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Baby UNfriendly hospital - Anyone have any ideas how to fight the following?

(70 Posts)
Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 20:49:06

I have been trying to establish how I am going to continue to breastfeed dd (8 months) while I am staying in hospital following a gynacological operation. I have been told I will need a 5 day stay in hospital. I was told by the consultant that there is no facility for me to have dd in hospital with me. To make matters worse, I have today found out from PALS that I will only be allowed to see dd to feed her during visiting hours which are 3-4pm and 6.30-8pm. I was told that I could not have additional visits for breastfeeding as the nurses have a responsibility for my well-being not for dd's.

I am not happy to accept this and wondered if anyone had any ideas where to go from here. DD still has loads of milk and is very clingy so it is going to be hard enough without this being taken away from us. I am probably going to call PALS back again and inform them that it is essential for my mental well-being that I am allowed to continue to breast feed my baby. I am so angry and fed up that I really feel like not having the op as my main priority at the moment is dd's well being. Do you think it would be worth contacting my local branch of NCT?


wuglet Tue 23-Jun-09 20:52:22

shock at how bad so much of the NHS is (well not shocked actually but it is bad)

Am presuming this isn't a Baby Friendly hospital?

NCT sounds like a reasonable suggestion.

Am surprised PALS not more helpful.

Presume others will be along with more helpful advice - but would you consider going to the press?

Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 20:57:48

Unfortunately it isn't a baby friendly hospital Wuglet. They let their status lapse. I thought I was going to be in and out but the issue was complicated by cancelled appointments and now the matter needs major surgery as it can't be done as key hole surgery. If I had known I was going to be for 5 days, I would have chosen another hospital.

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 21:04:30

Thats the pitts.

Am trying to think whats best to do.......

I think letter to the matron for the gynae, possibly menioning that you were going to the director of services but felt this was a ward management issue.

You could acknowledge that you realise the trust may fear a conflict of interest, but reasure that you do not intend to bf to the detriment of your post-op recovery [am fuddled as to how this could happen but it seems to be your consultants point] and that you do not expect the trust to take any responsibility for the decision of when and how you feed.


LadyOfWaffle Tue 23-Jun-09 21:09:01

Can you have it done at another hospital? Ring round others in a commutable distance and find out if they are more helpful? I would be very tempted to go to the press...

PacificDogwood Tue 23-Jun-09 21:15:52

I CANNOT believe that there is no way around this.
Can you speak to the consultant under whose care you are? Head of nursing? Whoever is looking after patient satisfaction? Management?
I agree putting this in writing in a non-inflammatory kind of way whilst being quite firm that you intend to continue BFing your child. Personally I would be happy to sign any kind of disclaimer taking responsibility for the care of you daughter off the hospital/trust/ward.
Local paper?? Local counsellor? MP? AAAaaargh, I am getting v wound up by this and do not feel v not inflammatory, IYKWIM.
Baby friendly badge or not, this is an embarrassemnt...
<<PD goes away before she implodes and accidently admits that she works for the NHS>>

PuzzleRocks Tue 23-Jun-09 21:18:01

Oh Marthasmama, that's awful. I do hope you find a way.
Do you think going to the local press would help?

Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 21:18:31

Thank you so much ladies. I was starting to think that maybe I was making a big fuss over nothing as I couldn't believe that they were so dismissive. I'm feeling a bit teary now. smile

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 23-Jun-09 21:22:03

What nonsense. Isn't up to the Ward Manager anyhow and not a consultant?

8 months ffs. It could well be sole source of nourishment for many kids at that age. Can you get some support from a BF organisation also (NCT? BFN? LLL?)

I think I would be completely arsey about it and threaten local papers etc. But accept that confrontation doesn't always work grin

But it does seem very very wrong that they can't accommodate this, given you have made a number of suggestions.

hester Tue 23-Jun-09 21:26:04

Seriously, I would fight this. I would probably write straight to the Chief Exec.

hester Tue 23-Jun-09 21:26:04

Seriously, I would fight this. I would probably write straight to the Chief Exec.

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 21:26:19

You need the right people dealing with it though. The ward management side, which is the matron.

The consultant might be giving his/her opinion - but thats not what was asked for.

Ring and speak or write to the matron for the service, but get it across [by saying Oh I'm glad I found you not some faceless director or executive] that you are well able to go to the director of services or the chief exec.

Go girl!

plus3 Tue 23-Jun-09 21:31:30

Absolutely try to get the modern matron for the ward onside. Also could try the paediatric / maternity unit who would (should) be more pro breast feeding to talk up your case. We have a very passionate breast feeding liasion nurse who more than readily take up this fight if you were at our hospital!

Don't give up..I'm sure there is a way around it. Be firm but reasonable, and if you are able to provide the solution, it takes the wind out of all objections.

Good luck.

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 21:38:17

Good advice plus3.

If you talk to someone who has the power to make this happen you might find it is a non problem. I'm hoping you just got unlucky with the consultant, and with PALS who for some reason can't think outside the box.

Having heard of babies taken to mothers in intensive care in coma's, so this is really a bit of a non issue.

You would probably need a side room though, because you are going to need visitors outside of visiting. You could acknowledge that and offer to vacate as soon as you are physically able to meet the baby, say, in the postnatal dayroom to feed. At which point the matron will say 'no no that won't be required'. I hope!

Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 21:46:16

I have just e-mailed my local branch of NCT as well but there are some fabulous ideas here so might not need them. My head is a bit all over the place tonight but I will have a good re-read tomorrow morning and formulate a plan of action! I will let you know how it goes..... Thank you lovely ladies. You've made me feel so much better and these like a crazy woman!

Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 21:47:17

I meant less like a crazy woman....see, my brain is fuzzy!!

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 21:49:30

Go girl! All will be well.

Just don't accept it, they will have to work around you, That's that.

I'm a bit of a demon at the passive aggressive faintly manipuative letter if you want me to do a proof read <<feels creative juices bubble and wiley tendancies flex>>

Good luck with op more to the point!

plus3 Tue 23-Jun-09 21:51:35

Again the paediatric/maternity wards might have a nursery nurse who they could 'loan' to you for the duration of your stay - unusual, but not impossible!

Marthasmama Tue 23-Jun-09 21:55:36

treedelivery - I was a civil servant for 6 years so I am very good at the old passive aggressive/overtly manipulative letter writing. wink But I would love a second opinion/editor to help me out and tighten it up. Thank you.

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 21:59:16

Oh good - you will be able to kick ass in a management speak way!

Grendle Tue 23-Jun-09 23:00:13

Haven't got time to work through this in detail for you, but according to NICE guidance all women should be supported by all NHS health professionals to breastfeed for as long as they choose to. The ideal is exclusively for 6 months with ongoing bf thereafter. Your hospital's behavious is inconsistent with this and it's worth pointing out in writing.

Guidance here

Grendle Tue 23-Jun-09 23:01:52

Also, see if you can find out if the hospital has an infant feeding co-ordinator or lactation consultant on staff. If so they may be able to help support you get the arrangements in place that you need.

treedelivery Tue 23-Jun-09 23:08:15

That's very good Grendle, that NICE guideline is a powerfull tool.

It wants ramming down the neck of PALS. Am totally non plussed at the idea of a bf infant as a visitor. Says a lot when patients are permitted mobiles and tv, but not breastfeeding.


elkiedee Wed 24-Jun-09 09:35:19

That's terrible, and at 8 months old a lot of babies even formula fed ones aren't used to being away from their mums so long.

notevenamousie Wed 24-Jun-09 09:40:50

Ask if you can be put on the postnatal ward post op. Midwives are used to major surgery (Caesarean sections) and the doctors are the same doctors, and they are used to babies. Whether your 8mo will fit in the goldfishbowl cribs is an interesting one, but that's in the minor details. This is what we would do and have done in my unit.

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