Proud to be a statistic for once
On Thursday the San Jose Mercury News reported that 95% of moms who deliver at El Camino Hospital exclusively breastfeed their infants while in the maternity ward. 95%. The highest percentage in all California hospitals. Not too shabby, if you ask me. And I'm not just saying that because I'm part of that 95%.
Three years ago that statistic would have either made me cry or made me scream. Possibly both. Back then the nursing support that I received at El Camino was atrocious. Recovery room nurses, nursery nurses, and maternity ward nurses gave me radically different information, leaving poor new nursing mom me to sit in a completely confused fog.
Needless to say, I never made it out of that haze. The combination of nipple shield, removal of breast pump every night, and formula pushed on my infant daughter left me with a pitiful supply and a holy terror of any and all lactation "helpers."
When my daughter was ten months old I gathered all my courage and made an appointment with the director of the lactation service at the hospital. I sat with her and calmly spilled all my anger, my angst, and my disappointment about my breast feeding experience. I told her who had given bad advice, who had unfairly judged me, who had made me cry. I explained why I hadn't been able to face calling for more help. And then I pointed out that their different services needed to get on the same page if they were really intent on getting new moms to successfully nurse their babies. Then I held my head high and walked out, proud that I'd had the guts to go down that painful road.
She asked me to send a letter to the head of each nursing department, but I couldn't face putting it all to paper. Apparently I didn't need to.Continued on the next page