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What help did you get with breastfeeding?

(134 Posts)
countless Tue 21-Jun-11 10:25:02

Just been listening to radio womens hour and discussion about availability of Formula in hospitals. I've bf 3 babies but was very grateful with last baby to be offered formula at 4 am on the 2nd night after hours trying to settle crying baby.I was in longer after cs.
I continued bf, muddled through mastitis with an electric pump but no practical help at all from midwife's in the hospital or at home even with severe engorgement/ bleeding nipples/ mastitis or health visitors.
This was in stark contrast to the brilliant bf support I'd received with baby 2 in a different city. In Edinburgh Royal Infirmary they were bf zealots constantly checking and correcting position and latching, literally hands on even helping me hand express. If I hadn't received that support with the 2nd I doubt I'd have continued bf with 2nd or 3rd baby.
So I feel this is vital and wondered how it differs around the country.

HarrietJones Tue 21-Jun-11 10:28:55

I got v little with dd3. I just fed her when she was born( section) and only when they were filling in my discharge form did anyone check the latch. I v rarely saw any MW though and two nights I was in people gave birth on the ward so I think they were v short staffed!

In the community there is a helpline & bf supporter. My GP is v pro bf too, he assumes bf when he put me on meds which surprised me as usually I have to say for them to check.

HarrietJones Tue 21-Jun-11 10:30:29

Don't remember dd1 but I had a v good HV.

Dd2 I should have had more as I gave up early because of some treatment I had was incompatible but had I known about pump & dump I could have restarted

RitaMorgan Tue 21-Jun-11 10:31:27

None really from the hospital - barely saw a midwife and was just manhandled a bit by the HCAs. Grabbing the baby or your boob shoudl be banned.

thesurgeonsmate Tue 21-Jun-11 10:32:47

I thought support for breastfeeding was great at ERI too - we did hand expressing together as well! Had good support at home also from midwives, who also answered the phone when I needed them.

worldgonecrazy Tue 21-Jun-11 10:38:54

I had really rubbish breastfeeding support until one of the young midwives mentioned a good support group the other side of the city. I'd struggled in absolute agony for three weeks, bleeding nipples, deep tissue thrush, constant feeding, being in tears at the thought of the next feed. Luckily I had support from my family to get me to the group and I realised I wasn't alone and what I was experiencing was normal. Unfortunately the group is so good that it is a victim of its own success and regularly has more women attending than the two HVs who run it can cope with.

pettyprudence Tue 21-Jun-11 10:43:01

I had a home birth and they helped me with the first and second feed. My MW then arranged for a breast feeding MW to come every 24hrs for the first 72 hrs. She also encouraged me to go to a breast feeding clinic 6 days later, which I ignored, got mastitis, gave up bf-ing for 18 hours and then finally went to a clinic. So great support but I wasn't in the right frame of mind to use the help!

The breast feeding people who came to my house were useless, but this was down to a postcode lottery. I have met the other MWs who serve the other parts of the city and they are fab. The Breast feeding consultants at the clinics and peer support groups I have attended were also fab.

After I went to the first clinic I made it my mission to go to every group available until we got bf-ing right! Luckily there is a group almost ever day.
Bf-ing didnt stop hurting until about 6-7wks. DS is now 12 weeks but we still go to one group a week for peer support.

I found out further down the line that I could call out a bf-ing MW to my house every day for the first 4 weeks and that we could also room-in at another hospital until we were happy with bf-ing. I didn't do this bit but I have met women who checked in for anywhere between 2-5 night and their partners could stay too. Unfortunately the hospital that offered the rooming in shut last month so don't know if you can do this at the main hospital.

I am in Cardiff by the way. Anyone who has a baby at UHW should ask for Judy who is head of breast feeding services in Cardiff. I have never met someone with so much enthusiasm and support for bf-ing.

My MW pointed out to me that I have now met every breast feeding counsellor/lactation consultant and MW in Cardiff grin blush

So to summarise a very long post blush Cardiff has amazing support and help but you have to go to it.

crikeybadger Tue 21-Jun-11 11:09:03

Wow that really does sound good pettyp- someone coming to your house sounds really helpful (well it would be, but as you said they were useless).

I had varying support. All mine were born at home and with DS1, they helped me express and cup feed when he was losing weight. That said, they didn't spot that he wasn't latched on properly.

With DS3, I hardly saw any Mws and I don't think I should have been discharged from mw care until he had got back to his birth weight. It all nearly went completely pear shaped when it was discovered that he had dropped back down to below birth weight at 10 weeks old. It was the infant feeding specialist who saved my bfing and helped me get back on track.

I think that the mws should have the details of the bf support groups and helplines on a sticker that can go straight in to the red book from day one.

I know now where to get help- online and through groups but a couple of years ago, I was totally clueless.

lilham Tue 21-Jun-11 11:13:11

I got zero support. I got into the postnatal ward around midnight, went to bed. And the next morning I was asked if I wanted to be discharged! Some woman from bounty came to take pictures and gave me a bounty pack. A ped came around to discharge me. And that's it.

thesurgeonsmate Tue 21-Jun-11 11:55:44

Gosh, it does vary. I was encouraged to ring a bell (to be fair, I had a catheter) to tell the MWs when I'd finished feeding, so they could be sure to wake us if dd and I let the next feed drift. Not that she did ever let the next feed drift, but you can see the spirit of the thing.

byhec Tue 21-Jun-11 12:05:58

I got lucky and when DD was about a week old and had lost a lot of weight due to poor feeding all my local MWs (who had not really been very helpful) were busy one Saturday so a MW from a neighbouring town came to see me instead. She was amazing, stayed at my house for over 2 hours and came back or called every day for a week or so until she was happy DD was feeding properly. I ended up feeding DD until she was 1 smile.

firstforthought Tue 21-Jun-11 12:07:32

DD was born in another country. The nurse came along and cupped my nipple like a cigerette and tried to get DD to latch on. About 6 weeks of hassle but we got there with no top-ups and I BFed her for 2 years.
DS was born here {UK} and had troubles again. HV said I ahd thrush at one point and we had meds. Plodded on with painful lumpy breasts and milk blisters. We are still going nearly 8 months later.

elkiedee Tue 21-Jun-11 12:09:17

The first time I met various people who might have been able to help me too late. But at least I knew where to go second time round. It was quite a battle, they stuffed formula down him as soon as I clearly couldn't hold him safely when coming round from general anaesthetic after a crash CS. Couldn't someone have helped me with the holding? I did get pushed into giving top ups and we spent 9 days back in hospital when he lost too much weight, it would clearly have been much easier for me to have just given up and gone home and put him on SMA and that would have been that. I did it the hardest way possible, but I also only gave top ups when dp was around to help do that bit, I hated it so much, and after that I phased them out. The PCT's employed breastfeeding expert came to see me with the health visitor, and confirmed that his growth curve was at the low end but that it would be ok, and eventually, it was.

Another HV did ask me if I was considering weaning at 5 months, grrrr. After all that effort.

I fear that what bf support there is will disappear under government cuts - after all, who will take over employing PCT staff in that area? Then there will be the hospital and children's centre cuts - the breastfeeding group where I went to beg support meets at a CC - that one has a good chance of surviving but I fear others won't.

drcrab Tue 21-Jun-11 12:14:02

I'm in East Kent and still bf DD who's 9 months tomorrow even though I went back to work at 6 months. DS was bf till 23 months, and same, I went back to work at 6 months. We have fantastic bf support from the MW to HV and bf groups at hospital and at the surestart centre and other places. If anything, friends of ours who for various reasons didn't persevere felt guiltridden because some of the support staff were 'zealots'..! lol...

sherbetpips Tue 21-Jun-11 12:27:29

I remember the midwives helping me in the hospital but it stopped when I went home. the next advise I got was - stop breastfeeding, you are knackered and the baby isn't getting enough food.
Wish I had known that if I had given him a dummy he would have used that instead of me and might actually had bothered sucking!

costumequeen Tue 21-Jun-11 12:37:31

Im in Birmingham and the breast feeding is the only area I felt a bit let down by within the postnatal care I received. I had a section, and dd was hungry from the start, but the staff on at night (when she wanted to feed the most) we're really unhelpful - dd was screaming the place down, I was in tears and they obviously just wanted us to shut up and stop disturbing the others. They kept on and on about giving her formula (I was determined I wanted to bf) and told me that if I didn't give it to her she would end up in neonatal...I also had one mw barge into cubicle in the middle of the night, grab my boob and force dd onto it, despite her screaming and wriggling away...when it didn't work she just handed dd back to me and walked out! Daytime was better as much more pro bf mw on duty, but it was really busy so I didn't get much help really. I asked to use the pump but it was never brought to me, and in the end I was manually expressing what little milk I had to give to dd via pipette, plus the mw took her away and cup fed her some formula. (I was too poorly and tired to argue at this point after a 3 day labour, breech baby and emergency section...) Finally, they quibbled about discharging me (on xmas day!!) as they weren't sure if I was going to be able to feed her properly and made me promise I would combination feed otherwise I'd have to stay in hospital. BAD experience, which left me without any confidence in feeding and lots of tears and guilt at home when I couldn't do it! Ended up exclusively pumping breast milk and bottle feeding it to her until she reached 4 months, at which point we finally moved to formula feeding. HV was ok, but pretty much let me get on with it. It's been a real issue for me emotionally, and when we have another baby, I'll be going in far more prepared and not take any of the bullying I received first time round!

TuttoRhino Tue 21-Jun-11 12:38:39

I had my DD at Leeds General (LGI) and had mixed support on the wards. Some good, some not so good. I had an EMCS. My milk came in fairly quickly but I really struggled the first night home. In retrospect, DD and I really didn't have the launch sorted at the point of discharge. She had some formula the first night home and then managed to get her back to EBF and eventually fed her for 2 years.

I had various home visits from the Community Midwives and BF peer supporters. They helped me sort out my latch over the next couple of days. My mother also rallied round and gave me pep talks and did all the cooking / cleaning.

So had good support on the medical side and on the family side. It was a hell of a struggle at first though (EMCS, jaudice, 11% weight loss, thrush, cluster feeding from hell).

spiderlight Tue 21-Jun-11 12:43:39

I'm in Cardiff too. I had a home birth and the midwives (from Llandough) were great, although the first feed was a bit fraught because it was a case of retained placenta and a baby-on-breast-to-try-to-stimulate-a-contraction panic. One of the midwives hung around for a good couple of hours afterwards and we had a more relaxed feed later while she checked the latch - she stayed until I was happy with what to do and I think it was about 4am by the time she eventualy left! All the community midwives who came out in the first few days were brilliant as well, and very encouraging. I was also very blessed to have my best friend staying for the first 24 hours - she's an experienced breastfeeder and she really helped to boost my confidence. I was also told that I could go into the MLU at Llandough for breastfeeding help at any time of the day or night and stay in if necessary, although luckily I didn't need to.

gallicgirl Tue 21-Jun-11 12:43:47

This reminds me that I must call PALS and have a little chat about the absolute shit support I got in hospital.

I had a home birth and CMW was brilliant. Came out every day, sometimes twice and stayed about an hour helping us to feed. However DD lost weight and was admitted to hospital at 6 days old and then there was ZERO help available. The nurse gave me a cloth bag with a BF leaflet in it and a fridge magnet with some phone numbers on and was given a vague promise that they'd get the BF counsellor to me to help. When I was discharged 2 days later I asked about the BF counsellor only to be told she was on holiday and all the midwives were busy.

I was told about BF drop-in group but wasn't in right frame of mind to go or really up to it physically. GP not at all supportive and thought that as DD was taking bottle ok I should stop making a fuss.

Camerondiazepam Tue 21-Jun-11 12:44:36

Very very little.

DD1 - I got the boob-grabbing thing, great, thanks for that.
DD2 - born at home, I had to transfer in for stitching in, they gave her formula either while I was being stitched or while I was being monitored in recovery afterwards (had a spinal). I was livid but didn't say anything (was a bit "what's the effing point" by then really) - I didn't have a GA so was conscious the whole time except when I was snoring my head off in recovery afterwards, she could have been brought to me, I don't understand why I didn't just ask for her to come with me or why that isn't standard practice. So I feel I got less than no support this time round, as if they actually sabotaged my attempts. Struggled from then on (probably psychological but there you go).

notnowbernard Tue 21-Jun-11 12:49:00

DC1 - none - mw on delivery ward helped me latch the baby on for 1st feed and that was it. I was discharged 6hrs after birth. MW visiting the next day checked latch was ok and that was it

DC2 - HCA on ante-natal ward checked latch was ok (verbally, not visually). Again went home 6hrs after delivery. MW next day just asked if "feeding was going ok"

DC3 - not one person at any point asked about feeding. The HV was the 1st person to question in relative detail at the 1st check. It was lucky it was DC3, as I managed to sort out a blistered nipple with the help of personal experience/confidence/MN

I'm glad it went well naturally with DC1, cos if it hadn't of done, I doubt I would have BF them all for as long as I did/have

elkiedee Tue 21-Jun-11 13:01:52

costumequeen - I had very little help from the night time midwives on the main postnatal ward too. They seemed to just want to stay behind their counter doing the paperwork or chatting.

Cosmosis Tue 21-Jun-11 13:06:01

Great support both in hospital and back at home. I had him in Harrogate and we stayed an extra day to get feeding sorted as he didn’t latch on for about 26 hrs after birth. They helped me hand express and syringe feed in the mean time. Also when he was born they were talking about sending him to scbu for the night and they were great when I said I didn’t want him having any formula if he went there. All the mws were endlessly patient with all the mums on the ward, I have nothing but praise for them.

When we got home (different pct), my cmw had a bfing trained assistant who used to come and visit with her and observed feeds and gave me tips as well.

marzipananimal Tue 21-Jun-11 13:06:18

I had various midwives and HCAs try to help when I was on the post-natal ward but none of them were able to help me get DS latched on. I needed help to express as I was so knackered but they were too busy or not bothered so he ended up having some formula. At home HV was quite good and midwives tried to help but he was a tricky baby. Only got things sorted when I managed to get myself to a group run by a charity where I saw a bfc and some peer supporters. The mws didn't know up to date details of when/where the groups were so I had to ring the National BF helpline. If I hadn't been very determined there's no way I would've kept going.

costumequeen Tue 21-Jun-11 13:10:36

Elkiedee - Exactly! I can remember lying there hearing their whole debate about religion and Christmas! Very interesting, but Hello?? All the other babies on the ward were on formula, so I was very aware that I was a thorn in their side and why couldn't I just give dd formula like everyone else so she would stop crying....really disheartening, particularly in a big teaching hospital that is supposedly very pro BF! (Everything else about it was brilliant though, so can't fault the labour care I received!)

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