Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Should doctors give advice on breastfeeding?

How many times have you heard someone say that they had to stop breastfeeding because of something a doctor did or said to them? I can't even count the times I've seen or heard it. Formula is pushed on moms more then cigarettes are pushed on people (personal opinion...I have no backing for that!). I'm not saying formula feeding is bad. That's now what this post is about. This post is about the misinformation and bald faced lies that are shoved down moms throats in the medical community by many doctors. It infuriates me how little doctors know about breastfeeding. I have heard that doctors don't even get a full day of lactation information in medical school. How long are doctors in medical school? EIGHT years. And in EIGHT years they get a day of breastfeeding training? ::barf::

There are VERY few cases where moms can't actually breastfeed. VERY few. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, it absolutely does but so many times moms quit, don't even do it to start out with or "fail" (I hate that word) at breastfeeding because of what their doctors tell them and that's simply not right. So many moms depend on what they are told by their doctors and don't even KNOW they can question them. There just isn't enough education and correct information out there and so many doctors don't help the situation.

I truly believe that each and every clinic that deals with mothers or babies (sooo...pretty much every clinic and hospital there IS) should be REQUIRED to have lactation people available for moms to ask question to.Whether this be doctors who have had lactation classes, lactation counselors or lactation specialists it should be a requirement for all clinics. If a mom asks her OB, family practitioner or pediatrician a question about breastfeeding and they haven't had that training they shouldn't be allowed to answer it. Plain and simple. Think about it. When you get an x-ray, can just anyone tell you the results? Um, no. It has to be the SPECIALIST. Which should be the requirement for breastfeeding as well. Doctors and nurses are constantly having to go through classes to brush up on information and recertify in stuff so why not lactation?

I can't even begin to imagine how many moms would be able to successfully breastfeed if they had support from their doctors offices. I did a quick look up and it costs somewhere around $500 for someone to become certified in lactation training. I bet if clinics had a huge course where they had multiple people taking it, it would be even cheaper. Now, how much money would be saved if more moms breastfed? Let's think about this. WIC gives out formula, food shelves, overall babies are healthier and have less infections and diseases if they are breastfed, moms have a decreased risk of multiple illnesses and cancers if they breastfeed....so what's a measly $500 compared to the millions of dollars in savings that would occur if more moms breastfed?

This would be SUCH an easy thing to get going in clinics. It doesn't take long to do breastfeeding education training. I have a dear friend who recently became a certified breastfeeding counselor. It took her a week. I'm sure it would take even less time for a doctor or nurse to go through this training because they already have medical training. And if a clinic employed lactation counselors or lactation consultants, even though they would have to hire more people and that would cost them, again I go back to the fact that breastfeeding saves MILLIONS of dollars and COUNTLESS lives so the cost of hiring lactation specialists is nothing next to that.

I really believe that doctors who don't have training shouldn't even be allowed to say the freaking word breastfeeding much less give out information about it. I was once at the doctors office for a check up and asked my practitioner if she could take a listen to Ella to make sure she didn't have anything in her lungs. She couldn't because she didn't have training in pediatrics. So why can just anyone give any information they want on breastfeeding?


  1. I'm looking into where I can go in my area to become a Lactation Consultant. There just aren't enough of them in this area. At least not that I've seen.

  2. ITA MamaChrista!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but you already knew that, right LOL:)

  3. Awesome post. Excellent points. Sharing.

  4. There are many things doctors give out faulty advice for, which makes me question their credibility in general.

  5. Love your passion- and you make a great point that if anyone is offering advice to a new mom, it should be good advice- and doctors should be very careful not to give opinions that come across as official recommendations when spoken from the white coat.
    I am a pediatrician and an IBCLC. It cost more like $1000 and took about 4 months to study and prepare for the exam- which is only given once a year- and the results didn't come for another 3 months! But all worth it. I'd love for the IBCLC curriculum to be required for all Peds and OBGYNs.
    Luckily, there are many whoa re already working towards this goal,