Overheard Hospital Roommate Discussion on Formula vs Breastfeeding
In one room there was an experienced 3rd time breastfeeding mom (BF mom A) born and raised in an Eastern European country and her roommate was a new first time formula feeding mom born and raised in the USA (FF mom B).
Both were within about 12 hrs of birth.
I had been in the room doing basic exams/vital signs for each baby, asking each mother how she thought things were going etc. etc…. I stepped to the doorway to converse with a co-worker about unrelated tasks and that’s when I started to overhear a very interesting conversation.
I admit it… I eavesdropped–> I learned.
I stayed in doorway reading a chart……..
FF mom B: “So — are you breastfeeding your baby?”
BF mom A: “Oh yes– Is best for us” (heavy accent)
FF mom B: “Does it hurt?”
BF mom A: “No no- not hurting, good feeling. You do too?”
FF mom B: “Me? No, I’m bottle feeding. My mom said that was easiest.”
BF mom A: “I see…” pause ……. “Why you not breastfeed? In my country– we are told is healthy way- natural way, most everybody does this. You are told this- yes?”
FF mom B: “Well– yeah, I remember hearing that it was best, but I didn’t try to learn about it because I have to go back to work in 6 weeks and my mom said formula was the same or just as good. And everyone can help me feed the baby too.”
(I’m still looking at a chart in doorway waiting……)
BF mom A: “Is nonsense…sorry don’t know words..false?”
FF mom B: “What’s false?”
BF mom A: “Is false- the baby bottle is same as mother’s breast. False. You are baby’s mother, you do what you must, but all more important reason to know truths– as his mother– so I tell you… You need truths…. just ask nurse.”
I’m thinking, this will either be a great opportunity to educate a new mom further OR I’ll be moving beds because the bottle feeding mom is now all upset with her roomie…..
FF mom B: “Is it true? (She asked me)…. Is there really that much of a difference?”
I said actually there is a big difference and I’d be happy to talk to her about if she’s interested. I felt this mom was possibly considering to breastfeed and I wanted to preserve that gently… away from any real or perceived pressure. I invited her and her baby into a little conference room so I could have a private conversation with her and give her information without the possibility of her well-meaning roommate piping in.
We actually had a very good discussion. She had a lot of questions which I was so happy she felt very free to ask ….such as all the health benefits, combining work and breastfeeding and how to get started now after 13 hrs. I answered them and asked her if she wanted to think about it or if she was interested in getting started.
She said she’d like to do it now before her mother got here. She felt fine going back to her room. Since her baby had been fed a bottle only an hour before this started, I suggested she spend some time skin to skin and maybe…. her baby would root and self attach when he was ready.
I assisted her into a comfortable position and we snuggled a naked sleeping baby skin to skin. She was smiling but not feeling very sure of things. I told her to rest and I’d check up on both of them.
Her roommate chimed in “You are good mother learning this for baby. You feel better yes? I help- if you need- I help”
In the end, the baby nuzzled, licked & rooted about a half hour after being placed STS, but didn’t self attach. I assisted her to latch him in a football hold. She was very surprised to see colostrum and became quite engaged in the process. She was breastfeeding when her own mother arrived. This grandmother was kinda taken back at her daughter’s change of heart but was more supportive than the young mother thought she’d be.
Perhaps the roommate had another discussion I didn’t overhear…….. Sometimes you never know…..
The door to more education opens from many different angles. Sometimes pushed open from an individual with a different background.
I hope we have more happy beginnings like this in the future.