Why I’m Angry With My Baby Friendly Hospital in Texas

As mothers, we always want the best for our babies and we worry what we do is never enough. 6 years ago, I had my first child when emergency C-section delivered her.  She was 8 pounds 12 ounces and healthy.  I was immediately told by my OB-Gyn to supplement her since she was such a large baby for 37 weeks.   The hospital had LCs and we requested to see her several times but she was a no show. We figured out fast we were on our own with breastfeeding, however we did take our OB-Gyn’s advice and started supplementing right at the start to maintain her glucose levels.  She never perfected her latch, so I exclusively pumped and she got everything she needed and we both liked our routine.

6 years later, I delivered my son early for pregnancy complications at 36 weeks but he was much smaller weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces. This time breastfeeding protocols were very different.  Formula was considered evil and no one could supplement their babies and exclusive breastfeeding was the only way to breastfeed my baby. However, after day one things gradually started going downhill.  My son latched very well and it was determined he was nursing perfectly. He nursed every one to two hours and we even had the second night “cluster” feedings we were informed about.

Little did I know, he was starving and not cluster-feeding and I had no idea!   But as you can see in this photo- he. was. starving.!

 

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Just One Bottle Would Have Prevented My Baby’s Permanent Brain Damage From Hypoglycemia

Written by Holly Lake

I wish I had known about the Fed Is Best Foundation before my 1st son was born. I felt enormous pressure to exclusively breastfeed at my hospital. My son was born at 37 weeks, weighing 5 pounds,13 ounces and he struggled to latch-on and breastfeed at each feeding. When I told the midwife, she came back with a leaflet which described how to hand express. She told me to express 1 mL of colostrum into a syringe and feed that to my baby whenever he struggled to latch.  I asked her if 1 mL was enough and she said it was because his tummy was very small and this amount would be fine until my milk came in. Note: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml.

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I was discharged hours later not feeling confident my baby was getting enough colostrum.  A midwife came out to see me at home on day 3 because I said I was worried about his feeding. He became extremely yellow (jaundiced), not very responsive (lethargic) and would let out random high pitch screams and would sleep all of the time and never wanted to feed by this time.  He also would have random body spasms which doctors shrugged off as normal baby reflexes (later we found out different).  The midwife said I could wait and see how he did overnight or go to hospital.  I chose to take him to hospital. When arriving, we found that he had lost 12% of his body weight and his blood sugars levels dropped dangerously low to 0.2 mmol/L (4 mg/dL) and was he was jaundiced. Continue reading

Why Were My 35 Week Premature Twins Fed More on Their First Day of Life Than my Full Term Breastfed Baby

I have three beautiful children: one nearly three year old boy, and one set of boy/girl twins, who are just three weeks old. If I could go back and change my eldest son’s first feeding  experiences on this earth, I would. I would have been happier and my baby healthier if he had just been fed while attempting to exclusively breastfeed.

When I was pregnant with my eldest boy, I fully intended to breastfeed him. We were delivering in a Baby-Friendly Hospital. I had never heard the term “Baby-Friendly” before becoming pregnant, but when my husband and I attended the hospital tour, we were told that the Baby-Friendly label meant that the hospital had achieved what was considered the gold standard in breastfeeding support. We attended the available lactation, birth, and parenting courses at the hospital. Whenever I was asked if I was planning to breastfeed my son, I proudly said, yes, I would. I was 34 years old, and I had never really considered infant feeding practices before becoming pregnant. From the information presented, it was obvious that breastfeeding was optimal.

I was told that babies did not need very much food in the first days of life. I was told that I would always make enough to feed the baby. I believed that the information I was receiving in these courses was truly the gold standard.

My son was born naturally after an unmedicated labor. He was placed on my bare chest, latched and I was told that we were doing great. I would nurse him and then he started screaming after each nursing session. Later, I learned that newborns aren’t meant to continuously scream after attempting to feed. They are meant to be satisfied and then sleep. The crying and screaming means something is wrong. I did not realize that my colostrum might not be enough to keep him fully fed before my milk came in. If I was informed that different babies have different caloric requirements at birth, and that my colostrum might not be enough right away, I never would have consented to not feeding my newborn for any period of time.  Continue reading

My Daughter Starved Because of My Determination to Exclusively Breastfeed and Lack of Knowledge on How to Supplement

By Jamie Nguyen

As new parents, my husband and I relied on professionals: doctors, nurses, lactation consultants to guide us in providing the best care for our newborn. But what happens if most of these professional have bought into a dangerous lie? The lie that all moms, except in very rare cases, are able to produce enough milk for a newborn baby.

After a long unmedicated labor that lasted over 36 hours, my daughter Noemie was born on November 2nd 2016. She was perfectly healthy and weighed 7 lbs 3.5 ozs. My goal was to exclusively breastfeed and the staff at the Baby-Friendly hospital were very supportive. Noemie lost 4% of her weight in the first 24 hours and we were told that it wouldn’t be anything to worry about until it got to more than 7%. However, she had become very fussy and inconsolable, but as we were new parents we just assumed that this was normal baby behavior. Having taken a breastfeeding class, I simply trusted that my body would make enough milk for her. I had been told that not being able to make enough milk was very rare. I asked to see a lactation consultant as I had previously had breast surgery to remove a benign lump from my right breast. The lactation consultant told me that I should have no problem breastfeeding from just my left side. She reassured me that my milk would “come in” sometime over the weekend at day 4 – 5. We were told to get a weight check at the pediatrician’s office on day 4.

Born healthy at 7lbs 3.5 ozs.

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Jillian Johnson and The Fed is Best Foundation Interview on the Doctors Show

By The Doctors Staff on 12:00 AM PT, May 9, 2017

I May Never Forgive The Hospital For Starving My Baby While Under Their Care!

On Easter morning, I gave birth to a perfect 7 lb 15 oz little girl named Coraline Quinn. Cora started life as the world’s happiest little baby. She almost never cried and just wanted to snuggle more than anything in the world.

However, our first visit with one of the lactation consultants immediately had me scratching my head. The lactation consultant reassured me that nobody would attempt to “sabotage my breastfeeding” in their facility, unlike others. Then they helped me get her to latch, said that we were doing great and that she was getting enough to eat. 24 hours later, she was a fussy mess that was inconsolable unless she was being held. We fed a ton, but she’d get frustrated and break the latch to cry every 3-4 swallows. Lactation was consulted again, and they reassured me that everything was fine and that these were standard findings for the second day and I continued feeding as instructed. Continue reading

I No Longer Judge Other Mothers; My Breastfeeding Challenges Have Absolutely Changed Me As a Mom, a Woman, And a Friend

As a nurse, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I learned everything I could about breastfeeding and I just knew that it would work for us. In nursing school, we were told that anyone could breastfeed that wanted to and I believed it. I would not even consider the possibility of feeding my children in any way other than nursing and was extremely judgmental of anyone who did not breastfeed their children. I honestly thought they were lazy and selfish and weren’t willing to put in the work.  I lived by the mantra that “breast is best!” My son was born and I was so excited to meet him and begin our breastfeeding journey.  Unfortunately, we struggled from the very beginning.  It was very difficult to get him to latch and when he did, he wouldn’t stay on very long.  Eventually, our son became difficult to wake up but the nurses responded to our frustrations saying, “he must not be hungry!” By discharge I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. I bravely went home, just knowing that it was okay, this was normal. We would figure it out because “breast is best.”

Dehydration2My husband and I cried a lot the first 24 hours home. We fought to wake our sleepy newborn up but we were rarely successful and when we were, we couldn’t get him to eat. I kept on, refusing to allow my husband to give our son any formula because I didn’t want it to ruin our breastfeeding relationship. We went to his newborn appointment when he was 4 days old. I knew at that point things weren’t going well but wasn’t prepared for the realities we were about to face. Our son had lost 13% of his body weight, he was hypothermic with a body temperature of 94.9, he was hypoglycemic, and had lost his reflexes. Our pediatrician looked at us with very sad eyes and kindly, but firmly, explained our son was very sick and needed to eat now. Continue reading

I Was Having Suicidal Thoughts Because I Was Shamed For Not Making Enough Breast Milk For My Baby

I gave birth in a hospital in Tel Aviv,  Israel.  I struggled with breastfeeding from the  moment I gave birth but the lactation consultant told me ‘it’s okay, your milk will come in a few days.  I went home and continued to breastfed all of the time, waiting for my milk to come in.

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After days and nights, 18-20 hours on the couch breastfeeding, I called a lactation consultant. She assured me that I have milk and all was great; this is just how it is and breastfeeding is hard work. She was really nice and positive about my milk supply and didn’t push me to exclusively breastfeed, but the moms I talked with did.  I joined breastfeeding clubs, I read blogs and stories of moms who breastfeed their 2-3 year old children without a problem.  I became more and more tired, I cried all the time and I stopped taking showers daily. I couldn’t look at my baby, I had constant pain and he cried all the time. I slept a maximum of 30 minutes each day.  I felt like my body and my life was taken from me. Continue reading

My Baby Had Been Slowly Starving – The Guidelines For Exclusive Breastfeeding Were Wrong

Written By :  Hillary Kuzdeba, MPH

Before I had my first baby, I was like so many other health professionals – I believed that breast was best, and that every mother should be encouraged to strive for exclusivity, as recommended by the major medical organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization. I prepared diligently for breastfeeding, speaking to lactation consultant co-workers, watching documentaries, reviewing breastfeeding educational resources, and talking with the breastfeeding mothers I knew. My husband and family were all extremely supportive of breastfeeding, because they too knew breast was best. I knew that breastfeeding could be challenging, but I was prepared to make it work. And everyone assured me that it would, as long as I was dedicated.

My daughter was born at 37 weeks, 2 days after a difficult unmedicated labor, and vaginal delivery. She was a tiny little thing, just over 6lbs but she was strong and healthy. She was born with moderate cranial bruising from the almost six hours of pushing it took to get her out. She was immediately put skin to skin, and we had our first nursing session within 20 minutes of her arrival.

Due to her early term status and her bruise, we were told she was at risk for jaundice. (hyperbilirubinemia) While they told us that they would be watching her bilirubin levels closely, and were encouraged to attend the hospital’s breastfeeding class, we were allowed and encouraged to continue with our original plan of exclusive nursing. Despite my high level of breastfeeding education, I had never learned about this condition, and I didn’t know that it can be greatly exacerbated or triggered by dehydration. I had never been educated on starvation related complications, and only knew that occasionally some babies lost too much weight due to milk supply problems. I had heard of jaundice, but everything I had read indicated that it was “common” in breastfed babies and nothing to worry about in most cases. Regardless, my great care team didn’t seem to be concerned enough to recommend a change in feeding plan, so we just continued with our original plans as if she was like any other baby. Continue reading

My Son Was Exclusively Breastfed and Was Admitted with Hypernatremia and Jaundice the Next Day After Discharge

By Brooke Orosz, Ph.D. Professor of Statistics and Math, Fed is Best Advisor

My son was born 2 years ago today. In my seventh month, he was diagnosed with a condition called intrauterine growth restriction, basically his placenta wasn’t working right, and he was growing too slowly as a result. To prevent complications, he was delivered by c-section at 37 weeks. He weighed just 4 pounds 15 ounces and appeared to have no baby fat at all, but he was vigorously healthy, and was able to spend his hospital stay with us rather than in NICU. We were absolutely over the moon.20

At 48 hours old, his bilirubin was just over 10. Shortly before his discharge at about 80 hours old, a staff member weighed him and discovered that he had already lost 11% of his body weight, but they did not tell us this. Despite several risk factors, no one suggested an additional bilirubin measurement before going home or counseled us on the risks of severe jaundice. We left the hospital with the impression that everything was going perfectly.

The next morning, we went to the pediatrician, who sent to the hospital for another bilirubin check. An hour later, he called us and told us to drive our son to the regional NICU. At readmission, he had lost 14% of his body weight, his sodium level was 159, and his bilirubin was over 19. He had to stay in the hospital overnight, and we had to leave him behind.

 

My Son in the NICU Admitted for Hypernatremic Dehydration and Jaundice

I cannot praise enough the NICU staff, a doctor, several nurses, a social worker and an LC. They acted swiftly and effectively to save my son’s life, preserve his brain function and restore his health, and treated his father and I with extraordinary compassion on the worst day of our lives. I wish I remembered their names so I could name them, instead I will merely thank the NICU staff of St. Barnabas Hospital.

The hospital where he was born was Clara Maas. I cannot name one single staff member who was clearly negligent, I think it was more a case of him slipping through the cracks. The on-staff LC never checked on us after the first day, and I still don’t know exactly who knew what, when or who made which decision. Nevertheless, they allowed an at-risk newborn (37 weeks and Small-for-Gestational-Age) to go home without double-checking that he was safe or providing any special instructions for his care. Personally, I would not deliver another baby there.

Details of the incident have been reported to Clara Maas hospital in a formal complaint, and to the Joint Commission.

My Son at 2 years of Age

 

Brooke Orosz, PhD is a professor of mathematics and advisor to the Fed is Best Foundation. After her son’s crisis, she was stunned to learn that readmissions for nursing problems are commonplace, and that they are not tracked or penalized by health authorities. Since then, she has used her knowledge of statistics to study the problem and to advocate for evidence-based feeding protocols that put the baby’s safety and comfort first.