Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oooohh, weeee, hey! What up wit dat?

Before Betty White came on the scene, Kenen Thompson as D'Andre Cole was the best thing to ever happen to Saturday Night Live. Seriously. We love this skit so much that even my son is liable to bust out with a perfectly timed, "What up wit dat?"

So when I saw a blog post with the phrase in the title I was prepared to laugh. Unfortunately, there's not much funny about this post. You see, Melissa Nagin is the author of the breastfeeding page and an IBCLC. Her sister recently gave birth in an NYC area hospital and the advice she got from the attending pediatricians was less than stellar. On two separate occasions, Melissa overheard her sister being told that she needed to supplement with formula until her milk came in in order to prevent jaundice.

All together now, "He say, she say, we say, me say, what up wit dat?"

Although jaundice is very common in breastfed babies, it seems there is some serious jaundice phobia in the hospital. According to Dr. Sears, jaundice in the breastfed baby can last up to three weeks and "most newborn jaundice is harmless." So why so much supplementation of the breastfed baby with formula to prevent that something that for the most part is normal and not a cause for concern?

The only theory I can come up with is that this is just another case of hospital overkill due to fear of litigation. The same reason laboring women are required to have IV fluids, are subjected to continuous fetal monitoring and ushered off to the OR if they don't progress within a certain time frame. I know that my son was jaundiced and got formula in the hospital, despite my protestations. When we left the hospital we were instructed to sit outside in the shade or inside near a window so he could get some sunlight. However, no one talked to me about how unrestricted nursing is the best cure for jaundice or checked to make sure that my baby was nursing well before we went home. I still wonder "what up wit dat?"

Was your breastfed baby jaundiced? Did your baby receive formula in the hospital? What advice did you get from your pediatrician?

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