Originally Posted by QueenOfTheMeadow
Apparently it has increased the rates of breastfeeding already.
I agree many women have to return to work, and there are many mothers who are not given the places or the time to pump and keep milk. But, even 2 weeks of breastfeeding for a baby can have lasting effects on the babies health. And maybe if women were more educated with the fact that their chldren are at higher risk for many diseases without breastfeeding, those options will become more open.
As far as getting less quality of care from nurses, I would think that giving mothers information that allows them to make educated choices would be giving them better care, not less. But, maybe in order to save time, they could add the talk to the new baby class that most parents are required to take before leaving with their baby.
There are a lot of changes that need to take place to support the breastfeeding relationship between mothers and babies. I think this is a good step in the right direction. Honestly, I think that this move will lead to more options for mothers to breastfeed or pump at work. Wouldn't it be great if mothers wouldn't have to choose between giving their babies the best possible start in life and continuing with their careers?
I see the stat you're quoting, Queen of the Meadow, but I wonder whether the increase in breastfeeding rates at one hospital might be more of a marketing effect - the hospital has, and publicizes, a "breast feeding friendly" policy, women who already know they feel strongly about breast feeding see it as a benefit and chose that hospital, while women who know they're likely to need formula go elsewhere. The program doesn't start citywide for another month, and we won't be able to evaluate its citywide effect for quite some time.
My concern about quality of nursing care isn't that it's not good to give patients information, it's that I haven't yet seen a hospital with too much nursing staff. Giving nurses a deliberatly time-consuming set of extra work is bad, IMO, because nurses already have a ton of genuinely time-consuming, vitally necessary work to do. There are only so many hours per shift, and only so much staff. The number of hours of nursing care available to patients is finite, and the number of hours that can be absorbed by patient needs is infinite. I've spent a big chunk of my time in the hospital lately, and I've sometimes had to wait an hour and a half for tylenol, because I happened to start hurting just at the beginning of rounds. Imagine waiting that long to feed your hungry baby. Maybe longer, because your nurse has to round up a second nurse to go get it. (Would you, in that time, just give up and nurse the baby? Maybe. Or maybe you're already bleeding from a milk blister, or maybe you're a sobbing hormonal wreck. Or maybe you've just sent your partner to buy you some at the grocery store, that you will mix up with warm-ish water from the tap in the bathroom, and feed the babe out of a bottle and nipple you didn't get a chance to wash first.)
Also keep in mind - this policy as written isn't just going to apply to healthy women who we can smugly presume don't know better, it also applies to SA survivors who find nipple stimulation traumatic, and to breast cancer survivors who don't even have mammary glands anymore. I sincerely hope that it's not expected to apply to the NICU, where they're pretty free with formula, for really good reasons.
I think it is naive to expect that this program will have any effect outside the hospitals it's implemented in. Employers are already supposed to be legally required to provide space and pumping breaks for employees, and bunches of them are in various kinds of violation of that law. This program involves NO incentives for employers. NOTHING. So why should they spend money (which they'd have to do) to comply with a legal requirement that it's clear they can safely ignore? What about this program makes it worthwhile for them to do that?
I do think it would be great if women didn't have to choose between giving their babies the best possible start and continuing their careers. Design me a program I think has half a chance of helping that happen, and I will leap gleefully on board. I'll bring me, and friends, and money, and we can get that program going all over. This? Does not look to me like that program.
I even worry about how you've phrased it - "Continuing their careers." Every time we shift a conversation about women and children from "jobs" to "careers" we insert the implication that women's work isn't really vital. Surely they could back burner their ambitions for just a few years. For a lot of women, getting back to work is about keeping the rent paid. For a lot of women, nursing or not isn't about balancing the baby's needs with their ambitions, it's about ensuring that they don't lose the job that keeps them from being homeless. It's about making sure that they limit the risk that they'll lose their health insurance. I think we need to confront that need in these conversations, and recognize that women's work is necessary to many families, and can't be traded in for incremental advantages.
Edited by MeepyCat - 8/2/12 at 8:20am