“Baby Friendly” Gets A Rap Video!

A rap song about Baby Friendly hospitals?? Leave it to Melissa Bartick and and the creative folks at both the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon to find a way to make the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) actually seem relevant and hip.  Now on YouTube, “A Tale of Two Births: The Baby Friendly Rap” is a must see for mothers every where!

The video begins with a male rapper lamenting that you mothers might be brainwashed by tv “but your baby knows the way it’s supposed to be.” and goes on to hit all the common barriers to breastfeeding, from medicated births, mother baby separation, and of course infant formula (or as its called in the rap “form-u-lay”).  Interspersed throughout the video a trio of sultry female voices consisting of a doula (complete with super hero cape!), a female doctor, and a nurse croon together on the spicy refrain,   “…skin to skin, it’s the perfect start.  Skin to skin it’s never going to stop.”   

The video begins by portraying a mother having the birth she wants, a natural, unmedicated vaginal birth (or as I call it – the ‘untethered birth’, no electronic monitors, & no IV attached to her arm!), with her doula and partner by her side.  The baby is placed skin to skin and immediately begins to breastfeed with a perfect latch.

In the second half of the video the same mother is shown experiencing the more typical American birth, no doula, the usual birth interventions (“they gotta get him out with some instruments”), mother and baby are separated (“The cold cold scale, and then the first bath. His temperature drops in the aftermath.”) and then the baby is whisked away to the nursery and given formula to bring his blood sugar up. (According to the CDC almost 25% of babies in the US are given formula before they leave the hospital!).

By the time mom gets her baby back and he is swaddled so tightly he can’t even find the breast (“Wrapped like a burrito, they hand him back. He can barely move, he just feels trapped.”).  Essentially, the breastfeeding train has been derailed before it could even leave the station.

Of course most mothers don’t know that common hospital practices interfere with breastfeeding, and because they don’t know they blame themselves. (“With all his troubles, you can’t make enough milk. You blamin’ yourself, fillin’ up with lotsa guilt.”) Unfortunately most health providers also don’t know that  ‘Baby Friendly’ hospitals exist, and why would they?  Here it is 20 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) first introduced the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the US has only 140 Baby Friendly facilities.  That’s less than 5%.  By comparison, Sweden has been 100% Baby Friendly since 1997, and there are currently over 6,000 Baby Friendly facilities in China alone!

And it because mothers don’t know that Baby Friendly hospitals exists that makes the ending to the Baby Friendly Rap even more poignant. Instead of flaming the ‘mommy breastfeeding wars’ further, the song ends instead with an offer of absolution.  To any mother who found breastfeeding to be frustrating and who thinks she failed, please listen carefully as the trio of women shake their heads wisely at the end of the video as they sing “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”

In case you want to sing along, here are the lyrics:

“A Tale of Two Births: The Baby-Friendly Rap”


“Gonna tell you a tale, a tale of two births,
Gonna milk this story for all that it’s worth
You might be brainwashed if you seen on TV
But your baby knows the way it’s supposed to be
A doula at your side will prove her worth,
‘Cause you might not need a c-section or medicated birth
Baby is born and is brought to your chest
Then snuggles with mom, no baths, no tests.
He hears the song of mom’s heartbeat
Stays perfectly warm with her body heat.
All he needs is to be near your heart
And skin-to-skin, it ain’t never gonna stop
All he needs is a blanket on top
And skin-to-skin, it ain’t never gonna stop
He smells the milk with a deep deep breath
Then crawls his way over to his mama’s breast
After a while, he takes his first meal
Latches on by himself, and it’s the real deal
His mouth opens wide with the perfect latch
Like a miracle, it’s easy after that.
When he’s done there’ll be plenty of time
For docs and nurses to get in line
You get to sleep with your baby at your side

No one’s gonna bother you takin’ extra vital signs
Your visitors they can wait ‘til you get home,
You even turn the ringer off your cellular phone.
Those Baby-Friendly hospitals sho’ are smart
Skin to skin, it’s the perfect start
Baby-Friendly hospital sho’ know how to rock
Skin to skin, it ain’t never gonna stop.

But this ain’t what happens in the USA
When a pregnant lady gives birth today
There’s no doula to coach you through all the labor
You got no power, like you signed some kinda waiver.
Before you know it, your baby’s in distress
So they gotta get him out with some instruments
A vacuum, a section, is that the new plan?
Mama’s soft warm chest replaced with a heat lamp
The cold cold scale, and then the first bath
His temperature drops in the aftermath
Oh no, they say, he’s in a bad way
So they whisk him off to the nurser-ay
Nurser-ay, nurser-ay, stay away from the nurser-ay
The cold, and being away from his mama
Can drop his blood sugar because othe trauma
It just gets worse, ‘cause then they say
Gotta give this baby some form-u-lay
Form-u-lay, form-u-lay, stay away from the form-u-lay
Wrapped like a burrito, they hand him back
He can barely move, he just feels trapped
Then he can’t get that perfect latch,
Breastfeeding won’t be easy after all of that.
With all his troubles, you can’t make enough milk
You blamin’ yourself, fillin’ up with lotsa guilt
But it’s not your fault, the answer is logical
Push for your birth at a Baby-Friendly hospital.
It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault
Speak up for your baby, keep him close to your heart
Skin-to-skin, it’s the perfect start
Skin to skin
Skin to skin, it’s the perfect start
Skin to skin
Skin to skin, it ain’t never gonna stop”

© 2012 Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon

2 Comments

Filed under Baby Friendly Hospitals, breastfeeding, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

2 responses to ““Baby Friendly” Gets A Rap Video!

  1. Diane Broze

    This is too good! Send it to Michelle Obama so it can go national! Really! I’m an OB nurse for 40+ years and this summarizes what I have been talking about forever. Thank Diane Broze’, MSN, RN, CNS

  2. Anne Chapman

    I’ve been an RN for 39 years and worked in L&D for a couple years 30+ years ago. My close friend from L&D eventually earned her MSN in Maternal-Infant nursing and was my doula in the 1980s, before I ever heard the word.
    What amazed me most about this “humorous video”, is that these are all the EXACT SAME ISSUES that we fought over in 1979-90.
    What’s wrong with this picture?

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