Advanced search

To b/f in the early pregnancy unit at hospital?

(100 Posts)
happyfrogger Wed 30-Jan-13 19:31:34

I had an early scan today but finding childcare for my 9 month old was not possible (particularly at short notice), so I took her with me.

She needed a feed so I sat in the corner and fed her, as I would on any other occasion. One of the staff ladies came over to me and wafted a small sheet over my DD's head. I wasn't quite sure what she did and in my unsure shock I just said 'oh, thanks'.

As ever, bf is discrete and nobody can see anything, plus it keeps a hungry baby from making a lot of fuss and chaos in a place which ladies will do doubt prefer calm and quiet. On reflection I was quite annoyed at the implication that we weren't discrete or covered up, if I'd wanted to cover her head I would have done so myself. It was hardly 'being helpful/considerate' to me - nobody anywhere else has ever felt the need to 'help' me in this way.

I know the EPU is a sensitive place for ladies who perhaps don't want to be focusing on other people's babies, particularly if they are stressed about their personal situation, but AIBU taking her when I had no other options and AIBU feeding her in this environment?

FadBook Thu 31-Jan-13 06:15:50

Some EPU's also deal with post birth problems. Mine did anyway

I had retained placenta and the EPU managed this from 7 weeks through to my D&C on week 12.

I dreaded every appointment because I took dd (then 7 weeks) with me. I had MIL with me too to take her for a walk but one appointment she needed feeding so I asked for somewhere to go.

I'm one to defend bf'ing in public to anyone (as a peer supporter) but I was furious that my appointments were in the same place as families receiving devastating news. I wanted to tell people why I was there and that I'd had dd via IVF so knew what they were feeling.

The time I did need to feed, they were lovely and I was just off reception on a bed and they got me some magazines and a class of water.

I complained to the hospital that it wasn't appropriate to have women having a potential miscarriage and women post birth in the same place.

Op - the lady was wrong to do what she did. The sensitive situation could have been handled much better.

JenaiMorris Thu 31-Jan-13 07:15:40

If you really, really couldn't find anyone to mind your baby OP then YANBU.

Entire families seemed to rock up at ours when I was in there. I found that quite difficult for some reason (possibly because I was on my own, I dunno). It was like a day out hmm

As a rule though I would say that EPAUs and antenatal scans generally are not appropriate places for children to be.

bbface Thu 31-Jan-13 07:21:43


AThingInYourLife Thu 31-Jan-13 07:24:27

"Forgive me, but is there something special about seeing a baby breastfeed as apposed to sat on your lap, that would make it more upsetting for the women there?"


The nurse was way out of order.

Either the baby should have been covered in paper the whole time you were there or not at all.

13Iggis Thu 31-Jan-13 08:11:31

One thing that can make childcare especially hard is that you have to 'out' yourself as pregnant to whoever you ask to babysit. And then go and collect your child from them after you get the bad news. And all in a rush after you discover you're spotting or whatever.

ReallyTired Thu 31-Jan-13 08:24:19

"Really tired If they are going to ask breastfeeding mothers to use cubicals, then surely they have to ask all mothers to wait in a cubicle for their appointment if they're with a baby?"

Ideally people with young babies should not be in the same area as those with a miscarriage. I would expect equal treatment for those who are bottle feeding.

I am normally pro breastfeeding a baby anyway. However having a baby infront of a miscarrying woman is less than ideal. OP and her baby had to be there and yes, I think breastfeeding is a bit of re herring.

LedaOfSparta Thu 31-Jan-13 08:27:59

I've been in the EPU on 2 ocassions, once where the news was a mmc and once where the news was positive and both times there were ladies with babies, toddlers etc.

TBH it's upsetting if the news is bad and I can't imagine even noticing what other people were up to. If you had the baby with you and she needed a feed then what else could you have done, much more upsetting for everyone to hear a distressed baby. As for the cloth thing you did well to accept it with good grace but its not as if it made your boob and your baby disappear a la Harry Potter's invisibility cloak so it was ultimately a pointless gesture on the part of the HCP.

I hope your visit was ok though.

JenaiMorris Thu 31-Jan-13 08:41:16

I remember seeing one woman alone with a toddler and whilst it was painful, I felt sorry for her having to cope with such a stressful situation whilst looking after a small child.

There were others there though with children and one or more adult with them. I thought that was a bit shit tbh.

LovesGSD Thu 31-Jan-13 09:02:53

when I miscarried I had no choice but to take my 6 month old with me for the follow up tests hmm

maddening Thu 31-Jan-13 09:05:34

If it was due to discretion issues yanbu.

If it was due to the fact that other ladies were in there waiting for scans to confirm mc then she should have had a quiet word and offered a side room for you.

I think a bf baby is different to a toddler in terms of upsetting when in epu.

When in epu waiting rooms you are more than aware of things like babies and heavily pg women as it is a highly sensitive time.

Bottleoffish Thu 31-Jan-13 09:13:53

YWNBU. You were worried about your pregnancy, you didn't have childcare, your baby needed a breastfeed. Perhaps you were supposed to wait at home and not know whether your pregnancy was OK to save the feelings of others who are going to see babies, breastfed and otherwise, everywhere they go.

I have had two early miscarriages and also been sat in the EPU another time waiting to find out if I had lost my baby. When I had the early miscarriages, they were devasting, the second especially as I had just lost my twins after they were premature a few months before. I was also on my own as I had to leave my children with the only friend who could have accompanied me and my DH was abroad. I was inconsoleable and nothing could have made me feel worse, even if it had been a Mother with her child, even feeding her child.

Having a miscarriage is very hard, but suddenly it seems that there are pregnant women and babies everywhere you go and that is just something you have to learn to deal with. Other people's babies do not change your own situation.

FeckOffCup Thu 31-Jan-13 09:14:48

YANBU to have fed your baby where you did if you were kept waiting for your appointment. You had to take her if you had no childcare and she needed to be fed, yes it will be upsetting to some women in the EPU to see a young baby but in this situation it really can't be helped, if you needed the medical attention then you and your child had to be there and have done nothing wrong.

AlphaBeta2012 Thu 31-Jan-13 09:16:26

I think the nurse was trying to help discretion. As someone who has sat in an EPU 3 times to be told my baby is dead I would find it incredibly hard to be processing this news in front of a young baby. I don't think the BF is the factor. On the first time we had to take my son, and realised how distressing this was for other mothers so my DH took him out whilst I recieved the news. I know sometime it cannot be helped if you have to have your baby with you, but I do think you are BU in not recognising that this may cause distress to others.

13Iggis Thu 31-Jan-13 09:26:47

Unless my local EPU is unique, the woman who would have seen the OP were all in the waiting room. Once you've had a bad scan, you would sit in a separate room while they explain options to you.
I found the cheery people who obviously weren't expecting the worst hard to deal with in the waiting room - not that I wish them the knowledge that bad news brings!
Oh and the heavily pg women smoking outside the door to the EPU area, but that's a whole other thread.

elliejjtiny Thu 31-Jan-13 09:27:51

I've had 2 miscarriages and one of them I also had DS3 aged 11 months and also 2 older children. My scan was in the antenatal clinic so there were lots of other children, heavily pregnant women and the tv tuned in to the baby channel. I thought there were far more upsetting things there than my baby tbh.

My baby was buried with other babies and I was allowed to go to the service. I didn't have anyone to look after my preschool children (aged 3 and 1) and I asked the chaplain if it would be ok to bring them. She said there was normally just her and the man from the crematorium there and it would be fine. On the day, 2 other couples turned up and I really wished we had stayed at home and visited the grave later.

It's so hard when you have a baby and mc/threatened mc. The OP weas stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Madmum24 Thu 31-Jan-13 09:38:12


I'm assuming this is a maternity hospital, therefore lots of babies around? I have been in EPU myself and all I was concerned about was my OWN baby. I wouldn't have noticed who was feeding what. Regardless, even if someone has a sad time existing babies still need to be fed....................

thistlelicker Thu 31-Jan-13 09:53:25

Why couldn't the op have asked for a room for discretion instead if having to wait to be offered? I think we have or judgey pants on here! I've just had my 2nd mmc at the end of the year after 4 years since the first I work in a hospital with babies! Which is my choice. It's respected, like its op choice to bf her baby! It's her choice!!! I think Epu needs discretion from all parties not just one I accommodate the sensitivity of other patients! Look at it as a whole not individuals!!

PenelopePipPop Thu 31-Jan-13 09:56:22

Obviously YANBU to bf your baby in the circumstances. You had an urgent appt, no childcare cover and they told you you had to wait because they were running early (although they were not). I don't think given that set of facts you did anything wrong.

Equally, I think an EPAU is the only place on earth where it is appropriate to ask someone to be discreet about bf-ing. But only if handled constructively. They could have found you a private room when you needed to feed, offered to come and find you when your appointment began and generally been supportive, rather than making you feel like you were doing something wrong. At an EPAU your feelings matter and so do the feelings of everyone else waiting.

Could you write to them and point out what they could have done rather to help rather than just pointing out the bad practice?

PenelopePipPop Thu 31-Jan-13 09:59:58

Oh an 13iggis I don't know about unique but my EPAU had just the one waiting area last time I used it. Very large and bloody awful, frightened people at one end, tearful people at the other end, and a few relieved people sitting in the middle waiting to be discharged just feeling guilty they were neither frightened or tearful. Terrible.

CMOTDibbler Thu 31-Jan-13 10:18:51

The EPAUs I went to also had only one waiting room - you 'd wait for a scan there, be put back there while you waited for the Dr, wait again to do bloods, and on one memorable occasion, wait for 4 hours to find a bed.

AlphaBeta2012 Thu 31-Jan-13 10:27:21

CMOT this is exactly what ours is like. worst visit was one when there were 7 to 8 ladies, 2 of which were sitting there grinning like cheshire cats as they had positive scans looking at there lovely scan photos, 1 lady obviously quite a lot further along 18-20 weeks ish and had been told pregnancy non-viable awaiting an operation and me and another who knew babies had died, with the rest anxiously waiting. For women in this state it was absolutely awful, just to top it all off that bloody Ed Sheran song 'small bundle' all about losing a child at 4 mths came on the radio. It was pure misery. This was no one womens particular fault, those who were happy had every right to be so, but it made it so much worse for the others and no attempt was made to manage this.
I do think that there are particular sensitivities which need to be managed in these situations and the hospitals do need to think about the emotional wellbeing of patients and not just the physical.

sheeplikessleep Thu 31-Jan-13 10:54:45

The lady shouldn't have wafted a bit of paper, they could have offered a quiet room for you to feed.

Whether it's right or wrong, I'm sure for the women in there who were losing their babies, seeing another baby being breastfed is such a primitive, nurturing thing to do must have hurt them, it's such a visual and emotive symbol of mother and baby.

I think you were a bit unthoughtful to do it, though I can understand why you had to.

I would probably have let the reception know, given my mobile number and gone and sat in the car to feed.

elliejjtiny Thu 31-Jan-13 11:17:21

I must have been quite lucky with my EPU. The EPU is just one room so you wait in a general waiting room with everyone waiting to see whichever consultants happen to be doing their clinics and people waiting for blood tests. Once you've had your scan/appointment you are either sent home with your picture, sent back to the waiting room to join the blood testing queue or sent to the gynae ward to discuss your options. If you get bad news in the antenatal clinic you are taken from the scan room into one of the consulting rooms and offered tea and sympathy until someone is free to take you to the gynae ward.

Kaida Thu 31-Jan-13 11:23:00

AmandaCooper has it right, the average EPU is terribly designed, and that is what is at fault, not the OP. I have been to EPU too many times, many of them after having heard bad news waiting for another scan to monitor the progress of the miscarriage as we'd opted for conservative management. Sitting in EPU knowing my baby I was carrying was dead, and seeing toddlers and babies around was horrible. It isn't rocket science to put mothers with children in one waiting room and those without in another.

Ours is a big new maternity building and the EPU is at least accessed by seperate corridors - we got our bad news at our 12 week scan, and the route we took through to EPU from the shared sonography rooms for a discussion of our options was away from the main maternity waiting room, and there is a corridor directly from EPU out to the entrance. But they definitely should've incorporated a second waiting room to put women who have had to bring children in.

Moominsarescary Thu 31-Jan-13 11:31:07

The one I've been to is the same as ellies if you receive bad news you are taken to your own room. However when I had my first mc 12 years ago I was sat in the antinatel waiting room for 3 hours 2 days after receiving bad news.

The worst experiance I had was last year at my post natal appointment after loosing ds4 at 20 weeks. I should have been sent to the consultants office but reception sent me to AN clinic. As soon as i told the nurse at that desk who I was their to see they rushed me out. I think the consultant must do clinics upstairs for those who have had late mc or stillbirths.

I did however take ds3 who was by that point 11 months with me, they booked me in on the day I would have been due my csection. Probably sounds mad but I felt better having the baby there. Tbh it didn't even cross my mind how him being their might have affected others waiting. If I'd have thought it would upset them I probably would have left him at home. (I'm not saying that's what op should have done though!)

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: