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to ask about quality of breast-feeding teaching in early days?

(26 Posts)
jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 08:04:50

I mean it doesn't(mostly) 'come naturally'...do MWs have the time/knowledgable-experience for this now? There are so many other demands on MWs, and staff shortages to contend with, that maybe new mothers are'nt getting the necessary help?(and not feeling pressured timewise, as showing women and babies 'how to do it' can need a lot of time,like feeling bad maybe cos MW clearly has got other more pressing tasks and not saying,like,: I still am'nt really sure ,thus not getting the hang of it properly).
All my sympathies to parents and frustrated overworked staff who've ever felt let down in any situation like this

bigbluestars Mon 24-Nov-14 08:08:57

Many midwives know very little about breastfeeding. It is sad that breastfeeding has become so medicalised. It has landed like a white elephant in the lap of the NHS.

bronya Mon 24-Nov-14 08:16:36

I think the problem is that the knowledge every family once had, was lost in the era of 'ff is best'. Gradually families are gaining it again (e.g. when my daughter has DC I will be able to help her), but it is a very slow process. I paid for good bf advice and support when DC1 was born -worth every penny.

LegoCaltrops Mon 24-Nov-14 08:21:51

I think the problem is that the knowledge every family once had, was lost in the era of 'ff is best'.
^ This, sadly. I struggled to BF. I managed it, barely, with many tears & through gritted teeth, as DD had tongue tie. I think proper assessment for tongue tie would also help many, I'm shocked how many parents on here say their DCs had tongue tie & it caused issues.

Carrierpenguin Mon 24-Nov-14 08:24:32

It's not great in my experience. I found Nct breastfeeding advice best. Once dd was born I went to the Nct breastfeeding drop ins each week and ended up happily bf for two years.

Littlef00t Mon 24-Nov-14 08:24:49

Hospital, they could check my latch but didn't seem to know much more than that.

I sought out support at bf cafés etc which helped the most.

poolomoomon Mon 24-Nov-14 08:37:50

I had such conflicting advice from different midwives about BFing. I recall one midwife saying breastfeeding should never hurt and if it does, you're doing it wrong. Another one said if it doesn't hurt you're not doing it right!

The time in hospital is all very hazy but I seem to recall a lot of different advice on how to get baby to latch as well. I remember doing it one way the first midwife had taught me and then the night shift one basically told me I was doing it all wrong! A lot of them seemed to just be going off their own experience of BFing tbh rather than any specific training...

jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 08:43:08

tongue tie probs : this sounds awful-why aren't these being assessed by a paediatrician?

SquattingNeville Mon 24-Nov-14 08:43:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 09:04:23

these accounts are terrible to hear about...it's a real shame

Roomba Mon 24-Nov-14 10:24:32

Agreed. I actually went along to an NHS antenatal breastfeeding session (only went to one of four session due to giving birth prematurely) which was quite helpful (and I think run as a labour of love by the midwife who did it - she's now retired so he classes don't run now).

Otherwise my entire experience would have been the midwife who just grabbed my breast and shoved it in the direction of DS's mouth, and lots of people asking how bf was going, but not offering much advice. I learned all I needed to know from the Kellymom website and trial and error!

If it isn't possible to spent the time helping new mums, they should be at least given information on where to find advice ie specific websites.

Even the volunteer BF supporter who visited me in hospital after DS2 just said, 'Oh you know more than me then!' when I said I had BF my first DC for almost 2 years! Er, that doesn't mean all will go swimmingly next time round though, does it?

Roomba Mon 24-Nov-14 10:27:45

I think tongue tie problems aren't viewed with much urgency by the NHS, as it is viewed that if bf fails there is another, perfectly adequate way to feed babies. So mothers should just bottle feed rather than spend NHS funds because of a selfish desire to breastfeed... seriously, I have had a friend who is a paediatrician say this to me - she was complaining about this attitude, I hasten to add!

DishwasherDogs Mon 24-Nov-14 10:39:37

IME breast feeding is majorly (irritatingly?) pushed before birth, the MWs are on the hard sell.
The minute your baby is born there is huge pressure to get it right, huge pressure to keep trying when things go wrong (but without the knowledge to actually help), then pressure to bottle feed.
Ds3 has a tt which no-one in the hospital recognised. I pointed it out to the paediatrician before we came home, but he said it's never a problem hmm.

It was a problem, bfing hurt like hell (although ds did gain weight). When I went to the GP to ask for it to be snipped, he told me to bottle feed.
It was eventually snipped at 3 months, and bfing was instantly pain free.

There needs to be decent breast feeding support easily available both in hospital and at home.
My experience of support involves ringing the local number provided by the MW. The lady who answered the phone was busy for the next few weeks and couldn't help. The next number on the list was an hour's drive away, she offered me an appointment, but as I had had a CS I couldn't drive so that wasn't an option.

When I was in hospital with ds3 there was a lady in the bed opposite whose baby wouldn't breast feed, the midwives would go in, turn the lights on full, grab a boob and force it into the baby's mouth, then tut at the baby as he wouldn't feed. The poor mother was beside herself.
The baby had a forceps delivery and had bruises down either side of his face, and was probably in great pain, forcing his mouth open was probably agony sad

DinoSnores Mon 24-Nov-14 10:47:37

"tongue tie probs : this sounds awful-why aren't these being assessed by a paediatrician?"

A lot of doctors I know (GPs or paediatricians) don't believe that tongue ties cause problems with feeding and that it is a fad... Even if it does cause problems, I've seen doctors say, "Well, what's the fuss? Just formula feed. You're not a cow."

I am a doctor myself, my nipples were ripped to shreds by my DS's tongue tie, he didn't put on weight for weeks - I don't agree!

(Once he had it snipped, BFing got so much easier and he was EBF until 16 months.)

PterodactylTeaParty Mon 24-Nov-14 10:48:37

Mixed in my experience. The ward midwives were pretty good at showing me how to position the baby and use different holds to avoid her sitting on my c-section wound, and what a good latch looks like. Nobody grabbed my breasts or baby, and for the first feed they showed me how to lie back biological nurturing style and let her find the nipple herself, which worked really well for us. Also the ward was pretty quiet and there were always midwives dropping by to ask if I wanted them to observe a feed. Community midwife spotted a latch issue that started developing after we got home and helped me to fix it.

On the other hand, DD fed for 5-10 minutes every hour for the first few months, and I had both midwives and HV tell me this was A Problem because she was 'snacking' and needed to go longer between feeds. HV told me I must be taking her off before she was finished (I wasn't!) and that I needed to wait for flutter sucks which she would definitely do once she was finished (she didn't). So I'm very glad I had the Internet at that stage to tell me she was actually fine.

lambsie Mon 24-Nov-14 10:59:34

I had one midwife tell me "I can't do it for you" and another tell me I should offer nothing but the breast - my baby was. 5 weeks prem and doing what she said would have been dangerous. The rest could only say keep trying. The facilites for expressing were also poor. There was one pump for the whole large ward which you had to pull back and forth to your bed when you needed it. Not fun after a c section.

tiktok Mon 24-Nov-14 11:02:33

I have heard this phrase 'I can't do it for you' a few times....it is incredibly undermining for mothers, and belittling.

Please, those of you who had poor experiences, write and tell the relevant maternity unit/service. If you had great help, too, tell them smile

FarOverTheRainbow Mon 24-Nov-14 11:02:51

I was so lucky that when I was in hospital after I had DD the MW were amazing took so much time with us to make sure she was feeding right, I was as comfortable as I could be. I only had one vile MW who during a night feed got funny with me when I asked her to pass me DD, I had a c sec that day and couldn't get up to pick her up then when DD wouldn't latch straight away she was quite forceful pushing my nipple into her mouth and quite man handled my boob. She made me feel like it was to much effort for her to help me feed DD but all the others were amazing

milkpudding Mon 24-Nov-14 11:46:26

I had mostly positive experiences, but in general support after birth seems to be lacking.

my antenatal breastfeeding class was very motivational, but little information about how to manage common difficulties, eg I was told not to bother buying lansinoh cream as after this class my latch would be perfect!

We had a private birth and our midwife stayed with us for an hour to help with our first feed, and then I called her back to help me feed every time until I had it right. Overnight a midwife was always available to help immediately. Invaluable, sadly midwife staffing levels on the NHS postnatal ward are shocking. Some midwives know a lot about breastfeeding and are enthusiastic and have practical advice, others just read the 'breast is best' information in your notes to you and suggest a bottle if you are struggling.

Also postnatal wards are often noisy, hot, lack of privacy, poor access to fluids, no wonder lots of women struggle.

A few days after discharge I was having trouble with positioning and a local NHS breastfeeding advisor came round within a few hours to help. That was fantastic.

I have been so several breastfeeding cafes and seen some very detailed assessments and carefully thought out advice, and some very wishy washy vague advice.

I phoned the UK breastfeeding helpline in tears and couldn't get through for half an hour, and when I did she misunderstood my difficulty and I was too upset/ embarrassed to explain it again.

I phoned a Doctor friend, also a mother, and she suggested a bottle of formula in the evening hmm.

I found the internet very useful, Kellymom website has good practical advice, and there are some support groups on Facebook.

SellyMevs Mon 24-Nov-14 11:52:49

When I was induced with DS, I knew I would have a planned admission of at least 5 days post birth. I naively thought I could use this to my advantage and establish feeding etc before being discharged.

DS didn't even latch for the first 3 days. I had gestational diabetes, so when his sugars dropped, the formula was out the first night. He wouldn't take a cup because he dribbled it out instead of lapping it up (classic TT sign apparently), so he had a bottle very early on. When he did eventually try and latch, he was fussy and would slip off. I've never known pain like it. Every 3 hours I called for help and I was told his latch looked fine so it must be. I was discharged barely able to BF with formula top ups after every feed.

I asked for so much help, I asked to see the breastfeeding midwife in the hospital and it didn't happen. After I got home I saw the health visitor a lot and she was helpful with positioning but not really addressing why it was so painful. Unfortunately it was summer holidays so our local drop ins were closed as they are run by volunteers.

I made the first one when DS was 7 weeks. Within 30 mins of being there, he was diagnosed with a posterior tongue tie. He wasn't able to move his tongue much at all so he just couldn't feed effectively. By this stage we were only able to feed with nipple shields and I was feeding for 10 hours a day. He was barely gaining weight, and this was probably because of his top ups.

I think it was too late for him by the time it was snipped. He never latched properly, was always fussy but he also developed a cows milk protein allergy so I think he'd associated feeding with his discomfort.

We kept going until 10 weeks. He's now 15 weeks and I hasn't realised how much it was impacting our relationship. We can now interact with each other instead of being asleep or feeding. I've accepted that it wasn't for us this time, but I do wonder if we could have had a different story had someone listened to me in the early days. All I can remember vividly is the paediatrician who did the new baby check, clearly saying there was no tongue tie. The consultant who snipped his tongue tie 7 weeks later said he had a very restricted tie. At least I will have this experience for next time!

fertilityFTW Mon 24-Nov-14 11:59:12

I must say that I had a very positive experience through NHS. Only attended the NHS antenatal classes, they covered both BF and FF and anyone who wanted more practical BF advice could stick around after the last session for demonstrations and tips, which I did.
After the birth (CS) the hospital MWs were kind and knowledgeable and attended to my queries at all hours. They had good advice and I never felt pushed in anyway. When my milk came in a few days later at home I was asked by the HV if I'd like a consultation and I said yes, and a breastfeeding counsellor came to my home and provided more guidance - I felt thoroughly supported and very grateful to have had such a great experience at the hands of the NHS.

cogitosum Mon 24-Nov-14 12:06:24

I had an amazing experience. The postnatal ward was made up of private rooms and dh could stay with us so I was happy staying for 3 nights until bf was fully established. The midwife's and HCAs were fantastic and helpful. (And yes I did write a card and gave tins of biscuits).

The hvs were a different story though. One shouted at my in clinic for holding ds too close to my breasts which was making him hungry hmm

jazzsyncopation Mon 24-Nov-14 12:11:19

selly that's awful it really is...also the other awful tales on here
maybe there should be staff whose ONLY task is helping with the feeding instead of all the ( bit nebulous?)ante-natal hard sell, and 'glossy(?)' leaflets.
It's good to hear of the good experiences like kellymom website tho; thing is it can just save so much other work once it's established

TooManyMochas Mon 24-Nov-14 13:54:49

My experience with MWs in the first few weeks was very poor. Luckily our then local hospital (the John Radcliffe in Oxford) had a fantastic drop in breastfeeding clinic, where I discovered that just about everything various MWs had told me to date was wrong grin.

catellington Mon 24-Nov-14 14:06:53

I am a volunteer bf peer supporter for Sure start. Our weekly bf group is almost always inundated, it is the only one of its kind covering a very large geographical area so some women travel quite a long way for support. There are usually two employed and two volunteers per group, the volunteers kept very busy and we are still trying to get to see everyone in time. So in essence it is grossly underfunded and undervalued.

Many of the women have already been told something incorrect by other hcp which often leads to loss of confidence etc.

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