Is Breast Best?

Is Breast Best?

People always wonder if pregnancy and motherhood is easier when you are an obstetrician. The short answer – no. Nothing about this journey was as expected, and everything about it was more challenging than I had anticipated. However, breastfeeding was by far the most unexpectedly difficult thing I encountered.

As an OB, I always counsel my patients that “breast is best.” Breastfeeding is economical and environmentally friendly and has been shown to potentially decrease your baby’s risk of infection. I’m not going to get into the detailed benefits of breastfeeding but if you are interested here are some links:

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom

La Leche League’s take on benefits of breastfeeding

Why breastfeeding is important

As a naive young doctor, I counseled my patients to feed their newborn on demand which would be approximately every two to three hours. I figured these new mothers would have two to three hours between feeds to nap, eat, shower, etc. No biggie.

I apologize to all of the postpartum breastfeeding mamas I have cared for over the past several years. I had NO FREAKING CLUE what you were going through.

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Healing after childbirth

Healing after childbirth

Being a new mom is no joke. And  you get to do it all while healing from a major medical event – childbirth!

I am a HUGE fan of whatsupmoms.com which is a vlog by three smart and hilarious women. They have a great video on how to utilize all the swag you get from the hospital after delivery. Yes, you do get some fun goodies, such as adult diapers, when you leave the hospital – woohoo!

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I Know Nothing About Babies.

As an OB, I may know a thing a two or about pregnancy (although even THAT has not been entirely what I expected) but I know next to nothing about babies. I’ve never been known for natural maternal instinct. In fact, I have sometimes felt as though I lacked maternal instinct. I don’t particularly enjoy children. I don’t go out of my way to hold other people’s babies. I’m just hoping I will love and be able to care for my own.

However, I have always had difficulty relying on faith alone. In fact, I would say intellectualizing is one of my coping mechanism. So I bought the following books and went to work studying and highlighting them as if I were about to take the biggest test of my life (which I sort of am…)

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Science Is Not the Enemy

I recently read this article in Cosmopolitan magazine, and it really hit home for me. My favorite line was – “Why are smart, grownass women treating their reproductive health like a game of telephone?” This article tells the story of an intelligent 33 year old who discontinued her birth control pills in order to cleanse herself of the hormones. Where did she come up with this idea of a hormone cleanse? Her friends.

This story, or some version of it, is something I have heard time and time again. Women often worry about the birth control pill affecting their fertility, weight, libido, mental health, etc. However, rather than discussing this issue with their gynecologist, women tend to seek advice from their friends.

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Ways to Beat Traffic

Being a traveling OB involves quite a bit of traveling. For those of you familiar with western Washington, I feel like a large portion of my life is spent on I-5. In fact, I am thinking about naming my memoir – The Things I Have Done to Avoid I-5…and other life lessons. Seriously, I have tried so many alternative routes to avoid I-5, it is insane. Last Friday, I found myself in some sort of abandoned industrial park sitting in front of a train that did not appear to be moving.

There are several ways to cope with this much time spent on the road. My initial response was road rage, but now I have moved on to podcasts.

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