Valedictorians and Breastfeeding?

It’s no secret that I love babies, childbirth, breastfeeding and all the joys and challenges that come with growing families. My mind easily wanders to my passion, and so it was no surprise to my family seated around me at my oldest daughter’s high school graduation commencement that my mind took a trip for a little while. Now the graduation exercises were 2 hours and 45 minutes, so don’t be too hard on me that I spent a few minutes in Baby-Friendly land.

Here’s what prompted the mental vacation. Katie Martin, one of the very articulate 14 (yes, 14!) valedictorians said in her speech, “Keep asking the world, ‘What are you not showing me?’ and nothing will ever be written in stone.”

Now THAT’S what I want in my life! WORLD, I IMPLORE YOU! Show me everything that is not already obvious to me.  To do otherwise would be to stand stagnated, ensnared in our own ignorance and successes.

I began to think of all the medical practices we once thought were satisfactory, going way back to bloodletting and frontal lobotomies. When the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis suggested in 1847 that obstetricians should wash their hands between patients, his colleagues were outraged. Gentlemen, after all, do not carry disease-spreading germs. Decades passed before hand washing became an accepted practice.

Nurse friends of mine who have been around longer than me tell how they used to not feed babies at all for the first 24 hours of life. That way, if a baby had a problem with his or her gut, the physicians would have time to detect it before complicating matters with milk. It used to be routine to take a baby from the mother immediately after birth and keep the two separated for hours.  And remember shave preps and enemas! Well I don’t, but I’ve heard stories. Ask your mother or grandmother to tell you how it used to be done.

The number of hospital traditions that have gone by the wayside because there was never any scientific foundation for them to begin with should make us pause each day and ask ourselves, “World, what are you not showing us!”

CONGRATULATIONS class of 2012! Go see the world!


About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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