baby before and then also having to do multiple skin pricks because she couldn’t get those right either. It was a storm of strange medical staff when all I wanted to do was hold my baby and sleep. For the early tests, my family–once I finally got to seem them!–were asked to wait outside. It would have been less disruptive to take the baby (and husband) and perform the tests in the nursery. Speaking of disruptive, the hospital has a quiet hour. But don’t count on it being quiet. That’s when we were bugged about hospital photos, more tests, and finally a fire drill. Maybe it was quiet time for the nursing staff?

Pushy lactation consultants. Goob isn’t my first breastfed baby. She latched on like a champ and I didn’t need any guidance. Did they back off? Shoot, I still screen my calls from them. I brought a pacifier with me. When you go baby friendly, make sure you hide it or else hear a lecture.

Feed the mom. Thank goodness for gift baskets. We lived off those for two days. No extra snacks or drinks from the mommy unfriendly hospital. I missed my extra 8 PM Scooby Snacks and Sprite.

Need to shower or nap? Welcome to mommy-hood.  Mommy Unfriendly Nurses advise the best place to put the bassinet outside the bathroom instead of taking the baby to the nursery so you can have a break. WTH. Cut me some slack while there’s actually help around.

Mesh panties no longer excite me. Sweet, sweet Krista helped me from my bed, sat me down, cleaned me up, and positioned the very unsexy mesh panties. Yeah, it meant that much to me that I remember her name years and years later. This time was much more DIY. No more VIP panty service. This brand didn’t even fit the same. I don’t want hipster mesh panties. I want full-on granny style. At least get that right. I was pointed to the panties and handed a squirt bottle. No glamour in this at all.

Departure. On our last day, the nurse asked us to page them when Goob was discharged. We did as told. “Ok. There’s the exit,” the nurse pointed with less than a flourish. Husband carried the car seat, I carried my belongings. Two days after a repeat c-section–with two ankles known to break at the worst times–I was pointed to an exit sign. Give me a wheelchair and make me feel special. My body worked hard.

There you have it. My experience at a Mommy Unfriendly Hospital. While some of their suggestions are great, they come across as too pushy. A quick stroll around the nurse’s station will show you a big board with their breastfeeding numbers. While breast may be best, I don’t think it should be pushed to the point where moms feel harassed by staff members. I would recommend that the staff focus on making mommy comfortable and not treating her like a dairy cow. Rest, food, and privacy. And a wheelchair.

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Emily is the person to blame behind Surviving Alabama. She is a nerd, a mother, and sometimes pretends to be a writer (although there was that one legit writing job for a few years...). When she isn't writing, repairing computers, or designing websites, Emily is happily raising three children with her very understanding husband.

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