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Has anyone complained about midwives or health visitors advice about breasfeeding or weaning, and if so what response did you get?

(52 Posts)
rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 09:59:34

Just interested really as I recently complained about the midwives advising me to eat cream cakes to increase my milk supply. I was told the individual midwives involved had been spoken to and will be retrained. As so many people seem to get bad feeding and weaning advice, are they complaining and if so were you happy with the response? I am also now a bit worried that if i hav another baby, they may know it was me who complained about them!

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 10:10:52


peachsmuggler Tue 07-Oct-08 10:16:04

Mine told me to eat mars bars, but I knew what she meant. Only that I needed to eat more in order to sort out my supply and if sometimes I only has time to eat a mars bar then I should. I think she was right to be honest. Sorry, I know that is not the point of your post.

they see so many people, they won't know it was you who complained surely?

MoonlightMcKenzie Tue 07-Oct-08 10:16:19

No. I had dodgy weaning advice from a HV that has been brilliant in every other respect. Still relying on her support now. Didn't feel I could complain without loosing that support.

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 10:31:08

The reason I complained was that my son lost over 1lb in the 1st 3 weeks of his life and the only advice they gave me was to eat junk food, but he wasn't latching on properly, and I felt it was important that this was addressed. Perhaps if more people did complain their advice would improve?

peachsmuggler Tue 07-Oct-08 10:35:34

Oh I see. That's not so good. I think most people on here take HVs' advice with a large pinch of salt or ignore due to bad experiences, so good for you for complaining. I think you did the right thing!

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 10:43:43

Thanks peachsmuggler. I knew it was wrong but did not know how to get proper advice and the midwives did not seem overly concerned. It just seems wrong that they are dishing out all this crap advice to people, most of whom do not go on mumsnet, so do not know any better. I cancelled the hv's weaning visit as I knew she would tell me to wean at 4 months, which is what she said to my friend. Why should they be allowed to get away with this?

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 10:45:32

Just to add I am very lucky now to have a happy healthy 17 week old boy who has just been sick on my shoulder! I know things could have been a lot worse.

Turniphead1 Tue 07-Oct-08 10:56:50

I had to complain about a probationary community m/w who came out to see me -

she told me to use cabbage leaves for sore nipples (hello, that would be engorgement love)

she gave my DS a massive blood blister on his heel from the heel prick test - it's still there 3 years later

she couldn't weigh

she couldn't even look at a diary and give the correct date for her next visit (as she was looking at the wrong month)

she didn't check my stitches or uterus.

She was an utter muppet and a liability. Luckily I was a hardened second timer but it filled me with fear to think of her out there advising first timers or vulnerable people. I complained vociferously. Slight off topic. I didn't even ask her for feeding advise as I could tell I would get more sense out of my 2 year old DD. If she darkens my doorway this time round I will not be pleased to see her !

lizzytee Tue 07-Oct-08 11:37:46

If you don't complain (and name names) then the hospital or practice employing the individual in question cannot do anything about the person in question. It's likely that you will not be the only person who has raised the issue.

hatorihanzo Tue 07-Oct-08 11:48:47

PMSL because you took her advice about cream cakes so seriously.

minniemummy Tue 07-Oct-08 11:49:16

I complained about my midwife from my first child as she told me to give him sugared water if he wanted to feed more than every four hours when he was only 9 days old. I came on here to see if her advice was wrong (as I suspected!) and therefore didn't take her up on it, but I complained because I thought other people might actually follow her advice. It wasn't a written complaint, just a phone call and they said they would speak to her. She must have known it was me because a few weeks later when I saw her in the foyer at baby clinic she blanked me!!
I refused to have her as my midwife for my second child for this and other reasons (she's a bit of an unhelpful cow in my opinion) but without a formal complaint. They told her 'and she's fine about it'. I work for the Youth Service and if someone refused to see me I wouldn't be fine about it, I would seriously question my professional practice, but hey... anyway, my point being, yes I think it's worth complaining.

hatorihanzo Tue 07-Oct-08 11:53:06

minnie i think that if someone regarded me as an unhelpful cow i would be fine about them not seeing me.

PortAndLemon Tue 07-Oct-08 11:54:20

hatorihanzo -- have you read the post of Tue 07-Oct-08 10:31:08? The midwives were confronted with a small baby losing weight because of a bad latch, but completely failed to notice the bad latch and put the problems down to the mother not eating a sufficiently high-fat diet. If she hadn't got better advice elsewhere her baby's health could have been at risk. I think that needs to be taken seriously, particularly as the same advice was probably being given to other mothers who don't have access to better advice.

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 11:55:58

Turniphead1, she sounds scary! Were you happy with the response to your complaint?

lizzytee, they didn't ask me for names, but said they have identified the midwives involved.

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 12:01:09

hatorhanzo, I didn't take their advice about cream cakes seriously, but at the same time I couldn't quite believe that they would give the advice if there wasn't something in it. I didn't start eating cream cakes, but did not get any sensible advice from them , like " we don't know what we are talking about, see a bf counsellor" which would have been a start. I am glad you are pissing yourself, as the situation has not given me a lot to laugh about, quite the opposite.

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 12:05:55

And why shouldn't we be able to take the advice of professionals seriously? Why should the lucky few be able to filter the information given through mumsnet and everyone else just puts up with it?

lizzytee Tue 07-Oct-08 15:19:53

roland, completely take your point. i also think you have every right to be furious about being told something that is utter rubbish. Unfortunately it is not an isolated example either.

rolandbrowning Tue 07-Oct-08 15:38:54

thanks lizzytee, I sort of thought I was over it, obviously I am not, I know worse things happen, but it is so needless and as you say has happened to other people. There is so much crap information given out about bf, without professionals adding to it.

minniemummy Tue 07-Oct-08 17:53:10

Hatorihanzo, not to hijack the thread but can I ask why you wouldn't be bothered about getting negative feedback - particularly if it meant you did in fact need retraining?? If a client only sees me the once and then doesn't return, I discuss it with my supervisor and think about why that may be, what I could possibly have done to make them not want to come back, and adjust my practice accordingly if necessary. Obviously sometimes it is just one of those things and people just don't get on, but I really don't feel that was what happened in my experience. Or a lot of other people's by the sounds of things!

tiktok Tue 07-Oct-08 17:57:33

peachsmuggler - women do not need to 'eat more in order to sort out' their breastmilk supply...Mars Bars or anything else

The risk is that women with babies who are not getting enough breastmilk are given this rubbish as 'advice' instead of decent help to fix the bf

fedupandisolated Tue 07-Oct-08 18:09:18

Breastfeeding education for midwives and health visitors is appalling frankly. Midwives are in a better position to get decent education but it's amazing how many don't and carry on giving ineffective advice.

I'm an ex-midwife and now a HV - as part of my HV education I had just one afternoon devoted to breastfeeding - half of which was taken up with the anatomy of the breast. Dreadful. For my co-students that had not been midwives it was just not enough - they were expected to learn "on the job" from HVs with the same appalling lack of training.

However, all HVs have to do a set number of training days every so often and there is NO reason they cannot choose to study an area where they need updating.

It's definitely worth complaining imo - even if you don't want to name names - just a message saying "the advice I was given was appalling and your staff need training" helps.

I could cry when I see some of the "advice" given to parents by HV's as posted on here. It really is NOT good that so many are woefully under trained in an area which is a major public health issue.

Interestingly there is no substitute for personal experience - a HV colleague of mine who has BF her DD for well over a year says there is a wealth of difference between the advice she gave out before her DD was on the scene and the advice and support she feels able and confident to give now.

RedOnHerBeheadedHead Tue 07-Oct-08 18:25:17

I have very little faith in my HV, after she first spoke to me about weaning when DS1 was only 11wks old! shock There are some good ones out there I know, but nearly everyone on here has something bad to say about their HV wrt information that they give them.

JustKeepSwimming Tue 07-Oct-08 18:33:25

roland - i complained about my first hv with ds1 - her 'advice' was useless and unknowledgeable - if she had just said 'i don't know, but here is a number you can call for help' that would have been ok, but no.
her prize comment will have to wait as ds2 shouting!

tiktok Tue 07-Oct-08 18:34:28

fedup - training is poor I agree.

But personal experience is not a substitute - it is a bad thing if HPs use their own exp as breastfeeders as a basis for what they say to mothers. It doesn't bother me if a midwife or HV has bf or not - they can have a good knowledge and good way of supporting either way. Without good training, their own exp. can get in the way.

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