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I met a doctor today...

(30 Posts)
hunkermunker Sun 10-Apr-05 15:20:53

Today, I took my one-year-old DS to the GP at hospital because he was hot again in the night. He has an ear infection, poor love, as well as teething what seems to be a forest of teeth at once.

However, that's not the point of this post.

The GP I saw there asked if he was eating and drinking - I told him I was still breastfeeding and he looked at me as if I'd grown another head there and then on the spot.

Then he said, "Why?! I think six months is quite enough."

To which I replied, very calmly, that the World Health Organisation's guidelines suggested breastfeeding until at least two. He looked amazed, shrugged and got on with examining DS.

Just before we left, he said that DS should be getting enough from solids and I really didn't need to keep breastfeeding him. So I said that a child's immune system didn't mature until they were about seven (laughingly said I didn't expect to still be feeding DS then), so breastfeeding a one-year-old was a good plan. Then he said, "But they do bite though" - as if I was happily letting DS munch on my nipples whenever he felt like it! I reassured him that DS didn't bite and that he enjoyed breastfeeding - I wasn't just doing it because I wanted to.

Should I have said more?! I'm SO shocked to have come face-to-face with this total ignorance! If I wasn't so confident that I was doing the right thing...it's not just support at the beginning of breastfeeding that needs addressing, obviously!

mears Sun 10-Apr-05 15:58:32

Unfortunately this is a common theme with doctors. I regularly had arguments with my own GP - he openly admits he doesn't see the point of breastfeeding past 6 weeks really. I went to see him when DS2 was admitted to hospital with meningitis aged 6 months, resulting in me getting mastitis because he couldn't feed. I wanted antibiotics, he wanted me to stop feeding altogether to save me having the discomfort I was distraught about my sick baby and wanted to be able to feed him again when he was able. The consultant paediatrician said that breastfeeding probably saved his life so I took great delight telling my GP that.

I think you did well to give him the information he obviously did not know about. It will give him food for thought.

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 16:01:40

My 3 year old daughter has been admitted to hospital 6 times in the last year-and-a-half for asthma (last time 3 weeks ago) and the doctors and nurses in hospital have always been very complimentary about breastfeeding.

Yorkiegirl Sun 10-Apr-05 16:02:39

Message withdrawn

Yorkiegirl Sun 10-Apr-05 16:03:18

Message withdrawn

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 16:04:53

One of the, errmmm, benefits, of breastfeeding is that mum gets a hospital meal if their child is breastfed...fibre-free, to boot!

mears Sun 10-Apr-05 16:08:03

Ameriscot2005 - no free meals where I am except when in maternity unit after birth.

SueW Sun 10-Apr-05 16:11:22

Eurgh - hospital food! We've usually shunned the on-ward meals and headed for the canteen or on-site pizza place, sent a visitor to Sainsburys for sarnies or had people bring stuff in.

Best thing about Chelsea and Westminster hospital is the Starbucks just outside!

hunkermunker Sun 10-Apr-05 16:11:44

That has to be a real clincher, Ameriscot...

Xzebra Sun 10-Apr-05 16:25:16

I think it would be a good thing if you wrote a letter of complaint to the hospital, h'munker, about the misinformed GP. Very polite but factual, "I hope that this doctor's ignorance is not representative", etc. To get the message home to him (or any others like him).

Tissy Sun 10-Apr-05 16:30:51

mears, you get free meals on the paediatric wards if you are still breastfeeding the child who is a patient. I've done it twice! Having said that it's no big deal, the food's rather unimpressive!

franch Sun 10-Apr-05 16:53:30

I agree with Xzebra. You must make a complaint. The NHS's official policy is to support breastfeeding - see this site . The same site provides some useful links to organisations that I'm sure would support you in any complaint you make. This GP urgently needs re-educating; you are obviously confident in your decisions (and quite rightly so), but the next mum he meets might not be.

WELL DONE, hm, for sticking up for yourself!

franch Sun 10-Apr-05 16:55:23

PS As well as supporting you, the organisations listed on the NHS site would also gladly send the GP all the info he needs, I'm sure.

hunkermunker Sun 10-Apr-05 16:57:10

It's the same hospital I had DS in and I've already had a meeting with the midwives manager and the head of midwifery there about their lamentable breastfeeding support. At the beginning of that they said they were proud of their support. During the meeting, they admitted it consisted of "having lots of posters up in the postnatal ward" After they'd reviewed my notes, they apologised to me...and said they'd do a focus session on breastfeeding support with their midwives.

I will write about this GP - thank you for the links, Franch. He wasn't rude, but he was terribly misinformed.

franch Sun 10-Apr-05 17:03:33

Misinformed is right! It's obviously not just the m/ws who need to attend this focus session. I'm really impressed by your approach - it's great that you're following it up for the sake of other mums and babies. There's no excuse for these health professionals to be so ignorant. As the wife of a doctor who deals with children I don't have much patience with that sort of rubbish! Let us know how you get on.

franch Sun 10-Apr-05 17:17:16

Just had another look at that site - I see National B/f Week is almost upon us and "In support of the Priority and Planning Framework 2003-2006 the Department of Health has produced the Infant feeding and child nutrition pack for health professionals" - sounds like your GP at least needs to review his copy ...

And on the links page - the title quote is somewhat ironic in the light of his attitude!

mears Sun 10-Apr-05 17:32:20

I didn't realise that Tissy - they didn't do it in the south of the region but that was many moons agao

ps Dad is doing very well just now after his period of home intensive nursing by his daughters.

Tissy Sun 10-Apr-05 19:30:51

glad to hear it, mears

mears Mon 11-Apr-05 09:17:28

message for Tissy

stitch Mon 11-Apr-05 09:24:05

i dont think a complaint would make any difference.
the fact that this person is a doctor, merely means thta they are pro bf for the first six months. if they had not been taught it is best, then this doctor would probly be advocating bottles for newborns. i think the problem is that of society, not medical reps.
in a way, he is not wrong, bf is essential for the first six months, thereafter it is not quite so essential. we all have chosen different ages to stop at, and are hopefully happy with what we have chosen to do.

franch Mon 11-Apr-05 09:36:25

Well, strictly speaking stitch, bf is not essential at all. I think the problem with this doctor is not that he wasn't advocating bf at 1 year, but that he was actually discouraging it. As you say, we all choose different ages to stop at (I personally stopped before 1y) but the medical profession, at the very least, should support us in whatever decision we make. Society does have a problem with bf but the medical profession has a responsibility to lead the way, and if they don't, then we are perpetuating the problem by letting them get away with it.

stitch Wed 13-Apr-05 21:34:29

sorry i didnt see this earlier franch.
the doctor was supportive when he shrugged. doctors are people too. and even though his medical training may support bf, its possible that his life training rejects it. so in that context he is being supportive.
having said that, i think that most hospital doctors not caring for infants, probly dont come into much contact with breastfeeding. so why blame only them when it is all of scociety that is the problem?

marthamoo Wed 13-Apr-05 21:37:08

That's shocking, hunkermunker - good on you for presenting him with an informed POV.

hunkersneakymunker Wed 13-Apr-05 23:06:10

Stitch, it wasn't a supportive shrug

franch Thu 14-Apr-05 12:01:26

Have to disagree I'm afraid stitch. (Since when was a shrug supportive?! ) As the wife of a hosp doctor who deals with kids I know they are people! However they have MUCH more responsibility than the rest of us when it comes to taking a lead with public health - that is their JOB. The NHS has a policy of supporting bf, for very good reasons. It is this doctor's duty to follow this policy and not to let any personal hangups he might have interfere with good sense. Society, as I said before, is a problem but we can't just shrug (!) and be defeatist about that - someone has to take responsibility for educating themselves and others about the choices available and no one is in a better position to do so than a GP.

Once again hunkermunker, I think you're doing a great thing by making a stand. Keep us updated.

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