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Your Baby Is Using You As A Pacifier


A pacifier by any other name is a 'dummy' -- a fake.

Pacifiers don't have any milk. They are something to suck - an object to suck. A firm object that in the same category as hard candies, lollipops, popsicles, pens, spoons, and straws to name a few others. Generic, easily lost, easily replaced.

That's not you, not any one of them.

The biggest difference between you and a pacifier is milk. You may feel drained as your baby is lazily flutter sucking, not just pacifying but also getting everchanging droplets of milk. Milk specially designed for your baby's age and gender, full of antibodies, hormones, nutrients, probiotics and things that we don't even know exist. That, in itself, should encourage you to let your little one suckle.

Suckling is so important -- suckling relieves pain and anxiety!

In an adult, the need to suck is clinically, and jokingly, called an oral fixation. It's so pervasive that there are thousands of jokes and beliefs about it. It's a habit that is hard to break because it is not a habit. It is a need. Humans are born needing to suck. It's how we survive as infants. We eat and we soothe ourselves by suckling. If we suck our thumb or a pacifier or breastfeed until we wean ourselves, the need is integrated and we grow out of it. If we don't integrate this reflex, it lingers as an 'oral fixation.'

There are a hundred good reasons to let your baby suckle at your breast.

Hunger and thirst are obvious. But what about being too cold or hot? Overwhelmed by noise and lights? Bored because you are busy? Lonely, distressed, disturbed, tired and upset? Maybe you are stressed and your baby picks up on it? Your baby might be startled or scared or worried? Worried? Why would a baby be worried? Because he has asked to breastfeed and you haven't let him yet. That's an excellent reason to worry!

Even when you don't know why your baby is needing to nurse, breastfeeding your baby or child will solve a multitude of woes.

Intertwined with feeding is our need for attention. It is through communicating with other humans, especially our mother that we learn everything we need to know in the early years. Breastfeeding engages all five of the baby's senses at once. There is a constant interaction between mama and baby gazing at each other, talking and listening, touching and stroking. Every single interaction fires neurons in the brain and makes connections. This is one of the reasons breastfed babies have higher IQs.

What it really means.

In its primal way, your baby is saying, "Mama, I need you. I need you, the life giver, the one who nurtures me best. I need you to comfort me. I need you to help me through this time, until I feel good again. I need you to nurse me while I feel uncomfortable. Someday I will be able to tell you I'm sad, hungry, lonely, angry, hot, cold, lazy or that I just don't know what's wrong, but I can't do that yet.

"I need your milk. It's made just for me. I need your eyes looking into mine, to know that I am safe. I need to know that you are near. I need to hear your reassuring voice soothing me back into happiness. I need to taste your milk that leads me drip by drip into comfort and contentment. I need to feel your skin, your touch, your grounding presence bringing me back when I fly off into the unknown.

"Most of all, I just need to know that you are with me, human being to human being."

Why is pacifying at your breast so hard to do?

The challenge I see in my work with moms is that parents feel overwhelmed at the duration and intensity of all the caring that newborns require. It's easy to breastfeed for up to a point, but sometimes, babies ask endlessly. If you don't nurse them, they cry and a crying baby can cause you to feel all kinds of horrible feelings.

When you are upset, it is very hard for your baby to calm down. When you feel overwhelmed, you will try anything to stop your baby from crying. As a result, you rush through one thing after another trying to solve an unknown problem and upset the baby even more by overwhelming them with even more sensations and processes.

Learning to be still and present with an upset baby is partly instinctual but mostly it's a learned skill. The first step is to understand that humans usually only need to be listened to and comforted when they are upset. They don't always need a problem solved in order to return to happiness.

Back to pacifying. If suckling at your breast works, then use it.

What better way to teach your child to calm by connecting with other humans than by offering comfort and company of breastfeeding during the challenging time of life called infancy? Offering (or forcing) a baby to use a pacifier teaches them to look for comfort from objects, not humans. When you hold your baby and let them suckle, they learn empathy and compassion. They learn how to help others in times of suffering. Nature has something for you in return. You get a blast of oxytocin, the love hormone, and you calm down and return to your calmer, more generous self.

For what is the purpose of our ability to ask for help, if we can not connect with another in our darkest, most painful hours?

My love to you and your family....


Something Has To Give.

Simply being the mother of a breastfeeding infant is overwhelming.

Your day to day list of things to do is already long. Feed the baby 10 times, change 10 diapers, eat 3 meals + 3 snacks, pay bills, buy groceries, cook them, clean te floors, wash the clothes, put them away, get the car fixed, and more! It's a monster! Then when you go back to working and subtract 8 or 10 hours from each day, you either surrender or go crazy. Something has to give.

The first thing to go should be zealous perfectionism.

Perfectionism is not a bad thing. The pursuit of the highest, finest verison of anything has led to many of the wonders around us. It's fine to strive for an A in college. It's wonderful to lead your team to be the best in your company. Bringing your home from Foreclosure Fixer-Upper to Architectural Digest is a worthy accomplishment.

Don’t compare your “insides” to someone else’s “outsides”.

When you look at Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, you may think everyone lives in super-clean houses with perfectly cooked and presented dinners and wonder why your family is having pizza on paper plates for the third time this week.

It takes a lot of time, energy and domestic help for a family to live in a showcase style. When you work full-time and have a baby, your free time or energy are fully engaged. Now that you are working, maybe you can hire domestic help. If deep in your soul, you need to live a showcase lifestyle, it’s possible.

What probably bothers you the most is the chaos.

The opposite of perfection is chaos and babies are the epitome of chaos: wet, messy, everchanging, rapidly expanding and unpredictable. And in that chaos, what makes you love them most is their potential! That smile! Those two, tiny budding teeth! The discovery of their hands! The rolling! The pushing up, reaching, stretching, pulling, crawling, talking and walking potential! 

Your baby's going to be a Rockstar, or an Olympian, or Something!

And that is why you have to let go of perfectionism and learn to relish chaos. Because perfection has no potential. It's dead, and without tremendous energy, your perfect thing starts to decay...into chaos, back into something that is pure potential.

Don't make choices you will later regret.

What babies need most is your love and your undivided attention. Your baby will grow. And in the future, you will find you have time and energy to reclaim the parts of yourself you are missing and mourning right now.

Nobody ever looks back and says, I wish I had spent less time cuddling and nursing my baby.

In fact, its usually the opposite. Most moms say they wish they had spent more time responding to their baby's need for one-on-one attention. In hindsight, you realize how short a time babies are babies. It's really just a few months of intensity before you get organized and prioritize how you want to mother.

I encourage you to sit with the intense feelings about your current life.

Turn off your TV. Put down your phone. They take too much time. Get rid of things that use up your time. Put your earnings into savings instead of shopping for more clutter. Streamline your chores by organizing them better. Think about this.

Rush right home after work, put some pizza on a paper plate and breastfeed your baby. Look at their potential and ignore the crumbs on your floor. They will still be there on Saturday when you have an extra hour to clean.


Aren't All Hospitals Baby Friendly?

You may have heard that Health Alliance (Kingston) Hospital is a Baby Friendly Hospital.

You may have questions about what that means. Aren't all maternity hospitals "baby friendly?" While the health care workers, staff and executives at your nearby hospital may love babies and be friendly, "Baby Friendly" means something deeper and different.

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was formed to increase awareness and educate parents about the importance of breastfeeding, especially in the first hour after birth; to protect parents from predatory marketing and mis-education from hospital staff; to give parents all the professional support they might need as they begin their breastfeeding relationship; and to link families to breastfeeding support systems when they return home.

BFHI is founded on the ideal that all babies have the right to begin their life breastfeeding.

If after educating parents, allowing babies to initiate breastfeeding, and helping families breastfeed through their early days, the family decides to wean, then that is absolutely acceptable.

The Initiative decided on 10 principles which became "The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding." and is adapted into "The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals," as outlined by UNICEF/WHO.

The steps for the United States are:

1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice rooming-in-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

A hospital goes through a several year process of adopting the "Ten Steps" in coordination with BFHI.

When they have made all the organizational and structural changes needed to adopt these principles, they become a "Baby Friendly Hospital."

In New York State, these hospitals have earned the Baby Friendly designation:

Bellevue Hospital Center
462 1st Ave & 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

Brooklyn Birthing Center
2183 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11229

Coney Island Hospital
2601 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Elmhurst Hospital Center
79-01 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Flushing Hospital Medical Center
4500 Parsons Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11355

Harlem Hospital Center
506 Lenox Avenue
New York, NY 10037-1802
(2008) Re-Designated 2018-2023

HealthAlliance Hospital – Broadway Campus
396 Broadway
Kingston, NY 12401

Jacobi Medical Center
1400 Pelham Parkway South
Bronx, NY 10461

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
8900 Van Wyck Expressway
Jamaica, NY 11418

John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital
818 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
234 East 149th Street
Bronx, NY 10451

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills
102-01 66th Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Long Island Jewish Medical Center
270-05 76th Avenue
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Metropolitan Hospital Center
1901 First Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Montefiore Jack D. Weiler Hospital – Einstein Campus
1825 Eastchester Road
Bronx, NY 10461

Montefiore Medical Center – Wakefield Hospital
600 East 233rd Street
Bronx, NY 10466

Mount Sinai South Nassau
One Healthy Way
Oceanside, NY 11572

New York Presbyterian/Queens
56-45 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355

New York-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital
1980 Crompond Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567
(01/13) Re-designated 2018-2023

Newark Wayne Community Hospital
1200 Driving Park Avenue
Newark, NY 14513-0111

NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
3424 Kossuth Avenue
Bronx, NY 10467

NYU Langone Hospital
550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016

NYU Winthrop Hospital
259 First Street
Mineola, NY 11501
(12/14) Re-Designation Pending

Phelps Hospital
701 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Queens Hospital Center
82-68 164th Street
Jamaica, NY 11432
(05/14) Re-Designated 2019-2024

Richmond University Medical Center
355 Bard Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310

Rochester General Hospital
1425 Portland Ave
Rochester, NY 14621-3001
(2000) Re-Designated 2015-2020

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center
50 Rte 25-A
Smithtown, NY 11787

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center
301 Prospect Ave
Syracuse, NY 13203
(2009) Re-Designated 2019-2024

St. Peter’s Hospital
315 South Manning Blvd.
Albany, NY 12208

United Memorial Medical Center
127 North Street
Batavia, NY 14020

Unity Hospital
1555 Long Pond Road
Rochester, NY 14626

Woodhull Medical & Mental Health Center
760 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11206

What to Expect at a Baby Friendly Hospital
HealthAlliance Hospital’s Family Birth Place

Why "Fed is Best" is not best.

"I tried breastfeeding and it didn't go well. My doctor said that I didn't have enough milk and I knew I would be going back to work eventually. She took a bottle right away. I'm angry, sad and disappointed I couldn't breastfeed, but after all, 'fed is best'."

Read more: Why "Fed is Best" is not best.

Breastfeeding in America

"I had never seen a mom breastfeed her baby in real life. I babysat and bottlefed when I was a teen. I have several nieces and nephews but my sisters didn't breastfeed. So there was my son and me, with no idea how it all worked. I wasn't just scared. I was terrified."

Read more: Breastfeeding in America