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Was your breast fed baby ever re-admitted after birth due to weight loss?

(71 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Thu 23-Mar-17 21:00:51

I'm asking about this as a professional as I'm curious what people's experiences were due to me trying to improve standards of care in my own workplace setting.

What led you to take your baby to A&E, how old were they and how much weight had they lost?

What treatment did your baby receive and more importantly what emotional support did you receive? Were you still exclusively BF'ing on discharge?

Thanks in advance for anyone who has a story to share flowers

YesILikeItToo Thu 23-Mar-17 21:14:43

It was a while ago, I don't have facts and figures. I was told by the MW who visited for several days after birth that I had to take her in. She said to me to STUFF her in the hours I had left, to avoid admission.

By the time I got there she was really unresponsive. I explained at the desk that this was a planned appointment but that I was now really worried. They did not give any indication that they heard this concern at all.

We waited and saw a doctor. He told ld me to feed to a schedule, pump, cup feed and top up with formula. I said it was hard advice to accept given that the NHS story is to feed on demand. He said, 'that's clearly not working, is it?'

I went home, called the MW for advice about cup feeding. We talked at cross purposes until she realised he hadn't given me a cup.

All sorts of heroics were accomplished by me, by my husband, by my friends and family to accomplish the 'pump and top up with formula' plan. It involved me being awake, in essence, around 21 hours each day.

This period passed. I bf my daughter exclusively well past the age of two. I would handle it differently next time.

xyzandabc Thu 23-Mar-17 21:52:42

Sorry this is longer than I intended when I first started writing. Sure it's not all relevant to your question but has been kind of cathartic for me to write it all down. Please take from it the bits that are of any use to you. I went on to have 2 more who were completely breastfed from day one with no problems so it didn't put me off!

Yes, almost exactly 10 years ago (her birthday was on Tuesday!)
Discharged from hospital day 2, several midwifes watched us feed in hopsital and told me she was bfing perfectly.

Day 3 she screamed and screamed and screamed all night (best part of 14 hours), we thought something was seriously wrong, 1st time parents, no idea why she was screaming. Called midwife out in the morning (on a Sunday, not my regular community midwife), she advised getting some formula and cup feeding. Did that and she wolfed it down.
Continued with bfing as not told any different.

Day 5 home visit by regular midwife, she had lost 14% of birth weight so she sent us straight back to postnatal ward (not via A&E). Specialist BF midwife took one look at baby and said, she's too weak to feed. Here's a pump, got gallons out straight away and bottle fed the ebm. Turns out though she looked like she was feeing beautifuly, she was not actually sucking at all, and being a 1st time mum, I had no idea what bfing was meant to be like. Essentially she had been starved since birth.

We were both kept in hospital in a side room, basically putting baby to breast 40 mins, topping up with EMB 40 mins, change, put baby down, pump 20 mins, me sleep. Repeat every 3 hours. We also visited the BF clinic at the hospital everyday.

We were kept in for 5 days, I very nearly lost my mind. I've never cried so much in my life, in the day when DH was there it was ok but overnight, having literally 20 mins sleep before having to wake up again and start the feed//change/pump cycle again was like torture.

Emotional support was not really there on the ward, there was a little at the bf clinic, they really did try hard to help me get her to feed. One night as dh was leaving, one of the midwifes/nurses did stop him and say ' does your wife normally cry a lot?'. He told them he'd seen me cry once in 10 years prior to that which I think shocked them a bit.

In the end they agreed to discharge us even though she still wasn't breastfeeding properly as 'we can see you aren't going to starve her'. We were still on 3 hourly breast/bottlefeed/change/pump cycle. At least at home I had dh to help with the nights. He used to feed her emb from a bottle while I pumped next to them in bed.

At 6 weeks I lost my supply completely due to my own silly fault. Thought baby was bfing properly so ditched the bottles and stopped the pumping. She wasn't. Supply dried up and baby got to the very end of my frozen supply of ebm. Cue more crying, both her and me! Pumping every 3 hours without fail for 72 hours got it back again. At that point I stopped putting her to the breast at all and just pumped and fed ebm. That saved 40 mins time each feed so left more time for fun stuff.

At 12 weeks it was all just too much, I'd tried as much as I could but couldn't go on pumping indefinately. I got bottles and formula and gave baby a 'talking to'. Told her we were going to do breastfeeding just one more time, just to reassure me that she really couldn't do it. And do you know what, bloody pickle, she did it. At 12 weeks old, having never breastfed properly and having only had breastmilk from a bottle for the last 6 weeks, she breastfed.

From that day on, she never had another bottle again, ever. We breastfed until about 13 months without any more problems at all.

Those 1st 6 weeks were defintely my darkest ever days. I really struggled to bond with her and though I'd never tell her, it took until she was about 4 years old before I really felt I bonded with her. I definately think those early feeding issues were a part of that.

ispymincepie Thu 23-Mar-17 22:17:25

Home birth with dc4, straight to breast, all good. Bf dcs 1,2&3 to past 2yrs so I was an experienced breastfeeder. He just screamed constantly so we took him in on day 4 where he was admitted for a suspected uti as he wasn't peeing. Still thought feeding was okay. Discharged after 5 days of iv atbx. Saw a bf counsellor just in case who suspected posterior tongue tie but agreed his latch looked good. Community midwife weighed him on day 10 and he'd lost shit loads of weight and said we should really take him back in but left us overnight to top up with formula. He deteriorated very quickly until the next day he wouldn't wake up. He was cold and floppy shock Back in hospital he was was bottle-fed formula every 3 hrs after he'd been warmed up (in hindsight I'd rather he was tube fed) The tongue tie was snipped and he refused to latch again sad I spent the next 6 months pumping every 3-4hrs and trying every day to get him to latch. It didn't ever work and he's now mostly on formula and 1x ebm/day (he's 10m) Looking back I don't think he ever had a uti. I should have realised and sought specialised help sooner. Nipple/teat confusion was our biggest issue but he was too weak to cup feed. So many mistakes in the first few days but I'm trying desperately (and failing) not too beat myself up too much.

StandAndBeCounted Thu 23-Mar-17 22:24:23

I can't type it all now. Its long and I'm on my phone. Will do tomorrow from PC. Just wanted to save it.

But to all those who have posted so far flowers. My first feeding experience was probably the worst time of my life. I feel for you all, and its nice to virtually meet you all. We are not alone xxx

Tollygunge Thu 23-Mar-17 22:28:40

Yes my daughter was. It was terrifying. Midwife came round on the 3rd day and sent us back in an ambulance. We spent a week in. I was feeding and feeding and she was latching but I obvs had no milk

xMamfax Thu 23-Mar-17 22:30:23

I'm not sure if this is quite what you're looking for but hopefully some of it is of use to you. It does involve nursing issues and weight loss.

My daughter was born at 30+4 and I started expressing for her as soon as I could for her to be tube fed breast milk. Once her sucking reflex came in I started trying to put her to the breast. She found it really difficult to latch. She was small and easily tired and I have large breasts and flat nipples. She did have a tongue tie cut but that didn't help unfortunately.

It was suggested that we try a nipple shield. She latched straight away and seemed to be feeding well but still having EBM top ups via her tube. So I would change her, nurse, followed by a tube top up while still at the breast, then I would express. This was a 3 hourly schedule.

Eventually establishing feeding was the only thing keeping us in so the nurses pushed for exclusively nursing and having no more tube top ups. We tried this but it led to dry nappies and weight loss. She just couldn't feed effectively by nursing alone.

We spent a week trying to sort it out but it just wasn't happening. The nurses said she would have to go back to receiving top ups but using a bottle as they didn't send babies home with an NG tube if they were able to feed by mouth one way or another. So we were back on the three hourly change, nurse, express and top up routine (this time with a bottle). She gained weight and they sent us home.

Unfortunately the introduction of a bottle was the end of our nursing journey. She started getting increasingly frustrated at the breast and I had little to no breast feeding support at home. I didn't know what I was doing and was exhausted from nursing, bottle feeding and expressing.

I therefore made the decision to stop trying to nurse as feeding times were becoming a negative experience for both of us, and to just continue expressing every 3-4 hours and feed her breast milk by bottle.

She started gaining weight well and thriving. My daughter is now seven months old and has been exclusively fed breast milk since birth, just not in the conventional way.

ispymincepie Thu 23-Mar-17 22:30:33

And as pp ^^ definitely the worst time of my life, especially in hospital and has definitely affected our bonding sad

SaneAsABoxOfFrogs Thu 23-Mar-17 22:32:45

I didn't take my son to A&E, but was admitted to SCBU when he was 2 days old because of an 11% weight loss. My son was born with a cleft lip, but seemed to have been feeding okay when he was born and we were discharged within 14 hours of him being born. He fed constantly for the first two days, but i don't know why he didn't put on weight. Hospital were fabulous. He had a tube, and every 3 hours I would feed him, then express as much as i could, and then he would be fed the expressed milk along with formula top up through his nasal tube. I was given so much help and support with breast feeding, and when we left 5 days later he was putting on weight and exclusively breastfeeding. I was very lucky in that the nurses were very experienced in bf matters, and the ward was quiet. They would wake me at night to feed, and whilst i was feeding they would chat to me, reassure me, etc. I wish everyone's experience was as good as mine.

trilbydoll Thu 23-Mar-17 22:36:29

Sort of. Discharged myself on day 2 after an elcs. Ward was so busy no one had given me any attention at all unless I buzzed and asked. DD2 just slept, I bf dd1 no problem so everyone assumed it was fine.

Had any hcp asked me a single Q (nappies, frequency of feeding) they might have realised there was a problem!

Comm mw kept suggesting topping up. We had no idea what this actually meant, dd1 didn't have a bottle until 4mo. We waved a teaspoon around ineffectively grin

Day 5 we couldn't wake her up. Stripped her naked, cold water, nothing. This is the bit that really upsets me - I phoned the post natal ward and they didn't take me seriously until I said she was my second baby. I am furious about this.

Went in, and the staff were brilliant. She still didn't wake up while they did blood tests then a very experienced mw forced a whole bottle in her. Explained I needed to feed, top up, express every 3 hours. We stayed in 2 nights and was 100x more confident when we left.

I somehow kept up this mad routine for a fortnight, she gained weight, comm mw kept coming out and I stopped bf when I went back to work at 10mo.

Everyone was great both practically and emotionally when we got to hosp but it wouldn't have happened if
A) I had had some kind of care on the post natal ward in the first place
B) the community mw had actually explained in detail what they mean by topping up.

I'm pretty sure my two night stay on the transitional care unit was way more expensive than getting it right in the first place would have been.

Scrumptiousbears Thu 23-Mar-17 22:37:49

My baby wasn't readmitted but whilst we were in hospital (c section) I was told I had to start FF cause her blood sugar level was so low. To be fair I did have a lot of support to try and BF but I just had no milk.

ShallNotBeNamed Thu 23-Mar-17 22:44:20

I never got to the point of needing medical treatment because the midwife made me feel so bad about breastfeeding that she fed my baby a bottle in front of me while I cried and I felt that bad I bottle fed after that, still makes me emotional to this day!! sad

fuzzyllama Thu 23-Mar-17 22:47:50

Yes - weight loss was secondary to severe jaundice. I called the midwife to come and check on her on day two, as on day one she had noted she was slightly jaundiced and advised us to call if she got worse (in hindsight she should have admitted us on day one). We were then admitted several hours later and her weight loss was 13%. She was put under triple photo therapy, iv fluid and antibiotics. Couldn't feed her for the first 24 hours and jaundice was so severe she couldn't come out from the lights, so I pumped to encourage my milk to come in. When she was able to come out to be fed she was breast fed and cup top up after with expressed milk to ensure she was getting enough fluid.

The majority of nurses were super helpful with teaching me to latch as I was incredibly nervous about doing so and getting it wrong and making her poorly again (on reflection this wasn't my fault). After each breastfeed I was encouraged to pump to increase my supply. The whole thing was exhausting.

Her weight gain was good throughout our 7 day stay. On discharge I wanted to swap to formula as I was emotionally exhausted and hated breastfeeding...I ended up breastfeeding until she was 14 months!

All in all the support whilst in hospital was great.

gunting Thu 23-Mar-17 22:48:06

My son was born at 10.6lb and I bf for the first few days. By day 3 he was down to 9lb 3oz and we were sent back to hospital as he had bad jaundice too and wasn't alert enough to latch on. He went from 98th centile to 75thish within a few days. I switched completely to FF and he's 18m now and back up to 98th centile.

Falafelings Thu 23-Mar-17 22:50:04

Yes. Didn't go via a&e but lots of pressure via through health professionals to mix feed I did for a month or so and then went back to soley breast feeding. Turned out my kids are just tiny due to genetics/race but I didn't know at the time.

Just place marking - I will write my story in the morning, when I can get to the PC.

KevinKeegan Thu 23-Mar-17 23:13:10

Not A&E but paeds walk-in, sent by midwife at 3.5 weeks. Lost 12% and hadn't gained anything over that period. Screamed and screamed. Doc was unsympathetic, said I had to give formula and was only "allowed" to bf on one side for 15 mins at a time. Got really shirty in that "do as I say or I'll call social services" way if I asked any questions about bf'ing. Eventually got some support in the community but a lot of bad/contradictory advice and it was too little, too late to exclusively bf so LO was mix-fed until 15 months.

It was the worst time of my life, three years on I can't think about how I starved my baby without crying. The guilt will never leave me. There was no emotional support. Reading this thread is a revelation. I don't know anyone who couldn't feed their baby, everyone ok know has straight-forward bf'ing experiences.

Ds2 was exclusively breastfed. He lost 10oz from his birthweight, and at 6 weeks old, he had not regained much of it.

Over that six weeks, the HV visited a lot, and would tell me she wanted ds2 to have put on 0.5 of an oz each day, by her next visit - which was, as you can imagine, very stressful. At one point she suggested topping him up with formula - I was reluctant to do this as topping up ds1 with formula, when he was having phototherapy for neonatal jaundice was what I blamed for ending my chances of breast feeding him.

Anyhow, in response to my saying I was very committed to making breastfeeding work this time round, my HV said, 'Well, I have to think of the best interests of the child!' This made me very cross, and I asked her how she dared suggest I was not thinking of the best interests of my own child - and then I asked her to leave my house at once.

That is all background - at 6 weeks old, ds2 woke up from a nap and was very wheezy and seemed to be having trouble getting his breath, so I rang my gp who came out at once, and sent us up to the paediatric ward at the local hospital.

Because he'd referred us, we were able to bypass A&E and go straight in, and were seen on the ward, where they diagnosed a chest infection and gave ds2 IV antibiotics. However, whilst taking his medical history, they asked his birth weight and current weight, and it was seems that his weight loss and failure to regain the weight was ringing alarm bells, and he was admitted to the ward - although at that point, the reason given for his admission was the chest infection.

I stayed in with him, because I was still exclusively breastfeeding at this point, and the next morning, I was in his room when the ward round stopped outside the door, and I heard them talking about him - and they used the words failure to thrive - which was pretty shocking and scary, as they had not said anything of the sort to me.

It was then made clear to me that they were very worried about ds2's weight, and that they wanted to see him gaining weight 'properly' before he could be discharged - and I was pushed towards topping him up with formula.

Having heard them say 'failure to thrive', I didn't feel I had any choice in the matter (nebulous fears at the back of my mind about what might happen if I didn't take the medical 'advice' and start giving formula), so I started topping him up, and he started gaining weight.

We were discharged, once they could see he was gaining weight at a rate they were happy with, but I was no longer exclusively breastfeeding, and topping up with formula very quickly put an end to breastfeeding altogether.

Looking back, what upsets me the most is that there was no attempt to find out what the problem was with the breastfeeding, or to find any way to support it, so that ds2 could carry on breastfeeding and gain weight satisfactorily. The go-to answer was formula.

I will always wonder if there was anything else I could have done.

Writerwannabe83 Fri 24-Mar-17 13:17:57

Thank you everyone for your stories, though they were quite sad to read. I find it so disheartening to see what little support there is and the emotional effects this has on the mother. I'm really sorry to those who had a bad experience flowers

Whoami24601 Fri 24-Mar-17 14:54:53

DS was readmitted at 5 days old. He was 5lb 1oz at birth, and lost 15% of his body weight. He was 4 weeks early, and we were told by the midwives in the hospital that he would take a few days to develop his sucking reflex due to this. I could tell when I was feeding him that he wasn't suckling properly, but was confident he would pick it up. On day 4 he finally started taking proper feeds, but unfortunately he'd already lost too much weight by then. I had a fantastic midwife who listened carefully and trusted my judgement (and knew that I had successfully BF DD already) but she said to be careful she had to refer us.

Once at the hospital it was a completely different story though. The (male) consultant we saw basically told me he was starving, and that I needed to top up with formula. I stood my ground and told him I knew DS didn't need that, and that although he had dropped weight, that was because he hadn't been feeding properly, but now he was. He was very condescending and treated me like I was a silly little woman who didn't know anything. I felt very patronised. He even wrote onto my notes 'offered BF support, but mum THINKS she doesn't need it'! He compromised and said I had 24 hours to prove myself. If DS didn't lose any more weight ('he definitely won't gain') then he would 'allow' me to continue EBF.

I didn't half enjoy the smugness when they weighed DS 24 hours later and he was heavier grin

If he'd have been my first though, I know I wouldn't have been as confident as I was, and that probably would have been the end of BF for us sad

keely79 Fri 24-Mar-17 16:03:46

Yes - DD was 10lb 7 when born and dropped more than 10% in first few days. We were sent back to hospital and she was given antibiotics in case of infection - which meant we had to stay for 7 days while she completed the course. After about one day in there my proper milk came in and she guzzled like no-one's business (but still couldn't go home because of the antibiotics) - she had just not received enough through the colostrum to maintain her (heavy) initial weight.

keely79 Fri 24-Mar-17 16:04:28

Oh - in response to your last question, I then continued exclusively breastfeeding until she was 6 months, then breastfeeding and food until she was one.

MissObsessed Fri 24-Mar-17 16:42:25

Apologies if this goes on a bit - I'm finding it very cathartic writing this and reading others' experiences.

DS was re-admitted at 3 days old via ambulance. He was born on the Thursday and before we were discharged that night I asked for the feeding to be checked. As a ftm I wasn't sure if it was going well but was told by a breastfeeding support worker that all looked good so I was happy to go home. Kept offering him boob after night and the following day (Friday) but I wasn't convinced he was latching properly and feeding. He would latch on for about 10 sucks and then come off screaming, over and over again.

We had a check for him on that Friday (clicky hip check etc) so I mentioned the feeding. A breastfeeding support worker came in to watch and she said all looked ok. Showed me some other positions to try and said DS would constantly attempt to latch to bring my milk in. I went home thinking all was ok and it was all normal.

On Saturday the same thing was happening and I still thought something was wrong. I phoned the breast feeding support line and was told the same thing - just wait for your milk to come in. They said that if he was hungry he would be screaming. What they failed to realise was that he was getting too weak to cry for milk and was getting sleepier.

All saturday night and early sunday DS screamed. He couldn't latch on. As it was early hours of sunday all shops were shut so I couldn't even go and get formula. That night will haunt me for a long time. He was obviously starving and there wasn't much I could do. The breast feeding support line opened at 8am so I got through the night until then and rang straight away. They told me to go in at 10am to see someone and as I was due to take him for his 3 day weigh in anyway they would do it all then.

Got to the clinic at 10am and showed the midwife his latch, all fine she said. Once again showed me different positions and basically treated me like a neurotic ftm. She weighed him and then realised he'd lost 13% of his birthweight. She did a blood sugar test and his sugars were dangerously low. She rang for an ambulance, took DS from and forced a bottle of forumla into him. We were then blue lighted to hospital, well there was only space for me and DS in the back so DH had to make his own way up. That was one of my worst experiences, sat in the back of an ambulance with my 3 day old son.

Once at the Children's Assesment Unit it was discovered that DS had extremely low blood sugar, jaundice and an infection had started in his umbilical stump because his body was too weak to heal it properly. He was put on IV antibiotics so had a cannula and a splint on his arm and had to go under a lamp. He was also put on a feeding plan. The hospital organised for their feeding support worker to come and see me. The first thing she said was "has no-one mentioned your flat nipples?" I had no idea my nipples were flat (don't spend much time looking at other womens' nipples!) and they discovered DS had an upper lip tie (and a possible posterior tongue tie) These things combined made for a very difficult feeding experience but it had never been picked up by the previous THREE so-called experts I had seen.

I was swiftly hooked up to a breast pump and out came my colostrum!! DS was then moved to post-natal where I could stay with him and we stayed in for 3 nights. I expressed every 3 hours, day and night, and had to wheel him down for his antibiotics during the night too. I was like a walking zombie. Breast shields didn't work with DSs lip tie and the ward only had 2 breast pumps for all the women on there which meant I was going too long between expressing. This meant DS was being topped up with more and more forumla but at that point I didn't care, I just wanted him fed and healthy.

We were discharged after 3 nights and I tried to keep up the expressing for 6 weeks but had to give up eventually, the initial time in hospital without access to the pump meant my milk supply dwindled and as we all know a pump cannot get out milk as well as a baby. Eventually I listened to advice from DH, DM, MIL and my HV to stop trying to express as I was making myself ill and not actually having any time to enjoy my DS.

This experience has had a real lasting effect on me and even now, with DS being 5 months old, I cannot think about that time without getting upset and I admit I cried a little writing this.

I think there should be more information for naive ftm who assume baby will just latch on, more resources (such as breast pumps for mums whose babies have been readmitted) and time/courses/something for breast feeding support workers to look at problems around breast feeding (flat/inverted nipples, tongue/lip tie etc) rather than just blindly promoting breast feeding in spite of problems.

MissObsessed Fri 24-Mar-17 16:43:45

I'm sorry, that was VERY long wasn't it blush

tiktok Sat 25-Mar-17 12:06:47

I think you are an HCP, wannabe? These stories are instructive, I think....none of them very unusual, but disturbing because in most cases the emergency could have been avoided with better care.

All maternity units should be aware, and teach mothers to be aware, of what to look for in the first days. No poos or only scanty poos are a red flag - means the baby should be weighed and feeding observed to see if more milk can get into the baby. Occasionally, a baby will not poo but is still fine, or does poo and is not fine - so it's not a fail safe sign. But most babies who are not feeding effectively in the first week don't poo.

This has been known for many many years, but I still hear mothers being told that no poo in the first week is normal.

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