chapter  23
Postpartum professional care
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 17

For the woman giving birth in hospital, professionals with whom she comes into contact on the postnatal ward are invested with many of the qualities attributed to 'wise-women' in the traditional home birth situation. She expects advice on physical matters such as breast and episiotomy treatment, and reassurance about clots in the lochia or moulding of the baby's head, or postoperative nursing care if she has undergone a caesarean section. When a labour ward midwife finds time in her busy schedule and makes an effort to visit a previous client now in the postnatal ward, she is often surprised at the warm welcome she receives as a very special visitor. Whether a mother wants to breast- or bottle-feed her baby, depends not only on physiological and social factors but on a variety of conscious and unconscious psychological influences as well. Some women feel endangered by the emotional commitment and physical tie of breastfeeding.