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Setting and Set-up

March 2022

The idea for this blog post came to me while setting the dinner table.

The discussion on the topic is what brought laughter from my group of friends afterward. It was amusing to see that we all had a different understanding of how to set the table, the laying of utensils, napkins, and dishes.

Table setting

We had all learned how to set a table as children—by observation, and by participation in the task. We drew similar conclusions that the process of setting the table was a mixture of re-creation of a learned art with an added touch of style, according to personal preference.

Similarly, many practitioners build skills and pick up on behavioral traits (or preferences) by observing their mentors and peers, as they work at a task. Let’s consider the perinatal health care environment to illustrate how this principle is actually related.—For example, learning to set up minor and painful procedures on the neonate.

Some examples of this paradigm shift: witnessing the way experienced colleagues set up for such a task may leave many impressed. Focusing on how they are arranging the materials neatly, in an orderly, logical, and fluid manner: tape, gauze, other medical equipment…This mentoring format can offer skill-building opportunities as well as aid, in time, in the development of personal style in the maternal-infant/parent-infant work setting.

Working in a perinatal setting where BFHI/BFI implementation is being put into practice may create other opportunities, alongside peer tutoring, to acquire skills and knowledge through continuing education, such as attending lectures or conferences, or reading educational material. An example of this may be upskilling in supporting practices that help manage pain related to procedures on the neonate.

From there, putting a new and different perspective on how to set things up for procedures like this. Helping the parent find a comfortable position to place their infant in skin-to-skin contact. Supporting the parent in offering drops of colostrum. Engage the parent in a conversation about how some babies may rest and soothe at the breast. These ways of setting up for procedures can ultimately form a part of the set-up: Tape, gauze, the dyad in skin-to-skin…In a fluid and natural way.

Setting up with willful intent to make everyone feel comfortable, at work in the perinatal health care setting, just as at home, around the table-Is indeed a notion to smile at.

May comfortable set-ups define your journey.

Manon Campagna, IBCLC
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Reece-Stremtan, S., Gray, L., & Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. (2016). ABM clinical protocol# 23: Nonpharmacological management of procedure-related pain in the breastfeeding infant, revised 2016. Breastfeeding Medicine, 11(9), 425-429. https://www.bfmed.org/assets/DOCUMENTS/PROTOCOLS/23-non-pharmacologic-pain-management-protocol-english.pdf

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