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Question about MWs and bfeeding.

(13 Posts)
SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 10:19:47

Please let this not be an argument about wether breast is eat or not. I'm not interested in another thread of name calling and irrational posts. This is an honest query and there may be a valid answer.

Being that MWs are supposed to be there up to te 1st month of baby's life why is it that they are not specialised in bfeeding too? I know that they already have so much to learn and do but after reading the thread about the lady with flat nipples and the lack of good info and misguided support she received I wonder how much MWs learn about Bfeeding and problem solving. Let's say you stay in hospital 5 days, you an't go to a bf support group, so MW is all you have.

I am not criticising midwives but mate I would like their curriculum slightly altered to add bfeeding into it at more depth.

SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 10:21:20

Not mate, but maybe. Stupid autocorrect. Sorry for any other mistakes.

tiktok Wed 21-Sep-11 10:33:53

The point you raise is well-recognised,*SurprisEs*. In fact, UNICEF Baby Friendly have a special assessment for midwifery training programmes that cover breastfeeding well, and the courses can win the Baby Friendly award:

live.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/About-Baby-Friendly/Awards/University-awards-tables/

It's been known for a long time that careful attention to breastfeeding support is not handled well in training, and that this is one of the main reasons mothers find they are plagued with conflicting advice in the early days.

SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 10:38:22

Being that the government and the NHS are so keen on BF why aren't they doing something about this? Or are they?
Will be reading the link, thanks.

EauRouge Wed 21-Sep-11 10:42:25

I would suspect funding is one problem. Also there is a staffing issue; some breastfeeding issues can take time to sort out and MWs just don't have it.

If you're interested in this sort of issue then The Politics of Breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer is a really good book.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 21-Sep-11 10:51:44

I trained to be a midwife seven years ago and in my three year course we had one day at uni on breastfeeding. Obviously we got more practical experience on the wards but if your mentor is crap or saying the wrong stuff you pick up bad habits. Plus just as I qualified the hospital told us we had to move from hands on support techniques to hands off. But we did then get a 30min session to teach us the new techniques.
I pulled my finger out and did a lot more reading in my own time to improve my skills but I suspect that others don't.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 21-Sep-11 10:53:48

And staffing is definitely a problem. I was on labour ward the other day looking after two labourers and a postnatal lady. The pn lady wanted breastfeeding help and I just had to tell her that there was no way I had the time to help her and neither did anyone else. She did go down to the pn ward a short while later where I hope she got some help.

SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 10:57:27

One day?????
Big cheers for your effort smile

It always comes down to money and resources doesn't it?
I wonder how many women feel they would've been successful at bf if the support was there.

SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 11:01:50

What a shame you couldn't help. Specially as you appear to know your stuff.

When I was in labour I was very lucky that the MW never left the room. And I had a student there too. I actually didn't know MW had to look after more than one woman during labour.

ShowOfHands Wed 21-Sep-11 11:11:10

I had dd in hospital by emcs 4yrs ago and there was NO support. The midwives hovered behind the curtain brandishing formula and barking 'you need to feed that baby NOW' at you while you sobbed with frustration as your sleepy and jaundiced baby struggled to latch.

I had ds 2 weeks ago and bloody hell it's a different story. They're after their baby friendly status and have had training. All of them. From the physios to the obs to the midwives. It was fabulous to see them spending hours and hours each night with women who were trying to establish bfing. I wrote to them and thanked them because I was dreading it this time round. They have absolutely done everything to get up to date and the atmosphere and response to it was obvious. And this training clearly included supporting ffing mothers too. I could not fault them. They've opened a brand new MLU too. I only wish it was the same everywhere.

I'm starting bfing counsellor training soon and was really surprised to find that nobody at the bfing cafe locally has done it. In fact the woman who runs it has never even had a baby. She's lovely and supportive but says she can't recruit a single person who knows what they're talking about.

tiktok Wed 21-Sep-11 11:15:30

Brilliant you have written to the unit saying how well they have done, Show. I am certain this will be a morale booster - I bet they have pinned your letter up so people can see it!

People should write - good things and bad things.

One big thing is that mothers are in the unit for maybe 2-3 days and midwives don't get to see the outcomes of what they have done. See the thread on nipple shields - the midwife who suggested them to the mother who is now struggling with their after-effects 3 days later and who is no longer fully bf as a result will never know. Instead, she may think she has done a great job, because they seemed to help at the time sad

SurprisEs Wed 21-Sep-11 11:19:07

Being that the majority of the population has not been breastfed it is also very difficult to find a family member that can help in a more intimate way. The answer is usually "stop starving that baby an give it a bottle".

I found bf support groups very intimidating and felt awful and discriminated and only attended once. I had my daughter a month after my 20th birthday. In the group there were only women in their 30's and the conversation was around my age and nothing about why I was having difficulty. Really not helpful! Ended up having to do a lot of reading and figure it out by myself.

organiccarrotcake Wed 21-Sep-11 11:28:14

surprises re BF group - that's so sad sad A good group leader should have pulled the conversation back and managed things better. Certainly all of the groups I've attended have had an excellent leader so you were unlucky (although I know that you won't be alone in your poor experience, sadly).

Well done for figuring it out, though smile

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