From Romper: A “Baby-Friendly” Hospital Put My Son’s Life at Risk


“Okay, if he doesn’t have a wet diaper in the next two hours — say, by 11 p.m., you need to take him back to the hospital,” the doctor told me over the phone. These are not the words you want to hear from a pediatrician that you’ve never met, because you haven’t even had a chance to go to the doctor, because your newborn baby is 48 hours old and was discharged from the hospital that very afternoon — a baby-friendly hospital that put my son’s life at risk.

“Back to the hospital, back to labor and delivery?” I shrieked.

“No, to the Emergency Room.”

So when 11 p.m. came and went, we were back in the car on our way to the hospital. My son hadn’t had a wet diaper in over 12 hours, meaning he was dehydrated. Born with a bit of jaundice, as some babies are, dehydration is especially worrisome. When I called the pediatrician to note the lack of wet diapers, she suggested I give him some formula. Formula?! But I was breastfeeding. I didn’t have any formula in the house. I had a set of bottles but they were all for a much older baby.

…The doctor brought us the ready made formula bottles with the small nipples already attached. Why hadn’t anyone explained this to me? Why hadn’t I known to have formula on hand? How had my son become so dehydrated? These questions didn’t even cross my mind that night. The only thing I was concerned about was getting him home, and safe, and getting some fluid into him.

…By the time those first 48 hours had passed, my child was dehydrated — starving for sustenance — and at the hospital no one said a word to me about it. No doctor said: if he doesn’t have a wet diaper he may not be getting enough liquid. Or, if you’d like, you could give him some formula. No doctor or nurse ever mentioned the word formula.

According to the “baby-friendly” protocol, hospitals are not “to give infants food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.” The very mention of formula is prohibited, because it “discourages mothers from initiating and/or exclusively breastfeeding their infants.”

Read more at Romper.