Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘maternity’

Push for Real Changes in our in-hospital Maternity Services

The average consumer may not know what could possibly be helpful in exacting REAL change in our hospital maternity care. I am certainly no expert in this field and would welcome additions or corrections to what I say here….. but I want to offer a little perspective from the inside. Maybe this will help somewhere.

I am a Birth and Breastfeeding Junkie and I am proud. I don’t care if someone recently didn’t like that nomenclature….. That’s what I call myself and how I relate to other like minded individuals. I have a need to know what’s going on in that world.  We junkies read and discuss all the current evidence, all the latest recommendations from the WHO, NIH, CIMS, ICAN, ACOG, AAP, AWHONN, ILCA….. and so many more. We love all birth stories and learn from each other. We educate ourselves. We STAY current. We want informed decisions. We want options. We want this type of evidence-based care available where we live. We advocate for those individuals who may not even know there may be another choice. We want to see the women of America have access to respectful quality services everywhere!

Ok –> that said…. When I see new evidence, research or new recommendations; what I have done over the years to offer up any proposal for process improvement or care delivery change including whatever may be needed to implement these changes… is to collect resources, develop a policy or plan and present to docs, manager and staff. The response is usually positive. Sometimes I get a lot of “smile and nod” and “please hurry up I have other things to do I’m not really listening”…. but mostly positive. Sometimes it’s only positive in that “My you’ve done a lot of research..and Good Job!”  instead of–Yes let’s do this! The changes are not always adopted and there isn’t a total “Buy-In” from everyone to make it a successful total change in practice. Eventually and unfortunately, because these things aren’t monitored, many practitioners go back to their own comfort zone of past [outdated] practices. Arrghh

Project poster inservice example

There must be a better way.

I was sitting in a Professional Practice Committee meeting a few weeks ago listening to a mandatory (did I say Mandatory?) action plan presentation by the Director of Patient Relations/ Patient Satisfaction when it hit me how there may be more avenues for REAL change driven by the consumer than those of us in the trenches. All of the directors (suits) were there and were required to come up with unit-specific mandatory action plans to improve patient satisfaction and positive perceptions of their hospital experience.

She was presenting an action plan based on the latest HCAHPS report.

What is HCAHPS?? Maybe you know- maybe you don’t. Skip over this if you already know.

“The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care. HCAHPS (pronounced “H-caps”), also known as the CAHPS Hospital Survey, is a survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience. While many hospitals have collected information on patient satisfaction for their own internal use, until HCAHPS there was no national standard for collecting and publicly reporting information about patient experience of care that allowed valid comparisons to be made across hospitals locally, regionally and nationally.

Three broad goals have shaped HCAHPS.

  • First,the survey is designed to produce data about patients’ perspectives of care that allow objective and meaningful comparisons of hospitals on topics that are important to consumers.
  • Second, public reporting of the survey results creates new incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care.
  • Third, public reporting serves to enhance accountability in health care by increasing transparency of the quality of hospital care provided in return for the public investment.

With these goals in mind, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the HCAHPS Project Team have taken substantial steps to assure that the survey is credible, useful, and practical.” HCAHPS fact Sheet 2010

The reason hospitals are taking these results so seriously is that.. well… I’d like to say they ONLY care about the patient, but they are a business and it comes down to money in reality.

$$$$$$$$$$$$

If a hospital scores fall below a certain number in patient satisfaction… they can lose like 3% of Medicare Reimbursement. That adds up to a lot of money really. You may think that doesn’t apply to Maternity Services but it does, ultimately, because that survey goes out to all adult inpatients. If the scores for satisfaction are low for obstetrics, it can throw off everything, and affect the reimbursement to the facility. That, in turn, can affect how much money is available for overall improvements.

Medicare has also started to cut reimbursement to cover the costs of “preventable” conditions, mistakes and infections resulting from a hospital stay in 2009. That is older news so you may already know about that.

The thing is– what the big two Medicare and Medicaid… [The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)] often set the bar and other insurance companies follow in the private sector. The 2009 National Health Insurer Report Card may give you more information about what is or is not paid. I don’t know much more about that.

HCAHPS is the first I’ve heard of actual patient satisfaction scores steering reimbursement which is transparent and publicly reported. I have heard many pt satisfaction reports but they were never given this much attention. At least in my hospital.. Perhaps I’ve been too much of a Birth Junkie to notice. 🙂


The other big catalyst for positive change is the new JCAHO Perinatal Core Measure Set. The MotherBaby Summit website has an excellent review of these 5 elements, explains them and provides further references.

There are two new employees who only work on JCAHO compliance and data collection. They are looking at the PC-05 Exclusive Breastmilk Feeding numbers and are not happy…. Well — neither am I !!  I have been trying to do something about that particular issue since 1988 !  Since these are now factors for regulatory compliance as well as patient satisfaction… Now we are going to do something. I am pleased to announce that we are forming a Breastfeeding Task Force!! YAY! We also have a new Pediatric Dept Chair who is a no bullshit we are going to do it kind of guy… so YAY!

Bottom line: The hospital is sitting up and seriously taking notice about the consumers opinion AND how regulatory agencies are now monitoring things have never been monitored before.

  • Action plans are being developed to comply
  • The consumer has more of a voice than ever before

Here’s what you can do

Before the hospital:

  • Have a prenatal interview with your provider… ASK : Do they have current evidence based practices/protocols in place ….. do their standard orders reflect the most current evidence based guidelines and standards of care…. do the dept members all follow these standards. Do the nurses actually follow these orders….
  • Do the same with your pediatric provider
  • If you are not happy with the provider and choose NOT to use them, make sure they know exactly WHY… what were the points which caused you not to choose them.
  • Have a birth plan and discuss it with all providers, nurses and even mail it to the manager where you will deliver. Ask your manager to please make sure your wishes are communicated with the staff.
  • Use words like RESPECT, SATISFACTION, Patient RESPONSE Time JCAHO Core measures.
  • Ask for numbers when you have your interviews.. for instance..what are your CS rates? VBAC rates? What are exclusive breastfeeding rates? If they don’t know, ASK for the name of a hospital person who can help you get that information. I am sure they have the numbers.

In the Hospital:

  • Get the names of those individuals/ midwives/ doctors/ nurses/ etc who were good and those who were poor caregivers in your opinion. Write them down somewhere and why. Specifics help.
  • If you don’t feel your wishes are being honored or disrespected, ASK to speak to a patient representative. There is most likely somebody on hospital staff who has that role and can assist you. Use the words Satisfaction, Respect or what is relevant etc…
  • Ask for options if they are not discussed. Don’t rely on a Birth Plan you made weeks or months ago to be always remembered by everyone. Even if it’s right with your records. Different options may be available that weren’t before. For instance, We recently installed telemetry fetal monitoring allowing for increased mobility. If somebody asked a while ago, we did not have that option. You may have to repeat yourself… esp in a very busy Labor&Delivery or Mother/Baby unit. Sorry. That’s the way it is sometimes. It can get crazy but you are just as important as anyone!

After You Go Home:

  • You will be very busy with your baby and good or bad… your individual experience will be a memory that could fade over time. We still need to hear what you have to say IN WRITING whenever possible.
  • Please Fill out your survey –> it may be long but most are a multiple choice and allow for a write in comment section. Put in the names of the good and the bad!!  Please do it.. then actually mail it
  • Please make written comments. Include names. Specifics help.
  • Please Make Us Accountable. Write a letter to administration (Head of unit, Head of nursing or Head of hospital) include specifics. They HAVE to personally answer to this type of thing first! They get this info long before the surveys. Write for the good or the bad parts of your experience.  Including if you make suggestions. It may be monitored or tracked how many times they receive a comment about a certain issue. Definitely tracked for negatives– especially for specific individuals.
  • Please also write a letter to the Head of OB or Pediatrics Departments and let them know who else you sent the letter to. Include everything from above.
  • If you are certain what you experienced was NOT evidenced based medicine or care…. PLEASE mention exactly what you know.

 

Thanks for reading this, I hope somebody out there takes the time to give the needed feedback which will help mold and improve our care.

Advertisements

*Promote NORMAL Birth and Breastfeeding* & more New Year’s Resolution Ideas for all my Co-Workers… Any Ideas?

I am continually working (baby steps- a little bit at a time) on improving what we do to care for the moms and babies in my little neck of the woods. Sometimes it feels exciting, positive and helpful….. but other times frustrating or futile.

Since I have been recently consumed with my newest career as a NICU nurse, I have seen some of my earlier successes of positive changes (on the mother baby unit and L&D)…. slowly. turn. back. to previous bad practices ….. I come over to the units and I see so many of the older traditional care models in place again which we had worked hard to place in a vault! You get new doctors, new nurses, new anesthesiologists etc… and they don’t give a crap about any guidelines or protocols for a natural process! However if the CDC changes their Hepatitis B, HIV or  GBS protocols… they are all over it….  In. A. Heartbeat.

Why is it so hard for these professionals to relinquish control over all aspects of the birth process? Why can’t they look at any of that research? Why aren’t any of the recommendations for encouraging VBAC, discouraging scheduled CS’s without a TOL or keeping mother and baby together while delaying routine procedures taken as seriously?? Why?

I think I know why…I do.  But that isn’t really what I wanted to talk about today.

I want to provide some encouraging – positive – inspirational ideas for my fellow nurses, practitioner or heathcare provider to do what is best for each mother and baby in their car. Even if you all pick just one… it can make a difference. So don’t feel overwhelmed. Just try to add at least one of these to YOUR daily practice.  These suggestions are meant for situations without complications requiring urgent intervention of some kind.

Readers: Please ADD more in comments if you have them!

  • Promote and Preserve NORMAL Physiologic Birth……  Try NOT to interfere. Please really find out what that means if you don’t know. Seriously. (sorry but please… my friends… it’s not about hurrying it up or getting it over with and closing out the chart!)
  • Spend time each month reviewing Evidence-Based practice recommendations and changes with regards to Birth and Breastfeeding. You’ll learn something!
  • SKIN TO SKIN…if you do nothing else… make THIS your project for EVERY mother/baby in your care. If you do this for them– nature can have a chance. Get them S2S at birth and several times each day to help with breastfeeding! (this one is my favorite!)
  • Yes… Skin to Skin can be done in the O.R. Teach your fellow co-workers when just DO it!! Come on TRY IT!
  • Keep a mother’s wishes at the forefront of your plan of care. Her birth plan is very important to her! Advocate for her and empower her. This is her birth, not yours.
  • Advocate and Empower your patient to make truly informed decisions about her care. If she doesn’t have the right information to make a real INFORMED decision, please help her get the information or provide it for her!
  • Embrace the idea and recommend Doulas to your patients. Keep a list of local doulas available and provide them at prenatal visits or out-pt testing.
  • Question the doctor/midwife when an induction and or Cesarean is scheduled. Just ask why and discuss… Bring up points you’ve learned in your reading and find out the practitioners reasons for inducing. There is a way to discuss without challenging. Sometimes –> everyone learns from such a discussion. Perhaps the practitioner will realize his reasons for some cases may not be appropriate.. who knows?
  • Breastfeeding and Formula feeding are not equal choices and remember it is inappropriate to indicate to a mother directly or indirectly that they are equal. She deserves correct information before making an informed choice. Utilize teachable moments to discuss the superiority of Human breast milk as the food for human infants. Show her where she can get more information before making a decision. Honor her decisions once she has made them.
  • Keep the baby with the mother until the FIRST Breastfeed has taken place. Please delay all your routine procedures and help the mother (if needed) to start breastfeeding! This is recommended by ALL the experts.
  • Keep the baby with the mother AT ALL TIMES. Almost everything we do can be done at the mother’s bedside. Think about it.
  • Keep the baby with the mother AT ALL TIMES means at night too. Separating mother and baby so “Mom can rest” had been shown to be a barrier to successful breastfeeding. Encourage frequent feedings based on feeding cues.
  • Teach and empower the mother. Include how to recognize feeding cues, signs of an effective feeding with appropriate latch, and how to recognize an overall good feeding pattern.
  • Support the mother, support the mother, support the mother.

For some more ideas.. I have numerous previous posts about breastfeeding education, support and sited references such as the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services Ten Steps for example and other important issues.

“The American Propensity to Shun Human Milk is a Public Health Problem”

A Historical Perspective

Bulletin: Chicago School of Sanitary Instruction (June 3, 1911)

This is a part of my comment reply placed to an individual who had commented on The Feminist Breeder’s  post “When It Comes to Breastfeeding, We Can’t Handle the Truth”

“There were countless situations over the last 200 years which forced caregivers (whether the natural mother or another individual)to resort to artificial feeding of one kind or another. It is amazing what some of them came up with to try to feed those infants! Necessity was the mother of invention. And many were able to survive. It’s wonderful that they could. Many more, however, sadly died. Many many babies were sickly or died in those times.
You say: “The matter is that formula/breastmilk substitutes became so helpful that people continued for centuries to make it work.” I agree.
But my take on it is that the necessity of an available safe artificial alternative to breastfeeding for those mothers who could not breastfeed their babies took centuries to formulate…to make it nutritious enough and safe enough and to come up with a safe enough feeding container. It was just that.. an artificial substitute.
Gosh– I am NOT an expert on this aspect at all.
I just feel that the heart of this conversation is that artificial infant feeding has risks. Risks that mothers aren’t informed about because society has normalized artificial feeding. Breastfeeding is normal feeding.
No one should ever take away an individual’s choice..EVER…!!!!!
Mother’s simply need better information to make INFORMED choices.
I’m very sensitive and careful in my approach to moms… helping them with information they need to make the best choice for them. Then I will ALWAYS support that mother 100%.
Here’s an interesting historical perspective link for your review from the American Journal of Public Health | December 2003, Vol 93, No. 12
It covers history from about 1890 to early 1900’s.”

“Low Breastfeeding Rates and Public Health in the United States”

Here are some quotes and excerpts from this article published in the American Journal of Public Health (December 2003, Vol 93, No. 12 ) discussing Public Health THEN and NOW.

Quotes:

“Late-19th-century physicians . . . constantly
decried the ‘children with weak and diseased
constitutions belonging to that generally
wretched class called bottle-fed.’

“Today’s medical community recognizes what their
predecessors knew a century ago—that the
American propensity to shun human milk is
a public health problem and should
be exposed as such.”

Abstract: “The medical community has orchestrated breastfeeding campaigns in response to low breastfeeding rates twice in US history.
The first campaigns occurred in the early 20th century after reformers
linked diarrhea, which caused the majority of infant deaths, to the use of cows’ milk as an infant food.
Today, given studies showing that numerous diseases and conditions can be prevented or limited in severity by prolonged breastfeeding, a practice shunned by most American mothers, the medical community is again inaugurating efforts to endorse breastfeeding as a preventive health measure.
This article describes infant feeding practices and resulting public health campaigns in the early 20th and 21st centuries and finds lessons in the original campaigns for the promoters of breastfeeding today.”

I found this article to be very informative and very interesting.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED???


Our Cesarean Section Rates still Below the National Average

002I had checked out a post by Jill from Unnecesarean reviewing ICAN’s Press release on the rising Cesarean Rate and how mom’s really don’t realize or recognize how they can reduce their risk for a surgical delivery. It is very good informative post. It’s just totally shameful and pathetic that one third of our nation’s babies are brought in to this world with a surgical delivery! I’ve been present for thousands of births. I remember when the doctors were under pressure to keep their C/S rates down under 20%!! They had to go under peer review when they hit individual rates over 16%. Those days are over.

I have seen many different changes in the field of obstetrics, I am embarrassed that our national rates are now this high! I don’t feel that this is an advancement in maternal fetal obstetrical care. It feels like such a cop out most of the time when you are there in the trenches experiencing the “call” for a C/S time after time for “failure to progress”; “failure to descend”; “arrest of dilitation” etc…etc..

I came across the perinatal statistics and thought I’d share.

Here are our Actual Cesarean Section Rates so far this year January thru September

for nearly 750 births:

  • Total C-Section Rate =   25.8% (monthly range 16.9% to 34.4%)
  • Primary C-Section Rate =  16.4%  (monthly range 12.5% to 23.6%)
  • Primary Rate in labor =    13.4%  (monthly range 8.9%  to 20.0%)

Our average is about a quarter of the births falling below the national average of a third… for now. Can we keep this up?? I hope so. I really hope so. I hope we can even lower it! With a NICU coming in and sicker patients to go along with that… I am hopeful to just keep it where it is. I will do my best to help educate women, co-workers and the doctors I work with.


We Deliver? How about we make it a better delivery?

permission from CartoonStock

permission from CartoonStock

Our Maternity Services

Need Help!

The Maternal Child care delivery system in this country as a whole needs vast improvement. All of these 10 steps as well as the 10 steps to ensure optimal successful  breastfeeding are very important.

These items are sadly grossly misconstrued or ignored by many facilities offering maternity services in this country. I have been having the same discussions and occasional arguments with co-workers  lately on this battle of the newborn baby staying in the moms room overnight!!! I know~ it is a no brainer to those of you who read, research and understand. Many of my co-workers still defend their philosophy that the baby needs to come into the nursery at night so the mom can sleep!!  Many argue with me about labor positions and inductions!! AARRGGHH! I won’t get into our details right now…….

What I have here for you today is NOT new info but I recently reviewed it again as I was searching for evidence to back my discussions with staff. If you haven’t placed this information in your workplace to nudge some resistant peers, I urge you to do so!

This document : THE COALITION FOR IMPROVING MATERNITY SERVICES:
EVIDENCE BASIS FOR THE TEN STEPS OF MOTHER-FRIENDLY CARE
can show you research studies or data which support the ten steps below.

The 10 steps for Mother-Friendly Care from CIMS {Coalition for Improving Maternity Services} taken from their website…..are:

Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative
For Mother-Friendly Hospitals, Birth Centers,* and Home Birth Services

To receive CIMS designation as “mother-friendly,” a hospital, birth center, or home birth service must carry out the above philosophical principles by fulfilling the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.

A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers:
    • Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
    • Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula,* or labor-support professional;
    • Access to professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
  3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
  5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
    • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary;
    • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
    • shaving;
    • enemas;
    • IVs (intravenous drip);
    • withholding nourishment or water;
    • early rupture of membranes*;
    • electronic fetal monitoring;
    • Has an induction* rate of 10% or less;†
    • Has an episiotomy* rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less;
    • Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals;
    • Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
  7. other interventions are limited as follows:

  8. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
  9. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
  10. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  11. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff;
    2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy;
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding;
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants;
    6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated;
    7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day;
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand;
    9. Give no artificial teat or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants;
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics

† This criterion is presently under review.

I endorse these steps. You can visit their website to also endorse.

Kathy from Woman to Woman Childbirth Education wrote about the CIMS press release on the Need for Transparency regarding the rising C/S rates. Excellent information is discussed here by the CIMS and I enjoyed the discussion between Kathy and RealityRounds.

I also would urge you all to visit and give information to The Birth Survey.

How is your birth place measuring up to these initiatives?

Let’s all continue to make this a better world

in which to give birth!!

A Full Moon doesn’t always bring lots of babies

Full Moon Flight

A Full Moon Flight?

We had a Full Moon this past weekend. October 4th– according to my calender.  Over the past 35+ years in this business, it has been my experience that the full moon does NOT bring all the babies! We had just one baby born this whole weekend….  and hardly any labor checks. It was eery Quiet. (The “Q” word. Something we only say after our shift!)85902615

The weekend before, however, is another story! We had 13 deliveries during the 2 day wkend and L&D was packed most days during the whole week leading up to this full moon! We had to use a lot of overflow rooms for evals and non-stress tests. Everywhere I turned, it was crazy busy.. and not just in L&D. It seems we get more babies with high bilirubins, more early babies with transitional breathing problems and other little issues whenever we have high census!

In my experience, I have seen the most babies born either on a new moon or the week of waxing or waning of the full moon and not on the actual full moon.  Is it like that where you work?? I would really like to know the experiences of other L&D nurses.

So tell me—  what happens in your world?

My Breast Pump and I didn’t get Along 

Can I Pump my MILK?  Should I? …

or  Not.  Even.  Bother.


My Own Struggles with Pumping and Working

and doing what worked for me

Welcome to September’s Carnival of Breastfeeding!!!

I have this post AND an additional post All about Pumping including choosing a pump and how to Practice Pumping before going back. After you read this, check out the other posts on this month’s theme of “Breastfeeding and Work” linked at the bottom of this post. All links will be added as I get them hopefully by the end of the day Monday, so be sure to check back for the full list!

breast pump

A little history

As far back as I can remember, the only breast pump we had around in nursing school or when I first started working on the maternity unit was this thing that looked like a bicycle horn. This picture above is for an old “Breast Reliever”. It is glass with a rubber bulb to squeeze for suction. This particular antique is from the earlier half of the 20th century. We actually had a similar type glass model in Nursing school and on my 1st OB unit in 1974.   Historical use of breast pumps shows the first patent was issued in the 1800’s and a patent for a mechanical version was issued in the 1920’s. Information was scarce then. Not too many nurses knew much about it.  Mother’s were instructed to use it if they got engorged. I can’t believe it would have been very helpful.

pump70sold horn pump

We got a newer plastic version of this pump in the 70’s but still didn’t have any clear instructions for use. I was never taught by instructors or fellow nurses, so all I could do for the patients in my care was review the instructions on the box with them! I don’t even remember what that said. Those old horn pumps were trouble. They were traumatizing to the breast and the rubber bulb was just a trap for bacteria.

I remember one mother in particular in 1975 had been readmitted with bleeding, gone to the OR for retained placental fragments at 2 weeks postpartum. She was breastfeeding and having trouble. I took care of her postop. She said “I can’t believe how much milk I have, what can I do?”  I promptly went for the only pump we had and went over the directions with her. She was saying it hurt but felt better at the same time because it did help to drain some of the milk.  I didn’t much know then about how the retained placenta can delay hormonal shifts and your milk coming in. She and I both thought at the time it was because of being separated from her baby!

ANYWAY

By the time I had my first baby in 1979, (YES- 30 years ago) I had become more familiar with pumps because I had a friend pumping and now I was very personally interested. I wanted to pump just like her! I want to store milk for my baby when I went back to work. Her baby was 3 months old and she had gone back to work. She pumped in front of me once to show me how easy it was. She used a cylinder style hand pump similar to this picture. She got 8 ounces of milk in about 10 min!

70s pumpIt had one chamber inside the other. To pump, you would place the cone over your breast and pull the outer chamber up and down. This was a very popular style pump at the time. Easy right? I promptly went and bought one! I can do this!

My son was born weighing 6 lbs 9 1/2 oz. Breastfeeding got off to a great start, there were no problems at all. I was very confident about that and had great support from my best friend. My son weighed 7lbs 2oz at 2 weeks and nearly 10 lbs by 6 weeks.

I had plenty of milk!

None of which hit the bottom of the chamber when I first tried to pump….  no matter what I did! I knew nothing about the technique of pumping. I worked and worked at it.  I could playfully squirt milk across the room. I had squirting contests with my sister. We cracked up laughing! I could not get any milk with the pump.

I had never practiced. I thought that once I was away from my baby, I would just pump… thought the milk would just come out like my friend. I went to work, let myself get a full feeling and tried. Nothing.  I woke him up when I got home and made him eat!  The next day… same thing.. Nothing.  Luckily I only worked 2 days a week so I nursed him all the rest of the time. I kept trying- week after week– I thought I just had to get used to it. I am sure I was very stressed each time, never using any of the tricks I teach moms today.  I still never thought to practice when I was home with the baby. The most I EVER got after 45 min of pumping was one ounce.  I gave up and only fed formula while at work. My body adjusted and I was happy doing what I was doing.

I wrote a guest post over at Breastfeeding Moms Unite on pumping including choosing a pump for you and practicing to pump. All moms are so different and many have no trouble at all expressing their milk. Others have  trouble releasing their milk to this plastic “thing” on them that doesn’t feel like their baby. It’s just not the same! In that post I say:

I have found it’s important for mothers to understand that pumping is a substitute for the real thing and that it takes practice for lots of moms. I always say to expect hardly anything the first time you try then whatever milk you may get is wonderful! One very important point to realize is that whatever you see come out with a pump or hand expression is NOT a reflection of how much a baby gets in a feeding when he is well latched and effectively feeding.  What you see come out with the pump is what your body released at that moment in time. Even women with a great supply and healthy growing babies can have trouble learning to pump. The baby is the master … you are merely trying to imitate him! The type of pump used and when you pump in relation to the age of the baby as well as the time of day, frequency etc. can have a big impact on your results.

My second baby was born in 1985 . Another 6 pounder at birth with rapid weight gain, a great milk supply for me.  I had some improved pumping results with him partly because of better pumps and mostly by sheer determination to help him heal through major surgery at  3 months. The Children’s Hospital had a hospital grade electric pump, a pumping room and directions on what to do. Because I was able to provide milk for him in the hospital, I had renewed faith in myself that I could pump once I went back to work.

pump 80s

There were different pumps, better pumps available. I tried my old pump and some piston style pump like above. I don’t remember the name of that either. I tried many…still waiting to pump again till I had eventually gone back to work. There were some battery/ AC adapter electric ones to buy. I had one, but don’t even remember the name.  I had to push a button to make the suction go on and off –>  otherwise there was constant suction on your breast and no control on the degree or amont of suction. Some people told me to keep the suction on till it started to flow then push that button on/off.

Well it didn’t flow, it hurt. I never released any substantial milk for any of these pumps. I wasn’t able to keep it up. I ended up doing the same as I had with my first son. I made a routine which worked for me of nursing all the time at home and formula when I was at work. We didn’t have any hospital grade mechanical pump until the 1990’s at my hospital, long after my third baby and after I became a Lactation Professional.

I had dealt with so many other issues after my third baby that pumping was never much of a thought in my head. I simply fell back into the routine that had worked for me with the first two babies. She is the baby that nursed the longest even after I went back to work!

Looking back, I think if I had access to the information I know now, and the availability of today’s high quality pumps…I might have, possibly would have had better success pumping. The most important point is that I still felt successful  and was happy with my breastfeeding relationship for all my children!

After all, I could squirt my milk the farthest!!

😉

More Carnival Posts:

Babies EVERYWHERE! Wordless Wednesday

Babies Everywhere!!

Babies Everywhere!!

I got this greeting card a while back and I adore it.

1950’s to 1960’s style maternity outing…

cloth diapers and outfits

Partial of the inscription inside reads:

“Whatever you’ve got,  bet your glad it’s not this!”

(Credit—> Shoebox division Hallmark)

Frustrations in Obstetrical Care …Culturally Sensitive? Oppressive Male Partners?

027 The drama  that went on here this weekend would be fodder for 10 or more Jerry Springer shows!

~Unreal~

I kept thinking…

“Please help me”

I am not and never have been prejudiced or bigoted in thought process, personality or behavior towards others. I am actually on a campaign to help educate our staff on being culturally sensitive and delivering culturally competent care in relation to obstetrical, breastfeeding and newborn care…. I’m currently organizing a quick reference handbook so certain beliefs & cultural values are better understood by our staff.

This type of sensitivity is very important to me.

It may not matter how I say this. Despite me trying to convince you that I am not intending to offend any type of people…..someone will most likely get annoyed or upset. I don’t usually enter into this type of discussion. I am quite adept at diffusing anger. I am not singling out a problem with any specific culture, ethnicity, or country of origin. I am not attributing any certain behavior to any certain culture.

 

This weekend, we had mother’s giving birth who have recently arrived in the United States from the following  areas: Argentina, Poland, Liberia, Egypt, Iraq, India, Dominican Republic and Nigeria. Sometimes their husband,  boyfriend or significant other was from yet another different country.  These are not unusual immigrants for our patient population. It is however,  unusual to have such diversity in a single 2-3 day period!

My concern is this— As a health care provider– how do you even begin to try to understand another’s strong belief’s or values when you are treated with tremendous disrespect and confronted with attitudes which are unusually demanding of the caregivers to “provide” for any and all needs. Now this is of course what we do…. provide for the needs of those in our care. That includes our responsibility for understanding different certain religious beliefs, cultures and their various norms and values. But this should be done within an environment or culture of MUTUAL RESPECT.

As  much as it is our responsibility to provide for those individuals in our care….. to be culturally sensitive. I feel there should at least be some responsibility on the part of the patient — and or their family- to learn what may be expected of them …. to communicate their history, needs and or wishes to the doctors and nurses~~ or at least to try to understand when it is explained to them at the time of birth and not lash out with anger or disrespect to their caregivers.  Is it too much to ask for a little bit of responsibility to understand at least a little something about what is involved in childbirth, postpartum, newborn care and the legal recording of birth in the facility, state and country in which they have come to and chosen to give birth!  {Many times I have been told they came here so their baby would be an American citizen.} Am I allowed to ask that those from other countries try to be somewhat sensitive to and try to understand our culture? I am not trying to victim blame here.  Really. Many of the patients exhibited rude entitled behaviors and were very disrespectful to staff.  We are all “others” to each other –> but one big blending of society. Lets ALL understand and respect each other.

Some of the behaviors we dealt with include:

  • A mother is married, the father of her baby is NOT her husband. The FOB becomes physically violent that his name can not be on the birth certificate–yet– until there is an affidavit submitted that the husband is not the father…. This turned into an all out fist fight between the the 2 men. “SECURITY!!”
  • A husband refused to allow his wife to be examined in labor during his absence, yet left for hours at a time demanding the hospital provide for his transportation to and from his business 15 – 20 miles away.
  • This same father would not allow his wife to speak for herself…. then called our unit many times after the birth when he was not there to say he was sure his wife was suffering from post-partum depression and we needed to treat her!
  • An unmarried young girl had a PFO against the father of her baby — She did NOT want to see his family yet that FOB’s family demanded to be allowed to visit, displaying hostility, speaking loudly and threatening staff  in a non-English language outside the entrance to our unit!
  • Another mother delivered and the father of her baby was currently in jail on drug charges. She met the criteria (for other reasons) where she and her baby were screened for drugs…. Both were positive for cocaine and heroin… sadly.. 😦  This infant needed to be placed in protective custody of Children’s Services and treated for withdrawal. This is always difficult and heart wrenching. This mother spoke very little english, was ANGRY the tests were done and we were not able to help her understand a situation of this magnitude easily with the language line….
  • Frenzied inpatient banging on the window and yelling for the only nurses’s attention to simply ask a question or get more supplies for their infant even though she was involved in an exam with a doctor on a new very sick infant and had signaled she’d be there “in a moment’…
  • The family and multiple extended family members demanding minute by minute updates on a sick newborn, interrupting our care by knocking on the doors and windows to the nursery… after we have explained all  minute by minute updates to the parents of that baby who were at the bedside.  I have a feeling that culture may have placed a value on the elders decisions over the actual parents, but this mother did not want the father’s family to be in the nursery with her. They don’t understand HIPAA or even know what it is! My job is to support the mother and keep her informed and with her baby.
  • A family not wanting to answer most of the questions for the birth certificate because… it was simply an invasion of their privacy. Alright then.. it will remain blank and the Bureau of Vital Statistics can deal with it, right?
  • A father of a baby requesting then ultimately demanding to speak to the doctor ONLY for each and every one of his questions.. (I am just a nurse).. did I mention it was the weekend?? We don’t have doctors present 24/7 !

 

 

There are times when these situations unfortunately occur. Many times the individuals involved are Americans who are 2nd or 3rd generation of mixed ethnic background or are of no discernable ethnic or cultural background, have lived in this country all of their lives and still exhibit the same type difficult personality traits.  Since they are more “Americanized” shall I say-or however is politically correct to discuss it— it isn’t so difficult to diffuse hostility’s, discuss options, assist with birth, newborn care, breastfeeding, do birth certificates…etc. It is my opinion that sometimes they understand things better simply from living here. We will ALWAYS encounter individuals with difficult personalities regardless of background who may be demanding in nature. They may not initially understand what’s happening but usually respond well to a gentle receptive approach.

That was NOT the case this weekend!

I only wish for strength and future guidance to help and support those who don’t quite understand.

Don’t yell at me or treat me with disrespect.

I ask those individuals new to our country to help themselves a little and learn some of our language and the framework for which we deliver our obstetrical care.

Please.

Initial Low Milk Supply: A Breastfeeding Story – Case Study

034     The History:

 One typical busy morning coming on shift, one of the couplets I received report on was a 3 day post-op C/S mom and baby who were scheduled for discharge this same morning.  She had been a long 3 or 4 day failed attempt to induce a vaginal delivery for fetal macrosomia (big baby) at 40 5/7 weeks before the C/S.  Lots of IV’s, lots of Pitocin… all before the birth.

Her baby weighed 10 lbs 4 oz at birth. We got in report that his glucose sticks had all been over 60 initially so they were stopped early on. His exams were normal.  His total bilirubin this AM was 11.3 at over 72 hours of age. He was “breastfeeding only”  (*sigh*from the nurse giving me report).  She then expressed a concern that  he was down 10% from birth weight weighing 9 lbs 4.5 oz today.  When I asked her about the feedings, she said he’s been nursing beautifully all the time but nobody’s had time to stay in the room and watch him feed. I asked about the output and she reported he’s been voiding, the last stool was a couple shifts ago.  Then the nurse added “We told her you were here today, Melissa, she has a lot of questions for you. ”

I was able to juggle some things around, have staff cover some of my other responsibilities temporarily to make this a priority. Since I am a general staff nurse, there are often more pressing situations. Fortunately, today I was able to manage the time to see her right away.

I went in and introduced myself to Meg*, Brad* and their son Mikey* (*names changed). They had indeed been waiting for me.  Breakfast was underway and Mikey was asleep in his crib. I asked her a few general questions in a relaxed manner about breastfeeding first to try to establish some background: Mikey’s energy level, drinking pattern, feeding frequency, and diaper checks.  It is important to gather information and observe the feeding  in the process of  a full evaluation to determine adequacy of feedings.  The information I got was concerning.  He spends a lot of time at the breast, falls asleep quickly, not very energetic with every feed, not much change in her breasts at this point and no stool since yesterday. I did not tell her I was concerned at this point, nor did I mention the weight yet. I asked if I could check him now and if  it would be alright if I observed the next feeding.. We determined that should be with in the next hour. I talked about feeding cues and asked her to get me if  Mikey seemed ready to eat before I came back.  His vital signs were normal, jaundice not too significant for his age, diaper contained a small amt concentrated urine, and Mikey went immediately back to sleep.  I felt he was OK at the moment and needed to go do a few other  things with other patients.
 
At this point I am feeling pulled in different directions because Meg’s situation could easily take hours of my already busy morning. I am upset that this has possibly been going on the last 3 days and hasn’t been evaluated properly, now it’s day of discharge! How do you do the proper evaluation, give the needed gentle support, make possible feeding plan arrangements in fragments of time? This is what I am trying to change…in my opinion, we the hospital, helped contribute to this situation of possible inadequate feeding and supply… we need to help her! I talk to the charge nurse and it’s cleared to keep my coverage the rest of the morning.. good thing L&D was quiet!
 
Mikey’s doctor comes in and thankfully it is a partner who is very pro breastfeeding and open minded to try options a mom may choose. I gave her report on his physical status, VS, weight, earlier glucoses, and the Bilirubin. I summed up my plan to evaluate feeding quality but suspected he has been ineffective at the breast & milk supply/production may be delayed. I added that I was going to check his glucose if he had low energy level, and encourage pumping or expression for the mom and get that milk into the baby as well as encouraging her to stay for a few feedings to work with me. The MD was happy with these ideas but requested he be supplemented (complemented) with formula at all feedings now until his weight came up. She supports the theory (as I do) that the birth weight can be somewhat inflated with all the pre-birth IV fluids mom rec’d and some of what he lost may be fluid.  The MD said that if things were better by afternoon, he could go home. She went out to examine him at mom’s bedside.
 
I went in for my feeding observation a little while later. Meg now knows his total weight loss and feels very upset. I give her a lot of support and agree with the doctor that some of that could be fluid. I then find out..Meg is an RN here at my hospital on another floor! It had not come up in conversation! So now I know she is even more worried because we nurses always think the worst! I do my best to think simple and encourage her to do the same… it is very early and we can turn this around quickly with a strong approach.
 
My Evaluation:
  • Good independent maternal positioning, holding and offering of the breast
  • Nipples erectile, breast tissue soft, pliable, small amts colostrum expressed–> mom reports her breasts were “swollen first 2 days”
  • Latch fairly adequate but not optimal-> improved greatly with football position and instruction on asymmetrical latch approach (I’d like to say here that I have a” if it’s not broke don’t fix it” attitude. I don’t correct a latch for a mom who has no pain and good milk transfer, we talk about it in case it may come up for though)
  • Mikey very sleepy at breast, difficult to maintain latch, no milk transfer observed–>breast massage during feed tried without improvement
  • Due to continued low energy level (suspected caloric deprived state causing sleepy ineffective feeding behaviors) a bedside glucose was checked. Result was 49.
  • Diaper dry–> the previous concentrated void was only his 2nd in last 24 hrs No stool last 20 hrs and that one was dark.
The mother’s feeding plan:
Many options and teaching points discussed with Meg including the need to boost caloric intake –>starting right now, methods to get her milk or formula into the baby avoiding bottles, a vigorous pumping plan to augment breast stimulation, alternate breast massage, how to observe for swallowing and milk transfer at the breast etc.. I also discussed with her how in my experience, sometimes it is like magic once the baby regains up to birth weight… they just take off!
She chose:
  • Cup feed formula now while she pumped –>Mikey would not cup feed so we used a syringe, 18 cc, repeat glucose 62
  • Pumping round the clock, double pumping –> Meg rented a hospital grade pump for home use
  • Keep close eye on feeding cues, put Mikey to breast in football w/ latch process discussed earlier
  • Closely watch signs for milk transfer, correct feeding activity while at breast, sucking rythym 1 or 2 sucks /swallow ( Brad was very involved in this process of learning the observation techniques)
  • Use breast massage/ compression while baby @ breast through feed to increase milk transfer
  • Goal of min 8 effective feeds in 24 hr..wanted to try for 10 –>agreed to feed expressed milk or formula 1/2 to 1 oz after each feed first 24 hrs until re-weighed next day
  • Have as 1st 24 hr goal:  to see 3 -4 increasingly wet/clearer diapers and at least 2-3 good sized stools
  • Return to MD for F/U bili and wgt check next day
  • Call IBCLC for eval in next few days if weight not adequate and not independently breastfeeding/output  within safe parameters for age

The follow up reports:

  • DAY 1 (In hospital) Mikey fed 3 more times in the hospital at 2 hour intervals.  Each time he had about 15 to 20 cc of formula by syringe. Each feed was improved but not adequate quality of milk transfer. Meg pumped 4 times before discharge not getting much first 3 times but 4th time she got almost 10 cc! Mikey had 1 conc wet diaper and a med sized dark stool. We re-weighed Mikey prior to discharge and he was 9 lbs 5.5 oz.  Meg left the hospital late that afternoon while I had been called to a STAT C/S. She was determined to go home after all the time she had been there! I called her later and she was on target with her plan.
  • DAY 2 (first 24 hrs home) Seen at Peds office. (reported to me from MD)  Bilirubin 10.6, weight–> 9 lbs 7.5 oz! Baby more energetic, better quality feeds reported. Meg still power pumping, now getting 1 -2 oz per pumping and giving to baby with syringe and only used formula occassionally if no breastmilk.  Had 3 wet and 2 stools since discharge, stools lighter in color. MD arranged F/U weight visit for 2 days, will arrange IBCLC if no strong improvement before 2 more days
  • AGE 6 1/2 days Seen at Peds office. (reported to me from MD) Weight–> 9 lbs 11 oz !!! Meg having fairly same routine but not always pumping if she feels Mikey had good milk transfer. She reported increased  breast fullness, 6 wetter, lighter urines and 4 mostly yellow stools in each of the previous 24 hr periods.
  • AGE 2 weeks  I don’t have MD office reports but Meg called me to tell me Mikey was 1o lbs 7 oz at his 2 week check up and nursing a lot better EVERY feeding!! She was still attached to her pump, gradually decreasing the sessions, just felt safer to keep going with that. If she gets milk she was still giving it to him. This was her security blanket and she was happy doing it. She was very proud of herself and crying happy tears! 🙂

Meg’s case was a beautiful example of HOW a situation can turn around quickly.  An individual mother’s determination coupled with a productive plan can produce these results. All situations are different.

Every mother and baby deserve our best!