Friday, 3 February 2012

Unplanned first night ever away from breastfed toddler

I wrote this on Wednesday 14th December 2011...

As I write this, I have just spent the first night ever away from my little girl, who will be three next week. It was the first time anyone else had ever put her to bed at night. I've always said that I'd never leave her for a night until she had self-weaned. But this didn't happen through choice, I was admitted to hospital yesterday (Tuesday) with gallstones and have to stay in for I.V. antibiotics to get rid of an infection before they can remove the gallstones. So it looks like I'll be here until Friday.

My mum has just been to bring her in for her morning feed. As soon as she saw me she ran over, climbed on me and asked for "more mama". She couldn't get to my "mamas" quickly enough! I was so pleased that she had a good feed because a few weeks ago she wasn't well and didn't feed for about a day and the next time she fed she said it was yacky and I had to talk her into feeding again. My milk must taste a bit different when she's missed a few feeds. So this morning, before she came, I hand expressed some milk out just in case. I really worry about being apart because my brother weaned when my mum had to leave him for four days. It would be so sad if something out of my control led to the premature end of our breastfeeding relationship.

Also, this morning, I experienced my first ignorant comment about breastfeeding an older toddler. And, probably not surprisingly, it came from a doctor (well, surgeon). Funny how nobody sees any reason to comment until you are in a medical establishment that ought to know better! In almost three years I've only ever had positive responses to my intention to allow my daughter to self-wean. Until today.

As I am having antibiotics, I told them I would need something that was compatible with breastfeeding, like Amoxicillin, and that I would like them to have some Nystatin and Daktarin cream ready for if we got thrush (I like to make sure they know what I'm talking about!). I also said my baby would need to come in for morning and bedtime feeds, at least. All this was written on my notes. So then people started asking how old my baby was and I said "Three next week"!

This morning, a surgeon came into my room to discuss the procedure and brought with him a team of junior doctors and nurses. There were about seven or eight of them in total. The first thing the surgeon said was "This lady is very interesting"! and then went on to say that I was still breastfeeding my three year old. Then he said to me "You'll be spoiling her". Nobody has ever told me I'm spoiling her before. I was actually quite shocked because I've heard other people say that they've been told they're spoiling their babies for one reason or another, but it's not something I've experienced before.
So, my response was "Erm, excuse me! You're supposed to breastfeed for at least two years. (surgeon looked surprised at this point) I'm following the World Health Organization recommendations to breastfeed for at least two years and I would expect you to know that, being a doctor." To which he replied that breastfeeding wasn't in his repetoire.
Well, at least he knows now. As do the junior doctors and nurses who were there.

Although I think the scenario this morning was quite amusing as it's not often that I am called "very interesting", it also makes me angry that such a basic fact should be omitted from doctors', surgeons', nurses', etc, training. This surgeon was genuinely surprised that it was recommended to breastfeed two year olds. When I think of all the articles I've read from publications such as "The Lancet" about the scientifically proven evidence for breastfeeding older children and the health giving properties of breastmilk, etc. A publication that's for the medical professionals to read. It's not really aimed at Mac Operators like me! Yet I wonder whether they ever keep up with research. Health professionals should be taught about natural duration breastfeeding. Afterall, it is the baseline of human health. The significant factor in a human reaching their optimum physical and mental potential. Something which impacts their jobs.

At least today, I have educated a small group of people. Shame I couldn't go into more detail with them! But my proudest achievement to date is that, as of next Wednesday, I'll be breastfeeding a three year old :-D

1 comment:

  1. There was a comment left on this post but for some reason, the post moved back to the drafts folder and I've had to republish it. So just to let the lady who commented know that that's why her comment isn't here anymore. Not because I've deleted it. x