Rod Dreher

Imagine our surprise to see a big NYT feature on the amazing Freda Rosenfeld, the Brooklyn woman who taught our Matthew how to nurse. Excerpt:

About 74 percent of American mothers tried breast-feeding their newborns in 2006, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was up from 58 percent in 1985 and 27 percent in 1970. But many struggle to make it work and give up — by three months, a third of infants were exclusively breast-fed in 2006; by six months, 14 percent.
Enter the lactation consultant. Ms. Rosenfeld was certified in 1990; there are now some 20,000 worldwide, including 582 in New York State.
She has coached novices so anxious they tried to schedule a session before giving birth (“Just enjoy being pregnant,” she counseled) and Hasidic women suddenly unable to nurse baby No. 7, 8 or 9. She has succeeded with babies with Down syndrome, despite their poor muscle tone, and with adoptive mothers, using a gizmo called a supplemental nurser to bring in their breast milk (“Isn’t that cool?” she marveled). She has rooted out problems like reflux and thyroid disorder, and stroked thousands of tiny tongues in service of “the perfect suck.” She prescribes teas and herbs to increase milk supply, along with exercise regimens for newborn mouths, and sometimes recommends that a doctor clip a baby’s frenulum, the tissue beneath the tongue. In 2007, she worked with 80 sets of twins.
“I get paid to be neurotic and hold babies,” she said. “Who could ask for more?”

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