Imagine you are a new breastfeeding mother. You are anxious to suck up any and all information you can. You want to do right by your baby, at any cost. Now imagine you go to your provider. Any provider. Pick one – pediatrician, ob, primary care, dentist…etc etc. etc, and they tell you something about breastfeeding that doesn’t sound quite right. But it’s your doctor, so why would they tell you something that wasn’t accurate? That wasn’t up to date? That wasn’t evidence based?
Maybe they don’t know that what they are telling you isn’t accurate.
We put so much stock into what providers tell us. Honestly, they are just human beings (like us) with advanced education and training in a specific topic. Usually that specific topic is not lactation. So why do we just assume that they know everything? That’s not really fair to us, or to them. That’s a lot of pressure on one person. How are they supposed to know all the things?
I remember a mom telling me that she called her doctor for advice on how to deal with engorgement. The response she received was to go out and get cabbage leaves. Now, cabbage leaves can be a popular response to engorgement, but it is not an evidence based response to anything. When I call my doctor, I want an evidence based response that comes from recent research. It may come to a surprise to some, but most doctors and nurses do not receive much education regarding lactation. They just don’t. It’s not a priority. I have had conversations about this with many health professionals and they all say the same thing – lactation training is not part of the curriculum in nursing and medical school. It’s unfortunate, not to mention surprising, considering that breastfeeding is promoted and recommended, yet the training is lacking.
So how do you deal with the providers who pass along information that may be questionable, outdated, or just downright wrong? Well, there are options. Some just smile, nod and keep moving. Some choose to educate their provider with recent research and peer review articles. Some do neither, and just never go back to that provider again.
Tune in to listen to other ways to handle uneducated providers, and report back on how you would handle it.