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    MY ASK

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 2nd, 2020

    MY ASK

    I was asked to be the OB/GYN Breast feeding Champion for my hospital. My job is to remind my colleagues to discuss all the various facets of breast feeding with their patients so that the patients are prepared to make an informed decision regarding how they will feed their babies. We know that if patients get adequate education and support during their antepartum (prenatal) visits they are more likely to choose breastfeeding as the method to feed their baby.

    AUGUST IS BREASTFEEDING AWARENESS MONTH. The theme this month is MANY VOICES UNITED. Here is MY ASK – I would like all of you to be COMMUNITY BREASTFEEDING CHAMPIONS. No experience is necessary. You could be female or male. It does not matter whether you have had a child or not. It does not matter if you have or have not breastfed. All you need is the desire to keep our SISTERS ALIVE AND HEALTHY. Breastfeeding saves lives and saves money.

    I am aware that there will be some women who will not be able to breastfeed for medical reasons. We do have DONOR MILK which has the same benefits. I will discuss that at a later blog. Do know, if donor milk is chosen, it has to come from a donor bank to be safe. This is to make sure all the necessary screening is done and that the milk is pasteurized.

    What does it mean to be a COMMUNITY BREASTFEEDING CHAMPION? You will be doing everything I have asked you to do for the past two years and more:

    Talk about breastfeeding as a norm – Breastfeeding is part of life and we should tout the benefits of breastfeeding.

    Advocate for women by registering to vote – You can influence legislation that promotes breastfeeding – paid maternity leave for all, limiting the influence that formula companies have on elected officials, etc.

    Advocate for women in your workplace– have a dedicated private place for nursing, allow adequate breaks and have a refrigerator dedicated to storing milk.

    When buying gifts for a baby shower, buy gifts that support breastfeeding – nipple pads, nursing blouse, breastfeeding pillows, breast pumps, milk-saver (collects leaking breast milk as the mother nurses), etc.

    If you have a positive story about breastfeeding – share the story– It is often the negative stories that make social media.

    Offer options – If latching is a problem, milk can be expressed and put in a bottle. What is important is that it is breast milk the baby is getting. Hand expression is an option if a pump is not available.

    Breastfeeding can be exhausting – offer to run errands, clean the house and/or babysit the other children in the house. If the mother sleeps when the baby sleeps, she will get enough sleep. It is okay for mothers not to entertain.

    Be a cheerleader – provide encouragement, give a hug, be present – Mothers need you especially those that are new.

    Be aware of the resources that are available – click here.

    Recruit more champions – We need everyone.

    Thank you.

    In case you were curious what I will be doing as a an OB/GYN Breastfeeding Champion, I will be encouraging health care providers who see pregnant women to discuss the following:

    Benefits of breast feeding – Mother and baby benefit from breast feeding. For the mother, breastfeeding decreases the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and heart disease. It helps with weight loss. For the baby, breast feeding decreases the risk of asthma, ear infections and food allergies. It decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

    Risks of supplementation – When you add formula, there is an increased risk of being sick and having the baby fussy. It decreases mother’s milk supply.

    Skin to skin – When the baby is born, the baby is placed on the mother as soon as possible. This can also occur even after a cesarean section. Skin to skin helps keep the baby warm. It calms baby and helps with bonding. It aids in the breastfeeding process.

    Rooming in – Baby stays in the room all the time and does not go to a nursery. In some hospitals, the pediatrician can examine the baby in the room. By having the baby in the room, baby sleeps better. It helps with demand feeding, meaning the baby eats when hungry. It will allow the new parents to learn when the baby is hungry (feeding cues).

    Cue based feeding – although the baby cannot say, I am hungry; there are ways that the baby behaves that will tell the mother when the baby is hungry. The baby starts to move around, the baby turns the head, the baby starts to stretch, the mouth opens and the hand will go to the mouth. The last cue is the baby cries.

    Breastfeeding position – there are several positions that a mother can use make breastfeeding easier. Usually the hospital will have a lactation specialist to help. By having the baby in a comfortable position, this will increase the amount of milk and prevent sore nipples.

    4 Responses to “MY ASK”

    1. Alanla Jackson says:

      I am definitely in favor of being a Community Breastfeeding Champion! I breastfed my three sons, two years for each son, and they were hardly ever sick. If I remember correctly, I think only one had an ear infection. Breastfeeding means the milk is always at the right temperature and, after changing the diaper, mother and baby can snuggle in for feeding, and I even would read to my older (or next older) son when sometimes nursing the baby. I can give enough praise for the benefits of breastfeeding, both for baby and mother!

    2. Bea says:

      I, too, am in favor of being a Community Breastfeeding Champion.
      Breast milk is very good for the growth of our babies!! I breastfed my daughter…it was so convenient and hassle free without mixing formula and cleaning bottles. I hope more mothers would consider breastfeeding.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thank you for agreeing to be a Community Breastfeeding Champion. Sharing our stories is very important.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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