DO WE NEED A LACTATION CENTER AT ALL??
I never knew I will be asked this question. As a matter of fact, I started MILC center (our Lactation Center) as I felt there was a need for such a center. So I was taken aback when a good friend of mine asked me why our society needs lactation centers? The person asking me the question did not have the opportunity to see the variety of problems faced by lactating mothers.
Talking about problems in a conservative and breastfeeding friendly society made me wonder – Are problems not there or are we just sweeping them under the carpet and claiming to be a breast-feeding friendly society, hospital and center.
Feeding problems exist. They are common. Many are minor issues. If corrected early by simple guidance and support they would not spiral into a major lactation failure. Some issues are major and need specialist guidance from day 1.
My friend shot back- We never had these during those days. So are these problems more frequent these days? Or is it because we are copying the western culture and tending to look at breast feeding as a choice for the mother rather than as right of the child?
Now I knew she was listening. She was just waiting to be convinced. So I strategically answered the question.
- Yes- More and more mothers are ready to discuss these problems as they feel empowered to do so.
- I feel that most mothers do feel breast feeds are the babies right. They understand the advantages of breast feeding. Hence we seldom have to convince mothers regarding this. But most mothers want a definitive evidence that their baby is adequately breastfed. There are a few objective signs which we do explain. But due to social pressure and anxiety they often develop self doubts leading to wrong conclusions, decisions and inappropriate actions. These mothers need that extra- effort from the health care system to keep them in right tract. This is provided by the Lactation consultant now.
- With improved antenatal care and infertility centre growing rapidly, more and more mothers with medical disease conceive. These pregnancies have higher rate of complications making establishment of breast feeding early difficult,leading to problems. These mothers benefit a lot from lactation consults.
- Preterm care has taken large strides. These babies often require special feeding techniques and appropriate transition to breast feeding at later date which can be achieved only if a lactation consultant is involved in the team.
- Thus I don’t think the problems are just a mimic of the western world. we have our own unique problems and we need to address these issues rather than turning a blind eye to these.
Madam friend was convinced!! What started as an argument turned into an educating discussion for her. Still I need to share some evidence with her. Will do so with you all in the future.