Guy RN Question About Breastfeeding Help

  1. Ok, so I'm a newer nurse on an L&D/PP floor. I've had a number of encounters where patients have asked for help with breastfeeding. I am fairly knowledgeable about it and can usually successfully talk them through it.

    However, there are sometimes when the women need more of a "hands on" approach and I'm not sure how to go about it. I usually grab one of the other nurses. I don't have a problem touching their breast to demonstrate (its just a breast), I'm just not sure how to go about it. It feels weird saying "is it ok to touch your breast," especially with the husband right there. Any suggestions/tips?


  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Baubo516
    I just had to read your question after seeing the title.

    I'm not a nurse yet but I AM a woman. I work as an aid and I frequently have to "handle" men's private parts to help them with bathing. Here is how I usually handle it (so to speak):

    "Would you like to wash the front and I'll do the back, or should I do both?" So, basically, I just ask, and act like it's no big deal to me either way.

    Perhaps in a situation where they require some hands-on help, you could say, "Are you ok with me showing you, or would you like me to get a female nurse?" If you ask like it's not a big deal, they'll probably just tell you. I think a new mom who is uncomfortable will tell you if you ask, especially if you open the door for it. But if they don't mind, then it will save you the time of having to go get someone.

    Since it is just touching/helping in a professional manner, I don't think the husbands should care.
  4. by   itsnowornever
    Show them in yourself, and have them give a return demonstration. You could also place their hand under yours. I had a horrible experience with BF when I had my daughter, didn't appreciate having my boobs manhandled (no pun intended) that's how I instruct my patients. They won't learn if you do it for them.

    Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs!
  5. by   itsnowornever
    Should say ON yourself (granted I get that you don't have boobs, make due with your pecs)

    Posting from my phone, ease forgive my fat thumbs!
  6. by   Twinmom06
    I worked as an extern and I would just say "May I" and usually the answer was yes...
  7. by   queenanneslace
    It feels weird saying "is it ok to touch your breast," especially with the husband right there.
    I think this is very respectful, actually, to ask before touching. I am not a male, but I do ask women as well if I can touch their breast when helping with breastfeeding. Usually something along the lines of: "May I touch your breast?" "Do you mind if I touch your breast to show you something?" Usually the moms are just grateful for help - if you're truly asking permission in a respectful manner, they will tell you "No" if they're uncomfortable.

    After giving birth, and laboring, and having hands and bright lights and all what-all going on with their private body parts, many women do not feel the same sense of modesty that they do in normal life. I agree, it feels weird. Speaking from a woman who has given birth herself - after birth everything feels weird, and it's like the rules of modesty have changed. And sometimes you are tired and worried and just want some reassurance getting your little nursling on.

    I'm a fan of the hands-off approach, but sometimes a hands-on approach is needed.

    I also think a doll or a stuffed animal - that you can use to demonstrate positioning on yourself - can be very helpful to new moms. That's besides the touching issue. Asking permission is respectful. Try it and see what kind of response you get. You can always do what you were doing - which is getting a female nurse.
  8. by   nurseprnRN
    One of my midwives was a guy; he knew a lot and I never hesitated to ask him to show/demo me anything. I am betting that a lot of the new mothers on your floor will feel the same. If you're there, you must know what you're doing, they'll think.

    I also agree with the "let them do it" approach. You can talk them through just about anything. "Feel that space an inch or so behind the nipple when you squeeze it? Yes? That's where the baby's gums will compress and squeeze the milk out. As she sucks, that keeps the nipple in her mouth in just the right place to do that."

    Of course if there's a question of an infection or something you'll need to feel skin temp-- you can use the back of your fingers to do that, and you'll feel the skin temp fine but for some people it's less of an intrusion, if you get my meaning. Also, my GYN always palpates my breasts through a layer of sheet-- he says this actually increases his ability to feel lumps and bumps, and that might work for you too, if you're looking for a blocked duct.