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By Carrie Arnold
April 18, 2020
Ditching formula, nurseries and pacifiers is supposed to help encourage breastfeeding, but the research is mixed on whether the ‘Baby-Friendly’ approach is best.
Until her third child was born, Jennifer Bronsnick believed that exclusive breastfeeding was an obvious, even beautiful, choice. But everything changed with the birth of her youngest daughter, from the moment she first brought her to her breast.
“It was the most excruciating pain I had ever been in in my entire life,” she said.
Just hours after delivery, her husband needed to head home from the hospital to care for their two older children, leaving Bronsnick without some of the support she had had during previous stays. She initially hoped that the hospital’s nursery would take the baby off her hands for long enough so that she could recover from birth, but found that her hospital was implementing a new series of strategies aimed at promoting breastfeeding, an approach known as the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (B.F.H.I.). Bronsnick was encouraged to exclusively breastfeed (giving her baby no food or drink other than breastmilk except in cases of medical need). Her newborn was also required to stay with her 24/7 so that they could bond and get a successful start to their breastfeeding relationship.
“I was afraid to go to the bathroom,” Bronsnick said. “You literally had to beg them to take the baby.”
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