Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How not to bathe a baby

If you click on the link and watch to accompanying video, it shows a baby being bathed in a hospital setting, right after birth. It is completely inhumane. The infant in brutalized without regard to its fears or pain. I used it in class yesterday to demonstrate two things.
One, how not to bathe a baby. The students were learning infant bathing techniques, and after showing the video I demonstrated a proper infant bath. The students had to return demonstrate later in the learning lab.
Two, how we do not as a matter of course treat infants as aware and sensitive beings. We treat them less than the rest of us, because they are small and lack language. I talked about how we 'casually abuse the neonate at every turn' and gave some examples. The bath video illustrated what I meant beautifully. I also took the opportunity to discuss birth from the neonates perspective and how we give no credence to the neonates experience of birth and difficult transition to extrauterine life.

I'm sure my students all thought that a lecture on caring for normal newborns would be "Cuddles and Hugs 101." Now they know different.


Rebekah Costello said...

Have you read "Reclaiming the Spirituality of Birth?" There is a huge amount of information on the effects of childbirth (and pregnancy! on the neonate and I highly recommend it. Very interesting read.

Here is the book:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was horrified when I saw this video. I remember the hospital tour where I did *not* give birth, and the nurse was just robotic-ly diapering and dressing the newborn in front of her, while another baby was screaming under a french-fry lamp across the room, totally uncomforted.

Would that all nurses *did* take "hugging and cuddling 101"! :-)


Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

Aaaaaaaaah... Nooooooooo!

This is horrible, horribly sad.

No one would ever treat a wimpering puppy that way. How can the human heart be so quick and cold? Egad.

LaborPayne said...

That's what I thought when I first saw the video: no one would treat a dog this way.

Thank's for the resource, I'll check it out.