This week, Time Magazine published an article talking about a growing trend of women who choose breast milk for their infants, but choose not to breastfeed. Several reasons were cited in the article. Some women simply don’t like the feeling of breastfeeding, which from experience is indeed a unique sensation. Other women thought they could be more efficient if using a pump to expel breast milk as they could pump both breasts simultaneously whereas breast feeding takes twice as much time. The third reason cited was that some mom’s “are a bit neurotic” and felt better knowing exactly how much milk their babies were getting-an impossibility with traditional breast feeding. The fourth, and final reason had to do with difficulties breast feeding due to poor latching by infants, inverted nipples or other such anatomical problems.
I’ve always been told that ‘wearing your baby’ is the best thing you can do as a mom, or dad. Babies like to be close to their parents. The warmth and heartbeat of mom and dad are soothing, calming, and parents have been carrying their infants since the beginning of time.
With each of my three children, I tried the baby sling- the one that goes over one shoulder and acts like a little sack that they can sit in.
I had seen moms and dads carrying their babes (and toddlers) in these contraptions, and I was impressed. Two hands free with your baby on your hip. The problem was that my infants just didn’t take to it. They didn’t seem to like the ‘C’ shape that was forced on their little bodies and arched their backs in protest. They seemed to get lost in there, and the top of the sling would cover their face, which made me more than a little nervous. It hurt my shoulder. I couldn’t get it to be comfortable for either myself or my kids. I eventually gave up- feeling defeated and not quite up to snuff compared with all my hippy-mama friends who seemed to sling with ease.
Due to overwhelming commentary on the health care reform bill, I am attempting to read it all and highlight the main ‘talking points’. Although I agree that the bill has it’s flaws, it is a great step in the right direction.
The Constitutionality of the Health Care Bill
Opponents of the Health Care Bill, including the Attorney Generals of several states are planning to sue the government over the ‘unconstitutionality’ of the bill. “They are expected to sue over the bill’s mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance” saying that it infringes on ‘state sovereignty’. Yet federal law always trumps state law.
Furthermore, under the commerce clause (Article I, Section 8 of The Constitution) Congress has the power to regulate activities that, taken cumulatively, have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. People not purchasing health insurance unquestionably has this effect. Everyone, at some point in their lives will need health care, and requiring people to have health insurance to offset the costs of taxpayers having to pay for people who don’t have health insurance creates a scenario where no one will be an undo burden on the government. You would think that republicans would like this as it is a lesson in personal responsibility.
Democrats were successful at passing the first major health care legislation since the New Deal. This is great news for moms and babies. The law has added the following provisions related to maternal/pregnancy and birth health care:
Medicaid reimbursement will be available for Certified Professional Midwives working in licensed birthing centers. I am hoping this will open up the door for midwives to open up birthing centers all across the nation, allowing low income women living in rural and underserved areas better access to midwifery-based maternal and child care. This is a win-win situation for women and midwives-hopefully providing choices in health care that more effectively address the cultural differences in the communities where these women live. When women feel honored, and are being cared for and served by providers that understand their culture, language and social norms, it will create an environment of support and empathy-rather than one that may leave women feeling scared and powerless at a very vulnerable time in their lives. Midwives can now effectively serve these women knowing that their work will be paid for by insurance.
The National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, representing 59,000 Catholic Nuns came out in support of Obama’s health care plan today- going against the Catholic Bishops, who are opposed.
You go girls! : )
In their statement, they say, “We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor. We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment.”
I usually don’t write too much about international stories as there is so much going on right here in the ol’ US of A, but this story really hit a nerve as it sheds some light on our own midwifery history.
Taiwan used to have a rich and thriving midwifery profession since at least the late 19th century and probably much before that. It is estimated that midwives delivered 400,000 babies annually up until the 1960’s. With the advent of economic prosperity in the 1970’s and the introduction of socialized health care in 1995, many proverbial nails have been put in the midwifery coffin, so much so that the state is planning to cancel the midwifery licensing exam all together as only 7 people in the entire country signed up to take it this year. Where there used to be 20 midwifery schools, now only one remains. Of the 300 registered midwives, only about 1/2 are practicing- delivering maybe a dozen babies a year. It’s very sad.
Pam is the author of Birthing From Within, a former midwife, and she’s been teaching childbirth classes for 30 years!
You will learn:
-practical knowledge every parent needs to know;
-a variety of mindfulness practices to help you cope with the intensity and unknown of labor and your postpartum return;
-how to ask questions and get information;
-how to cultivate confidence for labor or postpartum;
-how to welcome your baby;
-tips for your transition to parenthood and
-a Special Class to prepare fathers/partners for labor and postpartum;
Kaiser Permanante, a large hospital chain, recently introduced a new nurse-midwifery program to their Hawaii hospital. The nurse-midwives work in a team with doctors where the midwives are assigned to women who are expected to have a normal, uncomplicated birth. The doctors are available should any unforeseen situation arise. So far, the birthing women love the new arrangement and the doctors are ‘ecstatic’. WOW! That’s just great! It’s just another example of how changes in approach and attitude can work wonders in the favor of birthing women, midwives and doctors. It didn’t hurt that the head of obstetrics at KP saw the integration of midwives as “a big dream I had from years ago.” He was partially trained by midwives while in residency, and midwives have been an integral part of the team at several hospitals he worked at.
And we wonder why a hospital birth costs nearly seven times as much as a home birth…
Did you know that in 1940, 44% of births were home births? In 1969 (my birth year), the percent of home births was just 1% and has remained that low until recently. The trend of out-of-hospital birth (one that happens either at home or in a free-standing birthing center) has increased by 3% since 2004 (up until 2006-which is the latest data they have). In 2006, 61% of home births were delivered by midwives—16% by certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and 45% by other midwives.