We all know that the arrival of a baby in the family will mean frequent pediatrician visits, even if only for the well child visits to make sure the children are on “target”. I’ve also found that these visits tend to feel like parent teacher conferences and you’re the student who frequently forgets homework in the locker. And now you’re in trouble!
Okay… maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. My experience as a breast feeding mother of color which is the only experience I can relate to.
We’ve been categorized as women who don’t breastfeed, and if we do breastfeed perhaps we are fumbling our way through the many stages and curves that come along with a breastfeeding journey. As you may know by now I’ve experienced a lot of reverse support when it came to breastfeeding the twins, which catapulted me into this space of education and fact checking and peer seeking that continues to this day.
Today was Jojo’s 6 month visit. And it started like always growth chart, how’s he eating, how many diapers and how is he sleeping. Then the Question of the day. Where does the baby sleep? I’m an honest person and the truth is I am a mother who works full time. And if I got up and sat in the living room every time he wanted to nurse I would not be able to function. So I responded. “Well, now that he is older I bring the baby to my bed and I lay on my side to feed him and we fall asleep, and when I wake up I put him back in his crib which is also in my room.” WELL…before I could explain that we remove the blankets and move all pillows out of the way the Medical student went on a rant about how unsafe we are being, and that she is a deputy coroner and she “sees fatalities all the time.” I asked “Even with sober breastfeed mothers?” “Yes them too.” Was her reply. Immediately popped a RED FLAG, in my head I thought surely if there was an epidemic of smothered babies in the area this would become public knowledge. I simply said “Interesting”. Which led to a question of what I do for a living, (is this my check up or the babies?) . Ok so that was the end of that conversation. She ended with her mandate “Get the baby out of your bed.” And I said “Thank you.”
Fortunately, the pediatrician comes in next excited to see us, we happen to be one of her favorite families, I learned today.
Well the conversation continued on the subject of how I nurse in bed at night, and something amazing happened.
She proceeds to alert the doctor that it is now recommended that breastfeeding mothers are safest in BED with their babies when nursing at night and quotes the AAP.
AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
* Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
* Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
* Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
* Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Skin-to-skin care is recommended, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake, according to the report.
Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS. After feeding, the AAP encourages parents to move the baby to his or her separate sleeping space, preferably a crib or bassinet in the parents’ bedroom.
“If you are feeding your baby and think that there’s even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair,” said Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, FAAP, member of the Task Force on SIDS and co-author of the report.
“If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed,” she said.
“There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant’s breathing or cause overheating.” San Francisco, IL —
The other doctor stayed silent for the rest of the visit. It felt nice to have someone who understands what I am doing and that will stick up for me. I cannot stress enough that it is important to be your own advocate when going to the pediatrician. You are the spokes person for your child and family, walk into that doctors office presenting your best, and study for the most important job you have. BEING A PARENT. Knowlege is Power… even if it’s only having control over how you are treated and what you will accept.
If you choose to have bedsharing moments please make sure you do so safely.
We got a lot of comments about our cloth diapers. Some with shock and most with adoration. We love it!!!! Dad put this diaper on this morning … we’ve found that pockets are more beginner friendly.. good job dad!