Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pain, Boobs, and other things

Its been a while.  I seem to have gotten distracted by other things - sewing, cooking, cleaning, and most time consming pain.  My recent pregnancy left me with a protruding disc, persistent back pain, and leg and foot numbess.  This 2 month process of medical appoitnments has brought me to the waiting room of the surgery center for a big fat shot in my back.  The best part has been that the only pain reliever I can take while breastfeeding is ibuprofen.  Awesome.  That doesn't do much for the numbness and tingling though which lead to constant tripping over things, like the dishwasher and curbs.  The good news is I can't feel the resulting cuts, scrapes, and bruises.  In reality the appoitnments have been enjoyable, despite the pain.  I've met a lot of excellent doctors that love what they do and love their patients.  I just got done with my injection (yes, I'm blogging on my phone on a gurney) and had great time talking to the doctor that did it.  I've said before that becoming a doctor is like entering a fraternity and medical school is the hazing ritual.  Once you say "medical student" the memories start flowing and the commiserating is wonderful.

It has also been fun to see the confusion and mild panic when I ask "so can I still breastfeed my son?".  Which brings me to the other thing I wanted to talk about: boobs.  I was happy to see the headline of my AMA digest yesterday was the new report from the CDC on breastfeeding.  The headline benefit that I've seen the AMA mention repeatedly is that breastfed babies have lower rates of obesity at 9mos, which translates to a lower rate of obesity later in life.  The biggest challenge I see with breastfeeding is community and environment.  We've created over several generations an atmosphere in which breastfeeding is 'weird'.  Case in point: I was volunteering/shadowing at a rural WIC office last week and while standing in the breastfeeding support room surrounded by posters of moms breastfeeding, a fellow medical student pointed at the Medela poster of a mom breastfeeding twins and remarked "that's kind of creepy".  Meanwhile I was thinking "that chick has some mad skillz".  She went on to remark that some of the children in the posters looked too old to be breastfeeding.  They all looked under 12 months to me, which is the goal for WHO and the CDC.  It's this kind of thinking that we need to work to change.  We need to get back to a point where we as a society can see breastfeeding as normal, natural, acceptable, and totally awesome.  It will help to increase breastfeeding rates, which will lead to other great health benefits: lower rates of obesity for mother and child, lower rates of breast cancer in moms, lower rates of illness in infants, better survival rates for premature infants... the list goes on.  So, the next time you see a mother breastfeeding anywhere I hope you at least realize what an amazing thing she is doing for herself and her child.

So, with last month's challenge blown out of the water, and school starting in 4 days (which means back to the pump!), I've decided to challenge myself to pump a little extra to donate.  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, especially since I haven't been able to donate plasma, so what better time than the present.

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