Doctor Too 'Uncomfortable' to Handle Nursing Mom Kicks Her Out of His Office

sad momAll new moms have heard the phrase “breast is best,” typically as soon they’ve gotten the news they’re expecting. I can recall my doctor inviting me to nurse during every one of my children’s first year check-ups. It eased the discomfort of needles and distracted them from being poked and prodded by a stranger. Yet, when those same new moms leave the comfort of their OB/GYN or pediatrician's office, they also leave the safety of a community that understands they are doing what they’ve been told is the best for their child. In restaurants and at shopping malls, they’ve been labelled inappropriate by those who don't understand. And now it’s happened in a therapist’s office.


New mother Nichole Moore says she went to see a psychiatrist because, like so many new moms, she wasn’t quite feeling like herself. Moore explained in making the appointment that she might suffer from postpartum depression. She expected to talk about her problem with the doctor for an hour, but instead was thrown out because 28 minutes into the appointment, she chose to nurse her hungry 8-month-old daughter.

According to Moore, the doc warned her she'd be distracted if she nursed and then said he'd need to have a female staff member come in if she was breastfeeding. Finally, she claims she was kicked out as the doctor was "uncomfortable."

A therapist, as opposed to a pediatrician, might not be versed on the benefits of nursing an infant for both mother and child. A therapist, as opposed to an ER doctor, might not be used to examining the human body on a daily basis. However, as a member of the healthcare community, I am appalled that this new mother was shamed and embarrassed for using a part of her female anatomy to perform a utilitarian act. By a therapist.

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When seeking support and guidance from a healthcare professional, I don’t expect that they will have made all the same choices that I have. Perhaps your internist doesn’t think breast is best, or your oncologist never saw the value in sleep training. Medical professionals don’t have to agree to know how to counsel. They don’t need to have experienced your struggle to provide treatment. I do, however, expect them to be educated, intelligent human beings, who are aware when their own state laws protect the act they are condemning.

Of all doctors, you'd expect a therapist to have the highest emotional IQ. Whether any particular psychiatrist supports breastfeeding or not, you'd expect them to communicate their expectations in a way that didn’t leave a fragile new mother feeling worse than when she entered their office. Moore explains that she was not offered an alternative room to nurse in, nor was she told she could come back when the baby was finished eating. She was asked to leave the offices altogether. After the short visit, she felt angry, ashamed and confused instead of heard and helped. Which is exactly how I felt after reading her story.

As a mother who has nursed two children whenever and wherever they needed it, I have experienced my fair share of bizarre looks while I breastfed in public, but this kind of ignorant behavior should never happen in any doctor's office.

What has your doctor said about your breasfeeding baby?


Image via shutterstock

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