My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

Please Join me on Facebook at Punger Family Medicine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Waiting Room

Most people don't know how much I can learn about a new mother/baby pair by just keeping an eye on what goes on in my waiting room. I purposely take notice because there are things I want to observe.

Is the baby being worn in a sling? Is the sling being worn correctly? Does the mother have a hand in contact with the baby in the sling (ei, rubbing the baby's back)? Does the mother confidently breastfeed in the sling?

Or, is the baby sleeping in a car seat? Covered by a blanket over the whole carrier? With a foot of a parent rocking the baby? Or worse, is the baby crying in the car seat, rocked by the foot of the mother, with a pacifier stuck into its mouth? And no human interaction? Is she looking at our big selection of birth and breastfeeding books? Or totally disinterested?

Observing these scenarios gives me lots of clues about if this pair is being seen for latch issues. Which scenario do you think is more likely to have latch issues? You have to be in contact with your baby to breastfeed. You can't spoil a baby too much by holding her.

Other things I note: Is there bottles in the pocket of the diaper bag? Is there a pacifier attached to the car seat? Is the diaper bag a freebie from a formula company? (did you even know how undermining the diaper bag-freebies are?) Is the baby being fed a bottle (prior to a lactation visit)? Or is breastfeeding hidden behind a blanket?

Fortunately most mothers (at least from the selection of moms who make the effort to come in for a consult) want to be told its OK to hold the baby. Many mothers do not want to give a pacifier, but nobody has ever told them other ways to console a baby (skin-to-skin, sling, co-bath, co-sleep, rocking). Its no wonder babies won't latch! Many of "my" mothers are so glad to verbally receive permission to mother. Many of the mothers I see who come in "with a baby hidden under the blanket" do leave confidently with a baby latched in a sling!

"We mistakenly say that a baby rejects the breast. How did I get the baby to latch? Babies want to latch. Even after a less then optimal birth and poor feeding start, they WANT TO LATCH. They are just waiting for the opportunity. Don't wait to long to provide them the opportunity. In my exam room with a comfortable chair for my mom, footstool, back and elbow support, naked baby (no mittens!), and proper positioning in a quiet atmosphere with no distraction, a hungry baby under the age of two months old usually latches. They were really just waiting for the opportunity.


Courtney said...

Whew... now I am know you are checking me out when I am there... I better be on best behavior. I am just kidding. It is very interesting. I actually check out all of those things to when I see a Mom and a baby. I get very frustrated when I see a Mom NOT picking up a crying baby . I cannot stand those car seat carriers and I detest pacifiers.

Courtney said...

One more thing..
When I see a crying newborn that is rooting... and the Mom is doing nothing or just shoves the pacifier in... I have been tempted to go over and pick up the baby myself. It makes me nuts.

Permission to Mother said...

No fear, Courtney! Other families (young and old) that see you, Rockstar, and the kids comment to me how well-behaved your kids are and how much you both enjoy parenting. You set a great example.

I've noticed that some of the new mothers in my office do carefully observe confident mothering styles they see in my office. I really like when that happens. I like creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere (as you know).

Catalina said...

It's true. I remember not knowing what was the right thing to do and whether or not it was okay to handle my newborn the way I felt inside that I should. I had many problems in the beginning, as you know ... and I was able to walk out of the office head held high and knowing it was okay to do the "right" thing.

I wish you guys were in SC so I could have somewhere to go where I could be encouraged. Thank God for this blog .. and for e-mail! :D I love it there at the office, it taught me the "unexpected" and how to handle it .. and that felt good :D Thank you!

Oh, and in regards to what Courtney said ... I KNOW how she feels about the crying newborn thing ... I just want to pick them up and nurse them myself .. LoL ... It's true though. I currently know some women that have newborns that think that the baby is spoiled because when they're put down, they cry and have "no reason to be crying". I don't know what to do in this situation .. so I simply say .. "Well, they know what they want and he wants his mommy" .. Hoping it will somehow move the mom :]

Natalie said...

I am enjoying reading your past posts!

My baby shower wasn't until two weeks after Eva was born so I carried the freebie formula diaper bag for those two made my mother in law insane. She constantly commented on how stupid it was that I carried a cheapo formula diaper bag...

I can not for the life of me figure out how to nurse while using the sling. I honestly don't really even like the sling I have, so maybe that's the problem. Do you have any diagrams or videos for this?

Permission to Mother said...

Natalie, Check out and for the different choices in slings and instruction by experts how to wear and nurse in all the sling types. I'd have you drop by if you were local. lists by state who can show you how to properly use your sling and nurse in it. Most LLL groups have experts and they are listed on

You've probably browsed through the babywearing posts on my blog and on C's blog (One of my posts linked to it). We show lots of photos and carrier types.


Lauren said...

I never told you, but I didn't get around to reading this post until a few weeks after our first visit with you. When we were in the waiting room, I wondered why you were checking in on us. It's not something you see most doctors do...

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin
There was an error in this gadget