Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jack Newman and Intuition


I have been writing a lot lately, just not here.  I am busy with the Birth Boot Camp blog and writing on Mothering.com and with Speak Mom and various other articles and guest posts that I try to do each month. I love writing and it is kind of surreal that I get to do it for "work" these days.  (Not to mention trying to figure out how to only put ONE space after a period.  This is a really dumb new rule that is jacking thing up for this old lady who learned typing back in 95 and can't change her ways. )

But by the time I am ready to rest, I am pretty tired of writing and don't put anything down here, nor do I have any time for more research or heavy stuff that you might find illuminating or intelligent.  Instead all that is left is stories of vomit and leftover mom frustrations.

Sorry this blog doesn't have much content or depth anymore.  I am just wrung out by the time I make it over here.

I had a cool week though and I wanted to share it with you.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to go listen to Dr Jack Newman.  The local First 5, WIC, Tribal Health and the hospital here got some money together and flew the man out to the po-dunk world of Ukiah, CA.

This really blew my mind that he came all this way.  If you haven't been to Ukiah, it is about 15,000 people and lies about 2 1/2 to 3 hours away from a major airport.  We drive an hour for Costco and Target and other things that city slickers couldn't live without.

In fact, Dr Newman actually spoke in Redwood Valley (my REAL hometown) which houses about 2,000 people, most of them trying to escape the hustle and bustle or the feds (or both).  But I digress...

But Dr Newman came here!  Famous Canadian, man of the breast, author and what not, spoke to a full house of hippies and midwives about breastfeeding.

My mom asked me what a man could know about breastfeeding.  "Has he ever breastfed?" she asked me. Good question mom.  It is official, you are totally related to me and I to you, because that sounds like something I would say.  Turns out he did know a few things about breastfeeding.

It was a good time and I took copious notes (which I will manufacture into numerous "intelligent" blog posts.) Some of my favorite things about the day were not the pictures and the studies and the proof.  My favorite parts were his passion- for nursing, against formula companies, even Medela (which is apparently "the Devil". Who knew?!) He even made fun of doctors, studies, kale, coconut oil, marketing campaigns, vitamin D supplementation, and all things that are held holy by those who know more than the rest of us.  I always enjoy a good laugh at the self-righteous, don't you?  (Of course, I don't enjoy this laugh at myself.  It is kind of a one way street, this mocking thing.  Ya know?)

I think my favorite thing that he said was when he was talking about latching a baby on to the breast who has never been on the breast.  Dr Newman has a breastfeeding clinic in Toronto and it certainly sounds like they get some tough cases.  They successfully are able to help women latch babies who are sometimes months old and have never nursed at the breast.  Ever.  And then they do. At two weeks or two months, at four weeks or four  months- truly incredible and much of it on video.

Dr Newman has a technique that they use for this, he calls it asymmetric nursing.  There are other tools and techniques that they use to get a baby on.  What I loved though was that when he talked about figuring out what would work for each mom he said something to the effect of, "You just have to use your intuition."

Yes, a doctor, a respected physician, a world traveler, writer of books and studies and man of letters said that you just have to feel what will work, what will be right in each individual situation, and do that.  Some people (lactation consultants) have a feel for it.  It takes time to figure it out.  To understand how to "feel" that.

This made me think that this man who has never breastfed does know a thing or two about breastfeeding that many women have forgotten.  Sometimes you do need to tune in to what is happening and tune out the noise and feel your way in a situation in order to figure out what will work.

Sometimes all the words just get in the way.

Love it.

Peace out ladies, until next time!

Photo credit: Alexander Tundakov / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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