Warming the Baby
Patricia Gima, IBCLC
I was working with a client at the hospital recently. (I do sometimes go to a hospital, on invitation.) Baby was all bundled up, and mom questioned our taking her out, as her temp had been a bit low at 2 checks. I assured her that baby would feed much better if we could see other than her face.
After a good feeding, I told mom that her body would warm her baby to the right temp, so she got comfortable with baby on her chest, with both of them covered in the blanket. Next temp check, baby was just right.
We don't realize how many contraptions we use as substitutes for the real, and more effective, things. There is a deep aversion to body, and a deep admiration of things manufactured.
I was thinking of this today in light of some parents' reluctance to pay for a LC consult. They will not blink at the very high cost of the all of the "necessary" equipment for nursery, carrying, rolling on sidewalk, remote detecting, pumping, bouncing or vibrating, artificially feeding, entertaining, stimulating, etc. But one consult--or especially a follow-up consult (!)-- seems unnecessary and excessive.
To go to a store and come back with an expensive item that they can carry and see, feels like taking care of their baby; but the hourly, daily feeding, holding, singing-to, bouncing-on-knee are not seen as valuable. Could some of this come from the "object" affection these parents had for their food-delivery system as infants? Or from *their* parents' feeling that to *give* food or a toy said love?
To "give" a baby a bottle is a usually a subject/object activity. To breastfeed (or nurse) a baby is a oneness experience. So is cuddling, bathing together, dancing with, and stroking. Those things that connect us physically also connect us emotionally and say "Love" at a cellular level. And we *have* those things, not needing to manufacture or purchase them.
April 3, 1998
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