Friday, August 8, 2008

Midwives & Breastfeeding

Continuing my theme of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to comment on how midwives support breastfeeding--primarily through a model of care that supports healthy birth. Healthy, undisturbed birth leads naturally to healthy, undisturbed breastfeeding.

"Solid scientific evidence shows that returning to birthing practices that preserve normalcy can accomplish many things: faster, easier births; healthier, more active and alert mothers and newborns; and mother-baby pairs physiologically and optimally ready to breastfeed." -Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding, by Mary Kroeger

The midwives model of care humanizes birth and involves fewer routine practices and interventions that interfere with breastfeeding. You can read more about this topic in a previous post.

The Midwives Model of Care involves:
  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
I would be remiss in posting about World Breastfeeding Week without mentioning La Leche League International (LLLI). LLL is the world's foremost authority on breastfeeding and has been offering mother-to-mother support for over 50 years! LLL is also a core partner with WABA who is the originator of the WBW celebrations. LLL is a single purpose organization--breastfeeding--but has roots in the birth movement as well, having been founded during a time in the U.S. when giving birth involved heavy sedation and very managed "deliveries." Many of the LLL Founders had homebirths during the early 50's. When I read birth books that reference birth practices of the 50's, I often get the impression that NO ONE was having homebirths in the 50's, but the LLL Founders certainly were! They chose to focus on advocating breastfeeding and mothering through breastfeeding. Mother-to-mother support is the hallmark of LLL and no one does it better! To check for a breastfeeding support group near you, visit LLL online.

No comments: