This is Day 78 of the Green in 365 series!
This is a long post, but bear with me because I think it’s a really important topic to cover as we begin talking about green and natural baby and child care! No better place to start then when our sweet babies are first born!
Last week I got to be with my younger sister at the hospital as she gave birth to her first baby, a healthy baby boy! She labored and birthed without medication and I was so proud of her! It was amazing to get to be a part of the miracle of birth, this time as an observer instead of an active participant!
But while spending time with her and my new nephew in the hours after his birth, I was reminded of one of the main reasons that we chose to have our third baby at home. Often, things at the hospital can happen differently then you wanted or expected. They may do things to you and your new baby without your explicit knowledge or consent.
For example, about an hour after his birth, as my sister was holding her son in the hospital bed, he peed on her. The nurse took him to change him and asked if it was a good time to do his footprints. My sister agreed. The nurse then placed the baby on the warming table and left the room. I assume to get the necessary supplies, but the baby was left there alone, and of course, started crying.
My sister and I looked at each other, kind of bewildered, like, ‘Why would she take the baby and then just leave him there on the warming table all alone?‘ Couldn’t my sister have held him until the nurse came back and was ready? I placed my hand on the baby’s chest to comfort him, but when the nurse returned she said, “Oh, it’s good for the baby to cry, it gets their lungs all cleared out.” And while that may be true, I think it’s the mother’s place to decide whether her brand new baby should be left to cry or not.
Then a couple minutes later, again, we were watching the nurse as she got ready to measure the length of the baby, and all of the sudden she picked the baby up by his ankles and held him upside-down to measure him! I have never seen a nurse measure a baby in that way, and it was kind of shocking to us all – it was just for a second, but she was hanging the baby upside-down!
These are just a few little examples, and really nothing major or life-threatening, but still, it felt like the attitude of the hospital staff was, “I’m in charge. I know better than you, and I’ll just do whatever I want with the baby.” Almost like the mother and family aren’t standing right there watching!
I remember back to when my first baby was born and realize that she was given every single one of these procedures and I didn’t realize it at the time, nor had I done my own research to know whether or not I actually wanted her to receive them or not. It is important for doctors and midwives to inform their patients about these procedures, but I think the reality is that most of them don’t. So it’s up to us as pregnant mamas to read and learn and do our own research so we can make the best decisions for us and our new baby.
Because the reality is, that often when you have a hospital birth, there are things done to you and your baby that you may not even realize, or be aware of. You’ve just given birth and are exhausted, labor may have been overwhelming and you’re still gathering your bearings. You’re also stuck in the hospital bed and not with your baby as they examine him or take him to the nursery.
I remember after my first baby was born, the nurse came to check on me the next morning and lifted the sheet by my ankles and said she was checking for swelling in my legs. She said, “Sometimes your legs will swell after you’ve had pitocin.” To which I responded, “Oh, I had a natural birth, I didn’t have any pitocin.” And she replied, flippantly, “Oh well, they will give it to you after the birth and you don’t even know about it.” I said again, “No I didn’t have any pitocin at all.” (Which I knew was true because I didn’t even have an IV in my arm.) And she just shook her head at me like, Silly girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
It was shocking to me then, and makes me so angry now, that they can do things to you and your baby in the hospital without asking you first, or at least explaining to you what they are doing, so you don’t really know what is happening. You will probably sign papers when you check-in to the hospital that may say you are giving informed consent for any treatment they deem necessary. And while that is obviously important in the case of an emergency, it should not mean that they don’t have to inform you of each step they are taking during the process of your routine labor and delivery.
It’s important for you to know that you absolutely do have a say in what happens to both you and your baby during labor, delivery, and in those hours right after birth. If you’re pregnant, please be sure to educate yourself about your hospital’s standard newborn procedures before you go into labor, and talk through these standard procedures with your doctor or midwife. Then you can add your preferences to your birth plan, and let your birth partner or birth team know, so they can help to advocate for you and your baby with the hospital staff.
You’re not trying to be difficult, but this is your body and your newborn baby, and you have the right to decide how his first few precious hours and days of life are spent, not the hospital staff.
*Please remember that I am not offering you medical advice, I am not a doctor. I have simply done my research on these procedures, and based on my own experiences with hospital birth I want to help inform you and encourage you to do your own research before your new baby is born. This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such, this is for informational purposes only.*
5 Standard Newborn Procedures You Can Choose to Avoid
1. Eye Ointment
We’ve all seen the pictures of newborns with their eyes smeared shut with some clear goupy stuff. Well, that goupy stuff is erythromycin ophthalmic ointment, an antibacterial used to protect babies from an infection which in rare cases can cause blindness. However, this type of infection is caused by the mother having chlamydia or gonorrhea.
If you have been tested for STDs and know there is no risk that you have either chlamydia or gonorrhea, there is probably no reason your new baby needs to be treated with erythromycin ophthalmic ointment. Also, even if your baby does develop the infection, they are easily treated today with antibiotics which prevent blindness. Read more
2. Vitamin K Shot
Vitamin K is given routinely as a shot to newborns in order to prevent a very rare, but serious, bleeding disorder. New babies are born with lowered levels of Vitamin K which is necessary for normal blood clotting. Some people argue that because basically all babies are born with lowered levels of Vitamin K, there must be a good biological reason for it, and they also believe there may be serious side effects of injecting a new baby with high levels of Vitamin K, and refuse the shot for that reason.
Others believe it is cruel to give a newborn baby a painful shot when they have just been through the trauma of birth. If you’d like to avoid the shot, but still give your baby the blood clotting protection of Vitamin K, you can request an oral dose that is an effective alternative. However, the oral dose may not be as effective and has to be given over the course of several weeks. Read more
I will be transparent in sharing that we have always given our babies the Vitamin K shot, even our baby that was born at home. I’m simply presenting this as one of the procedures that will happen in a hospital birth setting so that you can do your own research about it.
Update 1/14: There have been some recent cases of late vitamin K deficient bleeding in newborns whose parents refused the Vitamin K shot. Read more here.
3. Hepatitis B vaccine
Many parents don’t know that when the nurse takes the baby to the nursery for “routine procedures” that one of those procedures is to give them a vaccine for a sexually transmitted, or blood transmitted, disease, Hepatitis B. I don’t want to get into a discussion about whether we should vaccinate our children or not, but for our family, we do not agree with giving an hours old baby a vaccine against this type of disease, when they are so tiny and their immune systems are so vulnerable. You can request that your new baby does not receive this routine vaccination right after birth! Read More
4. First Bath
We go to great lengths to make sure we only put the purest and safest products on our new baby once we bring them home from the hospital, but what about their first bath at the hospital? To begin with, if your hospital normally does the baby’s first bath in the nursery, you can, of course, request that it be done in the room with you. You can also request to help with the bath, instead of just leaving it up to the nurse, and you can bring in your own safe and natural baby shampoo and soap for your baby to be bathed with.
Another option is to skip the first bath all together. Babies are born with a protective covering on their skin, vernix, that has been shown to be very beneficial to the baby, including immune boosting properties similar to those found in breast milk, as well as providing protection and hydration for a new baby’s delicate skin. At the very least, you may want to delay the bath 24 hours to allow the vernix to absorb into the baby’s skin. Read More
5. Time in the nursery
Finally, your baby does not have to spend any time away from you in the nursery if you don’t want them to. I remember after my daughter was born and I had been awake for 24 hours that in my exhaustion I sent her with the nurse to the nursery. Then my husband and I looked at each other with such a strange feeling because we had just sent our baby away and neither of us were with her. They brought her back just over an hour later, not even enough time for me to sleep, with a bow in her hair and I wondered what else had happened to her while she was away from us. That was precious time in her first hours of life that I will never be able to get back.
If there are procedures to which you have consented that need to happen while you’re at the hospital, you can request that they be done in the room with you, while your baby is with you, so that your new baby never has to leave your side in it’s first few hours and days of life. If your baby is getting a shot, or the heel prick to complete the newborn lab test, the nurse can do that while you are nursing your babe to help comfort them and ease the pain.
The hours after your new baby is born are so, so precious and yet can also often be overwhelming. Things can move quickly and sometimes without your implicit knowledge. If you are planning to give birth in a hospital it’s important for you to make sure you understand the hospital’s policies for newborns so that you can make the best informed decision regarding the care of your newborn baby.
I’m not saying that you should refuse these procedures, or others that are common practice at your hospital, but I just want to encourage you to do your research, talk to your doctor or midwife about the standard way they handle these procedures, and make your own decisions that are right for you and your family.
If you’re expecting a baby, be sure to read my Tips for Surviving the Newborn Stage!
Looking for more posts about Green and Natural Baby and Child Care? Check out my Cloth Diapering a Newborn series:
- Cloth Diapering a Newborn – Where to Begin?
- Cloth Diapering a Newborn – Prefolds, Fitteds, and Covers
- Cloth Diapering a Newborn – Pocket Diapers
Did you avoid any standard procedures when your new baby was born? Did you meet resistance from the hospital staff or were they accommodating?
And if you’d like to learn more about green and natural living, be sure to check out my new ebook Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living! There is a whole section on Natural Baby and Child Care!
Read more: 10 Childbirth Norms Parents Can Refuse at Simple Homemade
Find all the Green in 365 posts.
*Disclaimer: Please remember I am not a doctor, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do the research on these issues and decide for yourself what is best for you and your family.
We value respectful discussion here at Live Renewed. You are welcome to leave your thoughts in the comments, as long as they are respectful and help to further the conversation. Mean-spirited, disrespectful, or rude comments that do not add value to the conversation will be removed. You don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to play nice. Thanks for treating others the way you would want to be treated!
Danielle Marie says
Thanks for the reminder about why none of my babes have been born in a hospital. My first two were born in free standing birth centers, and my second two were born at home. I was having some complications with baby number 4, and we were worried I was going to have to deliver her at the hospital. Thankfully, it all worked out and she too, was born at home. People thought I was crazy to be worried about having my baby in a hospital – but it’s foreign territory for me. It felt like getting ready to have a baby for the first time all over again:-)
I really wish more people would research and understand what happens during and after a hospital birth and how mom & baby are both affected. Thank you!!
Becky Marie says
I’m dealing with that exact same thing right now! Our first two were able to be born at home and I am so happy with being able to do that! But now it’s looking like #3 will have to be born at the hospital and I’m nervous because it’s new ground for me!
Melissa Bakel says
Thanks for the post, you may want to add to this list to include refusing circumcision, delaying clamping/cutting of cord, delayed birth weight keeping baby on mom’s chest during first hour or two, etc. 🙂
Melinda--Marshmallow Mudpie says
Great post! Thanks so much for sharing!
A Mama's Story says
Great posts!!! Going to share now. 🙂
Thank you for this post! I am 40 weeks a 1 day pregnant with my first child and I am planning to labor and deliver naturally. We are having a hospital birth but our hospital is very small and I am able to have a birth plan that will be followed. I have done so much learning since becoming pregnant. We are refusing all of these except the vit. k. I am going to ask for it orally rather than through a shot. Thank you for this post it re-assured my decisions!
I think that in some areas circumcision is an assumed procedure. That is one optional thing that many parents should put thought in to. I ended every sentence to the nurses with “no bottles, I am breastfeeding” when my daughter was born and “we are not circumcising him” to every nurse after the birth of our son. Unfortunately I could not be as strict about breast feeding with him because he was taken to another hospital right away to address a birth defect. But I did pump and had a circle of family and friends who delivered the milk… but that is a whole other story!
Yes, circumcision is one procedure I was surprised not to see. I think this list points out some that may not be so obvious though. Some I hadn’t even thought of.
My husband and I have 2 sons. One born in hospital (high risk) and one born at home. Circumcision was never a debate for us. We barely even talked about it, we just knew from the moment we found out they were boys that we would not circumcise. I don’t personally know how the process works, obviously, but from what I know of my brothers experiences, circumcision is not done at birth but, is a seperate trip to the hospital for the procedure. Based on that, I don’t see how it could be done without express knowledge or consent. That being said, I had a great hospital experience, although I wish they have explained things more. They didn’t give my son a bath and with the exception of about 15 minutes a day for testing related to his high risk birth, he was with me all the time. I was much more informed with my home birth and the standard procedures were way different. Delayed cord clamping was standard practice, the eye goo was by request only (unless necessary), vitamin k shot was discussed multiple times prior to birth. All in all, my home birth was a much better and well informed experience.
Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com says
What an excellent post! I am so was able to share it and if you hadn’t asked for shares I would not have found you!! You are right on, and from an old OR nurse, we are seeing horrible practices these days reflective of the lack of respect for life that USED TO BE much more normal!! God bless you for getting this out to others!! PS, would you consider linking-up on the Deep Roots ‘EOA’ link-up yesterday and every Wednesday? I appreciate your writing, and it is just the information your Mothers need 🙂
Thing are different in the UK, as standard here they give the Vitamin K shot only and that’s it. I’m actually shocked they put nasty eye cream and give a Hep B vaccine as well as the vitamin K shot. Here they don’t how you anything, never ind bathe the baby for you 😀 Trial and error!
I refused the vitamin k and requested immediate skin to akin and breastfeeding of my DD. unfortunately she was moved over to a paediatrician’s table for examination as she was induced due to having pooed before birth.
Thank you so much!! I’m 26 weeks with multiple High Risk factors so not only will baby be induced early but I’m sure he’ll (yes, it’s a BOY!) be taken away from us at some point for testing. Good to know these things now so I can ask many questions to the hospital ahead of time and ensure some, if not most, of our wishes are followed.
I wish I would have read this prior to my first baby. I was in control with baby #2 though.
I have always been able to pick and choose which of the things you listed above in my hospital births-that is, until I moved to Texas. The nurses in my hospital there were quite pushy and told me it was state law to to the Vitamin K and eye ointment. I knew enough about the Hep B to know I had the right to refuse it. I’m still angered by the whole situation since I have told my OB in advance of my aversion to the things you listed, and he never told me what the law allegedly required. At my 6 week postpartum check up, he seemed just as surprised as me. I’m not sure whether I was duped or whether it is, in fact, state law, but either way, it was an infuriating way to start off being a mom. Thankfully it was my 3rd baby, so I wasn’t as emotional as after my first!
Diane B says
I am appalled that anyone would administer Hepatitis B vaccine or perform a circumcision without informed consent! As a nurse with a background in labor/delivery/postpartum and NICU, I know that in the states of Ohio and Indiana you must have a consent for any of these things. The Vit K injection and erythromycin ointment to the eyes are probably covered in the admission consent to treat. Parents need to be aware of what they are signing at admission. I have a friend who is very much against vaccines and didn’t realize that she had consented to Hep B vaccine with many of her children. You need to make your voices heard that there are specific things that you do NOT want to have done for your child so the staff will be aware of them. A birth plan would be an excellent way to handle any of these things. I know that as a healthcare provider, I must try to accommodate reasonable requests. (It was a pleasure to help families have a natural birth experience. It is a joy to be able to encourage moms and dads in caring for their wee preemies and encourage moms in breastfeeding and pumping.)
None of my children received the Hepatitis B vaccine in the birth hospitals. My oldest was bathed in the room a few hours after he was born by the nurse, but in front of my husband and myself. I wanted to give my dd her first bath, but I was too unstable after she was born (hemorrhage) and some “thoughtful” nurse gave it to her. I was very adamant when I had my younger sons that I was the one to bathe them, they could stay “dirty” until I or they would be ready. Fortunately, I was able to give them their first baths.
Unfortunately, some facilities are more open to accommodating parents than others. (I worked at a hospital where ALL babies went to the nursery at 1 hour of age for the nurses there to bathe and examine them. I was not impressed with that at all, but most of the population of parents really didn’t seem to care.) Do your research and know your rights. That is my best advice. But keep in mind, sometimes the best plans and intentions for a beautiful and natural birth experience can be thrown awry by emergencies that are not anticipated (prolapsed umbilical cord, breech presentations, or premature deliveries come to mind.) When everyone is stable, find ways for baby to be skin to skin with mom or dad. Take lots of pictures and remember that a healthy baby is more important than a birth plan! (There is some grieving with the loss of the desired experience, but years later cherishing a wonderful child will shadow that grief.)
Even in the case of some of what you mentioned, educated mothers can still have a say in the birth. I had a 26 week-old after my water broke unexpectedly, and was able to have a natural, mostly unmedicated birth (I did actually need pitocin eventually, but it was a true medical necessity). The most important thing is to be educated on what you would ideally want, talk to your doctor, and make sure they explain to you reasons for certain procedures, and try to make compromises if possible.
Good to know! I had a wonderful birth in a hospital (and a big, giant, famous one, at that!) I was extremely comfortable and trusted the doctors and nurses completely. They were doing everything to make sure I could deliver my twins naturally (but with an epidural in case of emergency C.) They told me about everything they did to my babies and actually didn’t even asked about immediate skin-to-skin. My daughter wasn’t breathing right away, so I didn’t hold her for a few hours. But even though they each only weighed 4 pounds, they gave my son directly to me after making sure he was okay. It was quite stressful few weeks before the birth and it was miraculous that they were as healthy as they were. I credit the doctors and nurses there with the health and safety of my children. Had it been back when things were always done naturally, my kids wouldn’t have survived.
Caroline Cordle says
Interestingly, the only one of those that is done “routinely” in the UK, is the Vit K shot. We are given thee choice beforehand of the preferred method of administration. All those others are not done. The ones I ave more of an issue about are premature cord clamping, or not giving skin to skin. The latter is now asked of you before delivery, but you have to ask for delayed cord clamping.
We don’t have “nurseries” in the UK. The only time your baby leaves you, is if you ask for help with a fussy baby if you need sleep. Otherwise, they are right with you all the time. 🙂
Great reminders though – thanks.
No we don’t have nursery’s in the UK because there are not enough nurses to help, not enough to help even when you have had a emergency C section.
I just think if all else fails and you dont remember all 5 things…..remember you are the mother!! That new baby is yours, not the hospitals! Be sure to assert your authority as a parent. If the staff wants to do any check up on your new one but you want to hold her or feed her, you can politely deny the nurse to take her and its alright.
Hepatitis B vaccines are given because most people who contract this life-long, miserable disease do so as children, and the first six months of infection can be acute and require hospitalization–not something you want your baby to go through! Here is the CDC’s website–they address the concerns of parents of newborns: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hepb/fs-parents.html.
Emily @ Live Renewed says
Thanks for your comment Eve, and for contributing respectfully to the discussion. In the interest of talking about facts and not just scare tactics, I’d like to know what statistics there are showing that, “most people who contract this life-long… disease do so as children”?
Sorry if it sounded like scare tactics–I do think it is great to ask questions and understand your healthcare, and I’m glad you are encouraging people to do that. But it’s also important to remember the bigger picture, where there are still global epidemics of preventable infectious diseases. Our choices affect others, and their choices affect us, and we have to balance our values in that context.
To clarify about Hep-B, I am talking about chronic infections, where even with treatment, the person’s body cannot rid itself of the virus, and this can lead to liver failure, cancer, and eventual death. Adults who are infected can (in the majority of cases) be successfully treated and the liver can recover, but according to the World Health Organization’s statistics, 90% of infants infected during the first year of life develop chronic infections; 30–50% of children infected between one to four years of age develop chronic infections. Globally, 2 BILLION people have this virus–it can be sexually transmitted, or the result of poor sanitation, or contact with blood (transfusions, shared needles, etc). The virus can live outside the body for 7 days. Of the 2 billion people who have it, 240 million are chronically infected (and at least 600,000 people a year die as a result of Hep-B complications–possibly more aren’t reported). So many people are going around living normal lives with this. A newly infected person might not feel sick for a month or two. By a newborn receiving the vaccination right away, it’s ensuring that the risks are minimized, from the mother (not to insult or shame anyone–an adult woman might have been exposed to the virus in a variety of ways that are nobody’s business but her own), at the hospital itself (this virus can live for 7 days, remember?), and the complete vaccination series protects for at least 20 years, safely seeing the child through those early years where the virus could take hold for life. There’s a tendency for people to take this topic very personally, like it would be some failing on their part to ever be exposed to the virus, but really, it’s just a fact of life. Maybe that one time on spring break your tattoo artist forgot to change the needle. That one person you dated didn’t know yet they were infected. And so on. But it helps to raise awareness of problems and solutions. Some fast facts from WHO:
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
Two billion people worldwide have been infected with the virus and about 600 000 people die every year due to the consequences of hepatitis B.
The hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
Hepatitis B is an important occupational hazard for health workers.
Hepatitis B is preventable with the currently available safe and effective vaccine.
I appreciate you bringing this up. I know both WHO and the CDC say “90% of infants infected during the first year of life develop chronic infections; 30–50% of children infected between one to four years of age develop chronic infections”. Many people will read this and mistakenly read 90% of infants get infected. These organizations conveniently do not provide the percentage of newborns that actually contract this disease. I have worked with HIV, HCV (Hepatitis C) and Dengue Virus, and I can tell you that there are only a few ways to contract HBV (and you have mentioned most, but for the sake of everyone else): puncture through the skin with an infected object (usually a needle that an infected person has used) or mucosal contact with the body fluids of an infected person (usually through sexual contact). If a mother has been tested and is HBV negative, then is is extremely unlikely that a baby will be born with HBV. And, due to the modes of transmission, it is extremely unlikely that a newborn will become infected. Even a supporter of vaccines might see that vaccinating newborns is not necessary. Peace. (Visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/HBVfaq.htm#treatment for more info).
tish b says
I saw this blog post on a friend’s fb timeline. While I appreciate the whole premise of going all “natural” with regard to most aspects of life, blogging that “Often, the staff at the hospital will do things to you and your brand new baby without your explicit knowledge or consent” is a borderline scare tactic. Anyone who has a good Ob/Gyn should recieve information about the procedures the hospital uses during and after labor and delivery. IF the doctor’s office and/or hospital don’t provide this, the mother should be smart enough to ask. I had my children 6 and 8 years ago and can’t recall one time they did something with either of my sons without asking or explaining first. I refused the Hep B shot – as a matter of fact – my children got all of their shots later than what is recommended. I was allowed to spend as much time as I wanted with my boys – they roomed in. I was asked before they took them to the nursery the first time. And to be honest – I was more than ready for my first born to be taken within an hour of him being born. I labored for 2 days with him, was sick as a dog the last several hours of labor, and almost had to have a c-section at the end because I barely had enough energy to push. I was exhuasted and needed to rest. Do I wish things would have gone smoother with his delivery? Sure, but I’m certainly not going to beat myself up because I allowed my body to rest for a couple of hours. I bonded wonderfully with him – without spending uninterupted time with him in the beginning.
I guess what I’m getting at is this – It is your job as the mother to be fully educated prior to going to the hospital for delivery. If you do not take time to speak to your doctor and the nurses at the hospital, you are giving them permission to do whatever they deem necessary. And whether some might believe it or not, everything they do is for the health of newborns as a whole. Your baby might not need eye ointment (and that’s okay), but who’s to say the infant in the room next to you doesn’t need it? It’s a guessing game for the hospital staff…unless YOU speak up.
BTW…I don’t know where your sister had her baby, but if a nurse would have picked my newborn up like that, I would have reported her (and probably opened up a can of……..on her). That is not safe or appropriate.
Bekkie Ritchie says
I agree with you 100%. It sounds like she has been to some terrible hospitals. I was asked before any “procedure” was done on me or either of my babies. My babies also stayed in the room with me. The hospital I delivered at doesn’t even have a nursery.
As a first time mother, I had a high risk pregnancy and birth. My high risk factor was something that the high risk OB had limited information on, therefore limited information to give me. Looking back, there are things that I couldve skipped or not done, however, at the time, with limited information from all sources, I did what was recommended. They may not have been my first choice of procedures but, again, with limited knowledge, I made the best decisions I could. I found your wording to place blame of unnecessary procedures squarely on the new moms shoulders. If you recall, labour and delivery is hormone fuelled, crazy and disorganized. Sometimes moms don’t have the information necessary or the memory to ask. I sure as hell was not prepared. The Dr’s have just as much responsibility as moms do.
Emily McClements says
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I agree that labor and delivery, especially for first time moms, can be crazy and overwhelming and that moms often do not have, and are not given, all of the information they need to make informed decisions on these procedures. I’m sorry you felt this post placed the blame on the mothers, that is not at all my intention. As you said, the doctors and practicioners should take responsibility to inform their patients of these procedures, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, they often do not. My first birth experience was similar to yours in that all of these procedures were done to my baby without my implicit knowledge or understanding, and I definitely regret that now. I wrote this article to try to help, inform, and encourage new moms to educate themselves and do their own research so they can have the tools to make the best decision for themselves and their new babies. It’s an article I wish I had read before my first baby was born. I have gone through and edited the post to try to make sure that my tone is not shaming or guilt-inducing, but simply educating and informing. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.
Jamie Larrison says
We unfortunately didn’t have the option of an at home birth because of my health history, but I had a midwife at the hospital and a detailed birth plan that was well respected by the staff. The only thing that really worried me was that they took our newborn son away for his bath and he was gone for almost an hour. We specifically told the staff no shots of any kind, but I don’t know what in the world took an hour and it really worries me.
When the baby is taken to the nursery by the nurse, the reason it can take so long for the baby to come back is temperature. If the temp is too low, they need to be warmed up before their bath. Once the bath is completed, they are usually warmed up again. Newborns sometimes have trouble regulating their temp.
Exactly, Robin. Thank you for saying that.
Babies have to be warm before they are bathed and warmed up again afterwards. Cold stress can negatively affect a baby’s health. Sometimes very seriously. All you had to do was ask and they would have (or should have) explained that to you. You also could have just declined the bath if you were that concerned. Most hospitals you and/or your husband/partner could have accompanied your baby to the nursery while they did the bath as well. Also, if you asked for no shots, then unless you were in some kind unethical establishment, no shots were given. We aren’t a bunch of unethical dunces. We are professionals for a reason. We can respect your right to make your own decisions. (Even if we don’t agree with your decision, we still respect your right to make said decision.)
To the author of the blog: the nurse putting a bow in your baby’s hair was just trying to be nice. It’s sad when we try to do something nice for a parent and they worry that we have done something else sinister. We aren’t all out to get you, you know? It totally touched a nerve with me on that one, since I could totally see myself being the one who put a bow in a little girl’s hair or put a new hat on a baby or something to try to be sweet to a new family, and then have them get all offended that I must have done something they wouldn’t have approved of since I didn’t ask specifically if I could put a bow in the child’s hair. Thankfully, most people just take it for the sweet gesture that it is.
Sorry, I really didn’t mean to get all snarky. It’s just really frustrating as a hospital newborn nurse (who also is supportive of a more natural approach, which is how I end up on sites like this) seeing these things out there.
Oh, just to add in something that may be helpful for those of you who are hoping to do oral vitamin k instead of the shot, make sure to check with your hospital first, many (if not most) do not offer it. Always check first.
On that same note, though, PLEASE talk this over with your pediatrician and do plenty of research from multiple sources before you decline this based on scare tactics out there. (Scare tactics do work on both sides.) Whatever you decide, just always make sure you are doing it from a fully informed perspective, not based on what you read on some blog or message board.
When babies are taken to the nursery, it is usually to be examined or at the request of the parents . The doctors and nurses are trained professionals and as such likely have no desire to have babies in the nursery when they don’t need to be examined. They would in effect be highly paid babysitters. No one wants to hearing a chorus of crying newborns when it isn’t necessary .
All the babies being examined by a particular doctor are brought to the nursery together . Remember , the doctor needs to be able to access the medical records prior to and during the exam.
circumcisions and Hep B vaccines are not done without parental consent.
I couldn’t agree with this more. Also because you send your baby to the nursery does not make a you an evil parent either. You do need your rest as well and there is skilled professionals watching over him/her. I’ve heard so many mothers say they wish they would’ve stayed that extra day because when you leave you are on your own so to speak.
Most hospitals will ask you if you have a birthing plan, if not, set one up. Get as detailed as possible and the professionals will follow that plan. Note breastfeeding, shots, and any other details you feel are important.
Jim McNary says
“Also, even if your baby does develop the infection, they are easily treated today with antibiotics which prevent blindness.”
…if it’s recognized, sure, but it might not be obvious enough to merit a doctor’s visit – particularly if you’re averse to medicine in general – and your baby might scratch it enough to develop a corneal ulcer which can result in permanent blind spots even if outright trachoma is avoided.
Jim McNary says
I gotta say I’m shocked in general by the sentiment that protective measures are nonsense because you can just wait for a full-blown infection to develop and then cure it with higher doses. This is how resistance is born, folks…
Not to be rude, but where on earth did you give birth? I was explained and given the option to refuse or give each and every one of these procedures. It goes to show the different medical care available to those in different areas of the country.
Yes to all of the above. I was fired by our pediatrician 20 minutes post-partum & lectured by the hospital’s pediatrician on the “idiocy” of my choices. BUT, my little guy is safe, vaccine/antibiotic free and ALL MINE. 🙂
michelle drake says
Unfortunautly i was still reading up on this stuff when my first baby came 3 months early and to my shock later all these things were done to my baby in the name of safety. and when i refused the vaccines when were were finally ready to go home after 3 months in the nicu. I was met with alot of opposition. all the staff told me on seperate occasions how i was putting my babys life at risk. finally because i didnt know enough i consented and they gave him 3 shots of 9 vaccines and he was only 5 pounds. Of course he stopped breathing and ran a high fever and they had to put him on oxygen for a day. and they all denied that vaccines had anything to do with it. my second child was born at home and safe.
It’s a shame it hasn’t changed in 35 years! The day after I had my first child, the nurse came in with a whole array of pills. I made her tell me what they were for. She looked at me like I was nuts, but I refused to take them until she told me. Good thing I did! One of them was a pill to dry up my milk and I was breastfeeding! Back then, few mothers breastfed, so I guess it was standard to give it. Always, always, always question what’s being done in the hospital.
My ourred Sunday @ 7 am. After 36 Hours Laboring at home i wound up going to a hospital, where i was given antibiotics and pitocin, then eventually i opted for an epidural after hour 40. When the time came to push, my midwife’s back up OB had departed, leaving me with a rough -around -the -edges, antiquated OB. He decided to vacuum after only 20 min of pushing without telling me! I noticed and explained that I did not feel comfortable with that procedure; he proceeded anyway. After my healthy son was born Tue afternoon, I was weary, but I made sure my husband followed the baby every step of the way. He refused all of the above procedures…and I am glad he knew what to say. The hospital staff were very bothered by his presence, but he didn’t budge! Thankfully our boy was in the room within the hour…we only let him out of our sight once thereafter for a quick hearing test. He was an earshot away from us, and he was calm.
Not ourred- i meant water broke
I just wanted to let you know that I did receive a shot of pitocin after the birth of one of my babies, so the nurse was correct when she said it isn’t uncommon. It was my fourth birth and the doctor said it would help my uterus contract better and prevent bleeding. All five of my babies were natural births with no pitocin or drugs. My fifth was born at home.
I appreciate this post. I saw it on a friends facebook page and it peaked my interest. Im a mother of 5 and pregnant with number 6. I’ve had hospital births with all and out of the 5, 4 have been completely drug free but all born natural. Every experience has been positive for me. Only once have I come accross a midwife who I haven’t clicked with and advised them straight away. I didn’t want to end up with her being my midwife. Anyway, the point is, is that not once have I ever had any of the experiences mentioned happen. Vit k and hep b vaccines are only given after written consent and have always been explained, notonce has any of my babies been washed or wiped off without my knowledge. I like to keep any vernix on. My baby has never left my side at all. All examinations have been done infront of my husband and I.
I think not it would be wise to tell readers that things such ss your article could happen but is not a standard practice at all hospitals. It certainly isn’t here in Australia. If I were a first time mum reading this I would feel a little scared, or maybe more scared of my impending birth.
My wife (my hero) delivered our daughter all natural, in a hospital, which is where are state required births to take place. We knew very early that we did not want the erythromycin, vitamin K, or Hep B given to our newly born child and put it in a birth plan that was given to the hospital prior to the birth. Starting the moment we arrived at the hospital, my wife (who’s contractions were about 3.5 mins apart) was bombarded by multiple nurses who tried to convince her that her decisions were going to permanently harm our soon to be born child. Aside from their obvious skepticism at her wanting an all natural birth, they tried to make her feel like she was a bad person by refusing these other procedures. As dad’s have no rights in our state, my words fell on deaf ears.
The pinnacle of my frustration came after we were already facing a meeting with social services due to our refusals, the pediatrician tried to tell us our child was a serious risk for internal bleeding due to not having the K shot, and the nurse commenting “that’s what happens when you fight us”. I took matters a little deeper and met with the head of the floor (not a nurse but a manager) and appealed to the lady’s maternal side as well as threatening the hospital with legal recourse if the attitudes and actions did not change immediately.
That was the trick, we were left alone, rarely visited by nurses and released early the next morning. Now as we are preparing to have our second next month we are much better equipped and ready for the nonsense to start.
One thing to add to this post is the refusal of the PKU test at birth. Something we did not know is that the PKU immediately after birth is a moot issue (for mother fed babies) as it cannot give any real information until AFTER the baby’s body starts to metabolize real milk a week or two after birth. That is why this test is done a second time at the two week appointment by your pediatrician for mother fed babies.
Thank you to those that try their best to educate themselves and try to make the best decision for their families!!!!
Unfortunately, I have had 3 C-sections. Obviously, they were performed in a hospital. The first 2 babies were given all 5 of the things you mentioned because I truly didn’t know any better. After my 2nd child had HORRIFIC problems due to vaccinations, we stopped all vaccines when she was 12 months and my oldest was 4 years. We started researching and by the time baby #3 came around, I knew what I would and wouldn’t allow. NO Hep shot, No leaving the room without a parent for ANY REASON! I wasn’t really opposed to the Vitamin K shot but I was told that I had no choice about the eye ointment. After getting my hackles up, my husband just told me to let it go. The most important thing was the Hep vaccine. I deferred to him, unhappily, and not without attitude I might add (give me a break. I was 39 weeks pregnant and minutes from being rolled into the OR). LOL Anyway, I got ALOT of resistance. I was surprised at how bossy the nursery nurses were. My nurses were fine. It was the ones dealing with the babies that were so demanding. I guess it’s a good thing I am stubborn because if I hadn’t been, They would have bullied me into compliance. I made sure to have someone rooming with me because I knew from my 2nd child, I couldn’t have the baby room in with me after a C-section if I was alone. The worst feeling of my life was when I walked my post surgery self down to the nursery to get my baby #2 and they wouldn’t let me have her because I was alone. I could see her laying there, alone, screaming. I got back to my room as fast as I could and called my husband to tell him he better come NOW! I felt like they were holding her hostage. I was an emotional, post-partum wreck until he got there and brought me my baby! So, with baby #3, I made sure that wouldn’t happen again. My baby NEVER left my sight. We waked her down and waited (with much attitude and eye rolling from the nurses) in the nursery while baby had bath, measurement, etc. and I observed the nurse almost DROP my baby right in front of me. I promise you….If I didn’t have to have C-sections, I wouldn’t give birth in a hospital. 🙁
I hope readers take this information with a grain a salt. I understand questioning medical practices and doing what you feel is best for your newborn; but this information has undertones of paranoia. The most disconcerting is about the vitamin k injection. From what I’ve read, the oral dose is not as well absorbed or as researched as the injection. Multiple doses are usually needed as well when taken orally. Just as you say in your piece about causing more pain after the “trauma of birth”, its this trauma that can result in newborn hemorrhage which vitamin k can prevent. It is also disturbing to read that if you don’t have the antibiotic ointment on your newborn’s eyes there are other antibiotics that can prevent blindness if infection does occur. This “logic” is asinine. Why not just prevent the infection to begin with? I know there are horror stories of medicine, but working in critical care, I see the miracles of medicine weekly. I’ve seen people on their death beds, only to see them walk themselves through our doors later on to personally thank us or run into them in local grocery store. There needs to be more of a balance to “green living”, which I’m sure a few years from now we will be hearing more reports of the side effects of these choices that radicals in this movement flooded the internet with in their blogs.
If a baby contracts Hep B, it will turn into a chronic infection in an infant 90% of the time, which is not true for an adult. Also, 100 million Hep B particles can live in 1 drop of blood. Hep B can survive on any surface for at least 7 days, and Hep B can live even longer if it is in dried saliva. It is also the easiest of all the types of Hep to catch. It is an STD because that is an easier way to acquire the disease, but it can also spread percutaneously which means through the skin. Finally, it is hard to kill the virus because the virus exists as a spore. I hope if you refuse to give your baby this vaccine, you have done real research in real medical journals first because this is a very serious disease.
I totally agree with your comment, many people believe that because some information shows in what they call ” a scientific journal” is automatically valid. As a biomedical researcher and future mother, I laugh at people talking about science and referencing articles, specially since some of those references are from not scientifically reputable journals and also very outdated. If you are so gullible and believe in what every blog says just because they claim it comes from scientific research without know the basis of a real research and find valid information you are putting yourself and your baby at risk. Please, do not spread the ignorance.
I had a great hospital birth, for all those nervous mamas. I was supported like crazy in my quest for a natural birth, they waited with my for the blood to stop flowing to cut the cord, and all my requests concerning the above were respected. My baby only left the room one time in the 2.5 days we were in the hospital, and that was for the state-mandated hearing test, and my husband was able to go with her. It was a beautiful experience. My biggest qualms were actually with what I was “allowed” to do. My daughter was placed right on my chest when she came out – it was awesome, beautiful, life-changing. But, they wouldn’t let me take a shower until late the second day, when I felt fine right after birth. I felt so gross with all that junk on me for 48 hours! Eww. Other than that, great experience. I respect all the home birth mamas out there, but this was the best choice for me. If we have another biological child, we will give birth hopefully in the same place!
Something that is not a medical procedure but warrants mentioning is making sure that hospital staff knows that you plan to exclusively breastfeed if choose to do so. I did this, and made sure it was marked on my son’s (firstborn) bassinet. As you mentioned you had, the nurses also took my baby to the nursery for about an hour so I could sleep and they gave him a large bottle of formula. They said he was hungry, but they never brought him to me to nurse and did not ask me or my husband if it was okay to give him a bottle, which it was NOT! After that we both breastfed and formula fed him. It took several days for my milk to come in and he never seemed satisfied by it. I am convinced that if he had never had that bottle he would have been fine with exclusively breastfeeding. Both of my children were large babies but the second was exclusively bf from the start and was always satisfied.
I have to say, I had an awesome experience with both of my children. I am a high risk pregnancy mom, all of my children started to come prematurely. We were able to stop my 1st for 2 weeks, then she came prematurely anyway, my 2nd I went into labor with her at 26 weeks, luckily we were able to stop it and they put me on shots which kept her from coming early. However, I was still at risk of needed a C-section based on her size and my small pelvis. Hospitals are normal to me. I never had an issue with either of my children being taken without my consent, or any procedures done to my children without having a full explanation of what they are going to do, why, and when. My first was only out of my room for about 2 hours total because she had jaundis and had to go into an incubator which at that time they had no in room incubators. I did not receive any medications I was not aware of, as my IV was taken out before I even left the delivery room and they didn’t put anything in my IV without telling me. I can honestly say, the worst experience I ever had with a hospital was my delivery nurse with my first child who was just awful. Other than that, I wasn’t displeased with any thing that happened. While I would love to do at home births or birthing center births, that is just not an option for me. What I would recommend is research the hospital your planning to deliver at, ask friends who may have delivered there what their experience was. I researched all of my hospitals and picked a doctor that would deliver at the hospital I wanted. I can say I am very happy with all of the choices I’ve made Hospital wise for Labor and Delivery.
I’m shocked to read this. I feel as though I live in a different world. I’m in New Zealand and as soon as my son was born (with no medical intervention, no gas or air, completely unaided in the birthing pool) he was placed on my chest, waited for cord to stop pulsing and then hugely supported to breastfeed. I was asked if I would like to give him the vit k shot but as the birth wasn’t traumatic and there was very little risk of my son bleeding I refused. He never left my side for the three days I was in the maternity centre. he slept in the double bed (shock horror!) between my partner and I. It was an awesome time. So lucky I live here.
Corin Foster says
I had my first child last august..throughout my pregnancy I researched everythingi possibly could….initialy I wasnt going to get any of this done but as my daughter arrived at 35+2 and I had a assisted delivery I let them give her the vitamin k orally…no way was anyone jabbing my baby with ANYTHING!!!
Alexa Kaufhold says
This article implies there is a greater risk in accepting these common standards of care than refusing them. Common standards of care like erythromycin ointment and vitamin k shots come backed by years of statistically significant positive outcomes. To see this data, visit the CDC website and start reading the research that backs them. Making the implication that receiving these treatments is more harmful than not is really damaging and dangerous. In the recent case in Tennessee, for instance, 4 babies whose parents refused the vitamin k shot developed brain hemorages. Some have permanent neurological disorders as a result. The most alarming thing is that in all four cases, none of the parents had ever even heard of the risk of the bleeding disorder before their babies developed it. I suspect they read on a blog somewhere that they should be refusing it without fully understanding why they should be. Erythromycin protects the baby’s eyes from any number of kinds of bacteria including staff and strep B that are present in the normal flora in a vaginal delivery. Not only has erythromycin treatment drastically reduced neonatal blindness in the past few decades, but it come with practically zero risk of ill effect. Doctors and hospital staff are simply trained to administer the very best care according to the most up to date research. Give them a chance to explain the risks before refusing treatment. In the case of erythromycin, hep B, and vitamin k, it still remains true that better outcomes overwhelmingly result from babies who accept treatment.
This post is dangerous. I have personally seen the effects of not giving a newborn Vitamin K. Why would you risk your child having a brain bleed and bleeding to death? Vitamin K is natural. Oral doses have been proven to not be as effective as the shot. As a healthcare professional I live to save lives, not to destroy them. I have seen numerous infants harmed because of their parents being misinformed. I hope people do their own research and not take your advice.
Krista Dearey says
We have 6 children, and are pregnant with number 7. 5 of my births have been at home. They were beautiful, uncomplicated births. My youngest, Judah, had two spontaneous bleeds in his brain at 5 weeks old believed to have been caused by late onset hemorrhagic disease of the newborn – vitamin k deficiency. We had not given the vitamin k shot at birth. There are a couple of doctors who have suggested that had we given him the shot, his bleeds would have never occurred. (More of his story of recovery can be found at judahsjourney.com). I know that my son’s case is so rare, but there has been any increase recently of vit k deficiency bleeds in babies born at home without the shot. It has been extremely difficult to fight the guilt that quite possibly had we given our son the shot, this would have never taken place. Out of precaution, our next baby will receive the shot.
Reading this entire article made me wonder where on earth these interventions were supposed to have happened. As a midwife in a public hospital in Australia I can definitely say – it is abhorrent to take a baby from its mother and leave it to cry, it is abhorrent to hold a baby by its ankles to measure it, babies are not bathed routinely for 24 hours (or at all in hospital if parents don’t wish it) unless there is and infection control issue, Hep B vaccination is offered at birth but refusal is not an issue. Babies are not routinely put in nurseries but ‘room in ‘ with their mothers. In fact in public hospitals there is not an option for mothers to opt to have her baby in the nursery unless it is medically indicated. And Vitamin K is a Vitamin synthesised in the human gut by bacteria into a form which can be stored by humans. Babies are naturally low in Vit K and as their gut is sterile at birth they can’t convert it to a storable for a few weeks. Haemolytic disease of the newborn was far more common before the introduction of Vit K injections – the result was bleeding into the brain, especially in premature babies or babies who may have suffered birth trauma, but also in normal babies. Pain is not inflicted on babies for no reason. The Guthrie test is painful for a baby too, but would you wish to have a diagnosis of a treatable disease missed and risk mental retardation or worse in your child if it could have been prevented? In this country it is done 48 hours after the initiation of feeding and is not repeated 2 weeks after birth, so where the evidence or one of your respondents comes from I don’t know. I am very supportive of birth that is as normal and natural as possible, but I don’t support people who quote with alarmist, ill informed and ill researched views. Research and medical knowledge has decreased neonatal mortality dramatically and to deny that is incredibly shortsighted. You should be making decisions based on what is best for the life of another person, your baby, and not because it makes you feel better about yourself.
Thank you for a very well educated response to this Vee!
Jen E. says
I am a neonatal nurse and a mother of three naturally born children. Thank you, Vee, for your wonderfully balanced response! Nothing should be done without consent. Parents, please seek to educate yourself in a way that considers medical research and all natural alternatives. Medical providers can be on your team if good communication is taking place and parents are able to define what their wishes are in a way that does not assume that every medical provider is the enemy.
Summer Spees says
I stumbled upon your article when I went looking online for what shot a nurse could have given me seconds after birthing my fourth child. My son has had so many issues with growth- likely related to a shortage of breastmilk and I keep trying to find a cause for my low supply. Like I said, he was our 4th baby but he was our first natural birth. No IV, no epidural, no pain meds, etc. I did not have a Birthing Plan so-to-speak, but was very clear that unless something was medically necessary that it would need to be run by me first. And the hospital staff was totally cool about that, my Doctor, too. I had breastfed all of our other babies, although had switched to formula for one reason or another with babies #1 & #2 so I can’t attest to whether I would’ve had problems with their growth or not as well. But baby #3- our only girl- never tasted a drop of formula her entire life and was chunky, chunky on mama’s milk- I had no problems with supply back then. Now I have a low enough supply that my 9 month old son is under the 3rd percentile for weight, in the 5th percentile for head circumference, and in the 7th for length. Doctors have run many tests on me ad well as many meetings with an IBLCL to watch baby eat, weigh him once a week, etc. Doctor can’t find any medical reason for me to have such a low supply and don’t see anything wrong with baby’s latch or suck which leads me to wonder if that mystery shot I received seconds after his birth had some role in this. I didn’t have a dang thing wrong with me during/after delivery so I don’t know what they could have possibly given me, but I did not consent! One second the Doctor is handing baby to me ( with extended umbilical cord attachment time as I requested) and keeping an eye out for placenta detachment and the next thing I know the nurse mutters something to the Doctor and I get jabbed in the thigh! Any thoughts on this?
Did you ask her what it was? You could request your medical records as well.
I’m currently in the midst of two major adventures: motherhood and medical school. I hope to be a great doctor who listens to her patients and takes the time to help make these moments such as child birth special, memorable, and safe. I’m glad that people speak out about what they want- this is so important, and healthcare providers need to take notice. I also have noticed a trend that makes me sad- major, possibly life-and-death decisions based on a suggestion by a friend, heresay, or just because they have the right to refuse treatment. Vitamin K for example is so important for babies- especially preemies. The repercussions of refusal just for the sake of exercising ones rights can be horrific. Studies done on the benefits of Vitamin K given to newborns have been ethically reevaluated due to questions of the morality of NOT giving Vitamin K to the control group in the trial. The benefits are that obvious. Furthermore, babies who are breast-fed are much more in need of the Vitamin K supplement (yes, even all-natural breast milk falls short in some areas!) My daughter was born premature and I allowed my OB to make every decision because I trust her and believe that my baby’s best interest was her number one priority. Even at 7 weeks premature, we were able to leave the hospital in only 4 days – honestly because of the great care provided by the team there. I hope that no one ever makes a decision for their child simply because they have the right to do so. I hope they make the decision based on true education- from resources that provide information based on thoroughly evaluated scientific evidence and with caring guidance from their OB- someone who has devoted their entire life to studying medicine and helping babies and moms get a happy and healthy start in life!
John doe for now says
Hello, can someone give me some advice =( I was very clear to the staff “before” and during the labor in a hospital that i wanted to breastfeed only. There seemed to be no problem. During the labor all the nurses and the doctor were rushing and having there own conversations about the snow storm and about when each of them would be leaving. “like if there was not a birth taking place.againall this conversation is going on in between the usual pish push. Since they had fired me up with pain killers (which I have to admit I accepted when the doctor offered) it was difficult to push and so was taking some time for baby to come out. This was obviously making all the nurses restless as they looked at the watches. When baby was finally pushed out and I cut the cord, they started to stich my wife up and I reminded then that me and my wife wanted the baby “roomed in” and left in the room and that we planned on breastfeeding. Of course the nurse gave a nasty look, she cleaned my baby put him in my arms as they stiched my wife up. I had read that at that moment when baby is born you should immediately or asap put the baby on his mother’s skin to skin and try to breast feed. When I attempted to get up to pass him to NY wife the nurse said NO don’t stand up with the baby I will pass it to her when she is ready so wait for me to come back to the room and I will do it. She left the room and never came back. I am so ashamed that I let her intimidate me, but the fact of the matter was that I did not want them to treat my wife any way because they felt annoyed so I did as I was told. When about 40 min had passed I decided to just get up and give him to my wife. It was a little tough to get baby to breastfeed but Baby was so happy and seemed enthusiastic to try to latch on to her nipple. Then a different nurse came in and said they needed to take him to weight him and it’s fine if we wanted to breastfeed but she needed to take him to weight him and that he would be back. Of course he did not come back for about 2.5 hours in which when he came back he did not want to (and since then) still does not want to cooperate to break feed. :'( from then on the nurses stated that that if he did not breastfeed that were going to be forced to intervene since it has been 16 hours since he was born. We feel violated in a way to have had our baby’s first hours breastfeeding window taken from us when we explicitly kept reminding we wanted to breast feed only. And now we are still in the hospital being intimidated by the nurses to make him drink formula, not to mention the pediatrician who came in to demand why we refused to give baby his hepatitis vaccines while he noted down notes on a paper as if he was recording something bad happening. Please help, I know that something is wrong because the head nurse came to say that she herd we were disappointed with the nurses behavior and that if I wanted to complain. She also admitted that it was hectic, as if she knew there behavior was unacceptable. =( any advice, can his be a legal matter? Can we keep refusing the formula without the hospital informing social services as if we are bad parents for trying to breast feed for 11 hours on end?
Breanna Garrett says
I will never have a baby in the hospital again unless emergency, I like you lost those precious first moments of my daughters life because out of exhaustion I let the nurse take her. 4hrs pass I fell asleep my fiance went home to tend to our dog he thought they were giving her a bath and she was coming back she didnt. find out where she was they were keeping her under survalience her oxygen stats were low but she was breathing without assistance. I was told that because they gave me iv newbane while laboring under pitocin my daughter was being affected by the drug. why isn’t narcane or another reversal drug used???? immediately when this was discovered about her o2 stats. she went that long without eating which put her insulin levels down DUH she then was admitted to NICU for iv glucose . once she was admitted they insist that a chest xray be taken, immediately I say no absolutely not they claim that because her o2 stats are low she may have fluid in her lungs which I knew was false but they did it anyway not even a 12hrs old and has had an xray before me! she spent 4 miserable days there I wasn’t breastfeeding because it was so stressful but I was pumping and giving it to her from bottle I believe if I breastfed she would’ve have her levels back to normal and wouldn’t have spent so long without being held at every moment by mommy and daddy. They brainwashed me into all of this madness and I hate that I let my mommy guard down because I had no idea what I was doing being my first baby. I also refused the hep b and they literally asked us 3-4 times a day to get it so ridiculous, I’ll never forget it.
I would like to point out that vitamin K is produced in our intestines and is necessary for our bodies to produce clotting factors. The reason we are born without vitamin K is because the GI tract is sterile at birth and cannot produce vitamin K for several days.
Hi! Labor nurse here 🙂 I always explain everything to mom and dad, and they always have a choice. Just wanted to say that crying is good for the baby. Their lungs are filled with amniotic fluid in utero and crying helps clear that fluid. Also, crying helps increase their blood pressure, which helps close their foramen ovale. If I listen to baby and hear a heart murmur, I stimulate baby, on mom even, until I no longer hear the murmur or “cruddy” wet lungs. Not an old wives tale. I don’t have to take baby off mom though (usually), and I do tell them what I’m doing and why.
I LOVED my hospital, nurses and Doctor!! I did everything above and both of my babies are great. I especially love the nursery! I have no doubt both of my kids received the best care. I am just tired of fear mongering in our culture:(
I disagree with the ointment part because it is important, if the mother has strep, it can cause blindness to the child. So that ointment is necessary. They should test you for all that stuff before birth. It’s not just STD’s
I refused antibiotics in my IV, chose to forgo an epidural, refused all shots for me while I was pregnant and for my baby after the birth, refused ointments, etc. I requested delayed cord cutting and my doctor 100% planned to honor that but bc my baby got stuck for a moment and came out blue she went ahead and cut it bc she thought there may be an emergency which I was totally fine with bc I knew she was working in the best interest of my baby, we did immediate skin to skin contact for at least an hour before he was examined by anyone, never left my sight the entire three days we were there other than for the circumcision which we obviously researched but ultimately decided to do, had all testing done in the room including the hearing test. We had a mostly pleasant experience. Yes, we received some weird looks and I had to address some things in front of visitors that I had not intended on making public knowledge at that point, and received backlash from one older nurse and from the hospital’s pediatrician. We see a pediatrician out of town so our baby had to be examined by the hospital’s pediatrician and he heavily grilled us on why we were refusing everything, but we had well thought out and educated arguments so ultimately he signed off on everything. It was a little frustrating, but bc my husband and I are a team I knew he had my back and didn’t worry ultimately. All in all, I felt at peace with our decisions and have an extremely healthy 16 month old vibrant little boy to show for it. My oldest daughter, however, was not fortunate enough to have an educated mama at the time of her birth and I thank God every day that she turned out fine, but I often wonder if things would be different had I known then what I know now. I am pregnant within my third now and intend to be even further informed before I deliver this time around. All so can say is knowledge is power! When those nurses question you or make comments in attempts to pressure you, when you KNOW what you believe there is nothing that can persuade you differently. Have solid footing on your way into the hospital and you will leave stronger and with a healthy, happy baby!
I had my singletons at home but my twins in the local hospital. They were born naturally, the only intervention during the birth was breaking the amniotic sac of my second born.
My first born was healthy and she stayed with me in the room but my son was not so robust and was kept in a humidification for constant warmth and monitoring. He had apnea which means he was having trouble breathing and stopped breathing for a second occasionally.
While I was asleep the hospital staff x-rayed my son without my consent. I can understand that this was probably a standard procedure in cases like this but I still would have liked to have been asked first.
But the part that upsets me the most is that he was put on an antibiotic drip for several days ‘just in case’. There was no sign of any infection and it wasn’t seem to be likely that any infection would develop. It jest seemed to be s thing to do when they couldn’t think of anything else to do. I am wondering, was it right for them to do this without my permission? Could I have refused this procedure for my son? Could this have had adverse effects on my son’s health? My son has autism.
FYI, the nurse was right – I had a home birth as well, and the midwives gave me a quick shot of pitocin after the baby was born to expel the placenta (once the chord was cut of course), no IV required. I was like, “What? you’re giving me pitocin??” They said it was standard and fine. I thought it was strange I hadn’t known about this, but wasn’t about to argue at that point. I felt nothing and wouldn’t have known had they not told me they were doing it.