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Why the 'Breast is Best' Campaign is Totally CRAP!!!

(59 Posts)
highlander Tue 01-Feb-05 21:15:09

I'm damn angry about this.

DH's cousin gave birth last week. Had no intention to BF, but persuaded by the midwives to give it a go. So she did. 2 days later, my MIL phoned me to say that she's a bit worried about the baby as she sleeps all the time. Apparently mum has voiced this concern to the hospital staff - nothing done. Baby screams for hours on day 4, midwives say the doctor will call on Monday morning. Doctor says baby has lost too much weight and must be switched to formula as she 'clearly isn't taking to BF'.

At no point did anyone suggest that the baby needed to be fed every 2-3 hours etc etc.

Breast is Best, but it's fucking useless unless hospital staff are trained properly.

I know it's against MN policy, but don't rely on advice for BF in Antrim Area hospital.

Flounce, rant over.

PS off out for a walk, don't be miffed if I don't contribute for a while

highlander Tue 01-Feb-05 21:39:13

sorry, naming hospitals is bang out of order.

What can the midwives and docs do if they've not been trained properly

beansprout Tue 01-Feb-05 21:40:33

Aw Highlander. No worries, I had a similar crap experience, so understand how you feel.

expatinscotland Tue 01-Feb-05 21:44:51

That sux she had a bad experience. I had a LOT of support to help me bf in hospital - where I stayed 5 days after the birth b/c of forceps delivery and subsequent infection. I had a good milk supply and baby was sucking well. Unfortunately I had extremely sore nipples and a severe case of PND, infection, etc, and needed a lot of medications, so I wasn't able to bf dd.

I guess it really varies by area.

Aero Tue 01-Feb-05 21:47:56

Is there a hospital called Antrim Area? or do you just mean a certain hospital in Antrim?

galaxy Tue 01-Feb-05 21:50:11

I had a bad experience too. I gave birth at 11pm and no-one showed me how to get dd to latch on. In fact, I had to ask at 11am the next morning whether I should be feeding her and they said not to worry for another few hours.

Eventually, I managed to find a trainee midwfe who helped me. I struggled for the 1st 3 weeks and ended up with a severely cracked nipple and remember crying down the phone to a breastfeeding councillor.

prunegirl Tue 01-Feb-05 21:57:49

Message withdrawn

Gwenick Tue 01-Feb-05 22:05:18

thing is prune having all those knowledable, experience around doesn't usually help - my SIL was VERY relieved that I'd BF first time round as when she asked her family for advice they all told her she should 'know how to do it because it's natural'

prunegirl Tue 01-Feb-05 22:10:31

Message withdrawn

Caligula Tue 01-Feb-05 22:12:29

Highlander, don't rely on BF advice anywhere.

From what i gather, it's generally crap.

Last figures I heard, was that between 60-70% of women start off feeding their babies by BF, between 80-90% have given up by 2 weeks.

That tells you that there's a majority of women in this country who start off being willing to BF, and a minority who are still persevering after a couple of weeks.

Ask your Local Health Authority for the figures in your area. Bet you can't get them quickly or easily. That's how much priority they give it.

Gwenick Tue 01-Feb-05 22:14:24

prunegirl - and all her family are from Zimbabwe - where breast feeding is '2nd nature' and bottle feeding very unusual - they simply 'expect' women to know how to breastfeed, asking questions about latching on, getting enough milk, weight gain etc just give you blank looks back!!!

prunegirl Tue 01-Feb-05 22:17:43

Message withdrawn

Caligula Tue 01-Feb-05 22:20:15

Prunegirl - in a society where we're all supposed to be working outside the home, where's the slack for experienced counsellors who can help women to BF?

As I understand it, the majority of BF counsellors are volunteers.

They don't even value them enough to pay them.

prunegirl Tue 01-Feb-05 22:24:46

Message withdrawn

Chrissey14 Tue 01-Feb-05 22:25:11

hi it,s ok to say staff arent trained properly they should be

but we are in a age now thanks to current and previous gove health tranining that we have lost all our experienced and well trained staff ,inexperienced staff at training inexperienced staff at times

your relative should have been better informed and properly encouraged at the start to give it a go and if it didnt work or she wasnt happy let her follow her wishes as the end of the day as it is her choice ,but you dont know how good something is till you give a go, thats whats the campaign message should be give it a go at least if it doesnt work or is not for you dont worry

sorry to see these midwives arent giving adequate guideance at all if breast feeding isnt working as it clearlt isnt

best thing to do it write a letter to whoever is in charge of the midwives in question,do some research of your own so others can be better informed and better training be out in place

not all nurses are badely trained most work dame hard under a lot of great expectation and stress

anyone with a bad experience should let their local health authority know about it

tc hope she gets sorted soon

Caligula Tue 01-Feb-05 22:34:56

But also Highlander, doctor probably doesn't know anything about babies and BF either.

All his/ her knowledge and experience is from bottlefed babies, so the fact that a 4 day old baby hasn't got the right weight for a formula fed baby isn't necessarily the best guide for BF baby and would totally flummox an average doctor who knows sweet FA about BF.

Why the f* is a doctor the expert anyway?

Why didn't they call in a BF counsellor alongside the doctor? (Or better still, a BF counsellor who is also a doctor - do they exist?)

tiktok Tue 01-Feb-05 22:47:27

Highlander, there is no 'Breast is Best' campaign in those words - but you are right there is *no point* in encouraging women to breastfeed (which is what I think you mean) and then abandoning them. In particular, someone who didn't want to bf may have no idea what to expect and will need to be supported a lot. The doctor sounds especially useless....if the baby has lost weight, then get feeding now!!! Even if the baby was desperate and the bf was not working (because of crap advice), then breastfeeding could still have been saved.

There are good things going on in breastfeeding in N. Ireland - like this booklet available for mothers but staff training is a real issue.

The stats in the UK are 68 (might be 69, not sure) start bf, and 44 per cent are still feeding at 6 weeks (though a lot are giving formula as well) so it's not as bad as 80-90 per cent stopping in the first 2 weeks. 90 per cent of women who give up in the first 6 weeks wish they could have carried on - that speaks of a lot of disapointment and sadness.

Highlander - the hospital needs to know, in writing, how bad they were.

Caligula Tue 01-Feb-05 22:58:04

TikTok - my figures are probably about four years old, (and would have been based on figures at least one or two years old then) so it's very encouraging that it's gone up so much since.

I just can't understand why there is such a shortsighted view of one of the single most effective public health measures ever, which costs the government and the people nothing! There is so much lip service paid, and so little real support.

Just been talking to a friend who has been told she might have to have a caesarean, and also told (by a different health professional) that if she does have a caesarean she won't be able to BF. What rubbish. And how outrageous, that this particular professional is so lacking in training, that she tells an expectant new mother such a thing.

HunkerMunker Tue 01-Feb-05 23:25:13

Highlander, what crappy support The hospital need to be told they are failing women, IMO.

I attended a meeting at my hospital to talk about the breastfeeding 'support' I received (I emailed the patient liaison service and set it up). The midwives manager said (fairly indignantly) that they had plenty of posters on the wall about breastfeeding...because of course, when you've just given birth, your baby's on the ward all scrummy and desperate for cuddles, and you're bleeding fairly heavily, the first thing you'll want to do is stand in a draughty corridor and read posters!

I said as much. She admitted she was a fool (not in so many words). Breastfeeding support was going to be 'looked at as a matter of some urgency'. She also tried (with an eager gleam in her eye) to see if it had been agency staff who saw me after I'd had DS and done the 'this is how you feed boob-grabbing' and then left me to my own devices. It wasn't. Bit of a <thud> moment for her there!

I will be very interested to hear from expectant friends how it was dealt with in the next few months. The midwives manager said I was probably best having a home waterbirth next time We parted on friendly terms - we actually got on better than this post possibly suggests! She was very impressed I was still feeding DS at 6 months - said that the rate of women leaving this particular hospital breastfeeding was 54%, well below the national average! Cannot believe she didn't think that there was something 'up' with the support women were receiving before I said something!!

tiktok Tue 01-Feb-05 23:57:08

Well done, you, HM, for taking it further.

Caligula, there is nothing more boring than arguing figures, sorry but there has never been a time in the UK when 80-90 per cent of breastfeeding mothers gave up in the first 2 weeks. The figures are bad, but they have never been anything like that bad. I think you may have misremembered or misunderstood something.

HunkerMunker Wed 02-Feb-05 00:09:04

I was just so cross that they quite cheerfully paid lip service to the breast is best campaign and had no clue what was going on on the wards.

I believe very strongly that you've no right to complain about things unless you're willing to stand up and make a fuss

highlander Wed 02-Feb-05 01:28:17

90% of women who BF in Vancouver are still doing so at 6 weeks (so my OB informed me). maybe here's why........

1. In hindsight, the midwives' tuition in hospital was spot on. Moreover, they had time to spend with me as it was a heavily staffed unit.

2. The ward also had a full-time breast feeding consulatant (Mon-Fri).

3. The HV BF advice was totally consistent with the hospital. She sorted out my latch, my blocked duct but advised me to see....

4. ....Another breast feeding consultant who was available at the baby weigh-in thing every week.

How the hell the government in the UK expects BF rates to improve without proper staff training and community support is beyond me .

DH has banned me from speaking to his cousin. He's worried that if I tell her what the hospital has done wrong then I'll only make her feel more miserable. Her baby is doing fine now - I guess that's the most impt thing. Oh God, just remembered I sent her Mears's mate's book through Amazon. Oh damn.

Crikey, get me. When I found out I was preggers I never planned to BF and was determined to have the sprog in nursery by 5 months. The power of MN eh?

Levanna Wed 02-Feb-05 01:28:46

I'm part of a nearly newly established peer group. Part of what we are doing is putting together 'GP packs' which are sets of information for GP's (and midwives/healthvisitors) including a 'drug list' for medications suitable for breastfeeding mums. What to do about common breastfeeding problems (as we've found that most mums are encouraged to give up rather than helped ). Our contact details are stamped all over them! Some of the GP's at our local surgeries are really interested in getting involved, so we're hoping eventually to have a named GP able to offer specific breastfeeding advice at each establishment. We are also in the future hoping to approach hospitals about becoming involved with new mums and babies to offer support and advice, but it all takes time, we're all volunteers and all have young children. I've been on here to ask for reassurance now and then, sometimes even that can go a long way!
Highlander, I did peer support training with La Leche for exactly the reasons you've stated. I didn't receive the support I needed with DD1. It really p!sses me off that women are left to flounder like this .

Socci Wed 02-Feb-05 01:41:56

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FairyMum Wed 02-Feb-05 07:34:50

I think all hospitals should have breast feeding councillors and that they should come around and see new mums and offer advise. My hospital did give breast feeding advise, but you had to seek it out yourself. I hassled my HV a lot to help me because I was determined to bf DD1, but it took me about 4 weeks to establish and maybe 6 weeks until my nipples were not hurting anymore. It's really hard for a lot of us and although advise and support is out there, you have to show a lot of own initative, something which is not easy when you have just had a baby of course! I also think they should talk more (maybe a whole session) about bf and what to expect on ante-natal courses.

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