Who did you look to for help when breastfeeding?
An "Authoritative power" is when someone is perceived as an expert in a field. We are much less likely to question someone who appears to be an expert or authority. Instead, it's common to "go with" whatever the recommendation is. We keep hearing over and over from women that they feel "hurried", unsupported and even downright bullied in appointments in many medical settings, especially in situations where anything is outside of the 'norm' is what the family is going for. It's very hard to find a voice for ourselves and our babies in a system that HAS to filter through a mass amount of people every. single. day.
Which leads us to this crack in our system.
Because, guess what? ....The truth is, MOST women rely on their nurses, OB's/Midwives, Pediatricians, Doulas, etc. for breastfeeding advice - however, there is often VERY little requirement for this knowledge in these professions.
We're talking 1-8 hours of info on average for each of them, and depending on where they are getting their info - the knowledge could be outdated or completely wrong altogether. I was required to take a 3 hour class and read 2 books on the subject for my doula training....so - yes - I'm calling out doulas here, too.
As a professional, if I wanted to be an expert at supporting breastfeeding mothers, I had to seek out the education and information on my own beyond my requirements, AND, I had to be humble enough to know when someone needed help beyond my knowledge or experience. Believe it or not, or - whether we want to admit it or not - there is a LOT of EGO in the birth-y and medical world and not a lot of people want to admit they are wrong or that they don't know something. I'm somewhere in the middle and from here it's all too clear that each "side" is full of people who make mistakes. Myself included. I think it's time we stop trying to be so right all the time and start trying to learn from each other and give and get support from one another. But....I digress.
My point is this: Do not hand over your trust to just anyone. Find out how they know what they know and if it doesn't seem to resonate with you, trust your intuition and maybe seek out a second opinion while doing your own research as well. Whatever you do - please know that you ARE NOT STUPID and that it is your responsibility to ask questions and find satisfactory answers that work for YOU and YOUR baby. Rely on dependable online resources, and, KNOW WHEN TO CONSULT A SPECIALIST. A Lactation Consultant or Breastfeeding Counselor is going to be far more qualified to give you more accurate personalized care to help you and your baby get nursing down. But, even LC's and BC's have been known to be too quick to throw a nipple shield at a mama.
This all has been on my mind so much over the past few years, which is why I connected with Kelly Emery to create a class specifically for birth workers because I believe it is important that ANYONE giving advice for breastfeeding in any capacity - MUST know what they are talking about as well as the resources available to them when a deeper level of care is necessary. I'm really hoping to give professionals accurate and helpful information along with the skills necessary to provide better support to breastfeeding mothers so we can all be the experts we are naturally perceived to be.
I want to note that there are PLENTY of kick ass nurses, OB's, Pediatricians, Doulas, Midwives, etc. who support nursing mamas all the time and deserve a great deal of praise. This article is in no way meant to offend anyone - it's meant to encourage the consumer to take accountability for their care and to ASK QUESTIONS. I think we can all agree that is ALWAYS a good thing.