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Anyone else give up breastfeeding as a result of poor postnatal care?

(16 Posts)
ElieRM Thu 30-Jul-09 16:45:22

DD is 7 wks and thriving. All through my pregnancy I was determined to breastfeed, wanted to express all feeds when I returned to studying, determined she'd have nothing but breast milk til we started weaning.
Had a reletively easy labour although I gave birth when the labour ward was packed (closed 2 days after dd was born!) Was shown very briefly how to latch her on in the delivery room, although was still unsure. When I reached the postntal ward, was struggling to latch her on. Asked a MW for help,she snapped at me that DD had a dirty nappy, to change her and then she'd latch on. An hour later, still no success so asked a second MW.She didn't speak at all, just grabbed DDs head and shoved her on my breast.
As a first time mum, I assumed she was then latched on properly. Endured bleeding nipples as assumed it was normal. DD would only ever feed for a few minutes before falling asleep, let down relfex didn't kick in and after day 3 when milk came in never suffered engorgement or discomfort due to lack of milk. When DD was weighed at 10 days she had gained no weight at all. Was told by HV to feed every two hours and express straight after whether DD was hungry or not and leave her to cry rest of time. Managed 6 hours of this as my mum was with me, but when she left to go home DP was still at work and DD refused to be put down, was screaming with hunger so it became impossible.
Took the very difficult decision to put her on formula, felt guilty and still miss bf terribly.
Do you think if we'd been given more adequete support from the begging BF would have been possible? Or just one of those things?

dinkystinky Thu 30-Jul-09 16:52:30

ElieRM - this is a really common story. The only reason I managed to bf DS1 after a difficult birth was because I had got intouch with a wonderful breastfeeding peer supporter before his birth who came to the hospital and my house for hours to help me establish breastfeeding. I now have a DS2 and as I knew what to do from first time round didnt get hold of a peer supporter before the birth but did go to lots of bfing clinics in the first few weeks. You should not feel guilty - bfing is something that needs to be learned and you need someone to help you learn what to do - your MWs failed you on that score and if I were you I would consider complain to the senior MW at the hospital. If you are still missing bfing terribly, perhaps you could get in touch with your local breastfeeding peer supporters or a local breastfeeding clinic or breastfeeding counsellor. Its not impossible to relactate if you want to and establish bfing again if that is what you really want to do. There are some bf counsellors on this board (Tiktok for one) who may be able to advise more on this. The Kellymom site is also a good resource. Good luck - and enjoy your beautiful DD.

tiktok Thu 30-Jul-09 17:10:27


What a horrible start to bf for you - all the way along the line, you experienced shocking care. It is a disgrace you got to 10 days still in a pickle, and found the HV unable to help resolve something that even then, could have been resolved.

You can restart breastfeeding - truly you can. It's called 'relactation' and no one would say it was easy or quick. But it starts with the strong desire to breastfeed, and a willingness to snuggle skin to skin with your baby for as much of the time as you can - plus added support from your nearest and dearest.

Any of the bf helplines would help you with this and support you.

Whatever you decide to do, formula feeding does not mean missing out on lovely, warm, loving contact with your baby and physical closeness and responsiveness. You might have to consciously make sure this happens (it's easier with bf!) and you might have to dig your heels in and ensure you are the person who gives the vast majority of feeds to your baby (which may be happening anyway I know).

The other thing you can do when you feel ready is simply to copy and paste your post into an email and send it to the PCT, the director of midwifery and the chair of your MSLC, and ask them what steps they are taking to make sure staff are trained and knowledgable in supporting bf.

Hope this helps.

pigletmania Thu 30-Jul-09 21:04:26

By the way, how do you get hold of a bf peer supporter

dinkystinky Thu 30-Jul-09 21:07:28

In my case I went to a local breastfeeding clinic when pregnant with DS1 and met the peer support co-ordinator there and gave her my details. She then allocated me a peer-supporter who lived in my area and who gave me a call, and met me at home, a couple of weeks before DS1 was born - my peer supporter talked me through bfing in theory before DS1 was born and gave me her mobile no to call her when DS1 was born if I needed any practical help. She was wonderful and I am - and will always be - so grateful to her.

sazlocks Thu 30-Jul-09 21:25:13

Elie - you poor love. Your post natal care sounds crap to me. I agree with Tiktok and would suggest you write to your local Primary care Trust and Hospital Trust with the story of your care. There will be a local Maternity Services Liasion Committee which will also be interested in what happened to you and how to avoid this happening again.
I had an all too similar experience to you when I had DS, although had an unexpected CS so needed more help to BF. I honestly only managed to get the support I needed by harrassing the midwives, telling them that under no circumstances was DS having anything but breastmilk and therefore they had to help me to feed him. I even suggested that I would ring the NCT to ask them to send in a BF counsellor if they didn't have time to help. In the end I discharged myself to a midwife led unit and got 5 days of support to help establish breast feeding.
I am sure that I only got the support in the end because as an NHS manager I knew exactly what to ask for and was absolutely determined that I would be breastfeeding and that I would get help. Even then I was told that I was starving my baby, I was going to give him jaundice etc etc
Good luck if you try to restablish bfeeding

ElieRM Thu 30-Jul-09 21:45:11

Thanks everyone! Sadly I think that our stories relating to bf and postnatal care are becoming more and more common due to NHS targets, lack of midwives, poor training etc.
I will write, and I will make it known my experience is not exclusive.
Going to try relactation local breastfeeding group apparently very good. Well done to all those who have the nerve to insist on proper support from the beginning, hopefully before DD produces a DGC things will have changed!

GeorgeTheSlitheen Thu 30-Jul-09 21:54:16

You poor thing

I never managed to get on with feeding my dd. The most help I had was the nurse roughly grabbing my breast and shoving dds head on. I gave up after 6 weeks and felt bloody awful about it.

GeorgeTheSlitheen Thu 30-Jul-09 21:55:18

You poor thing

I never managed to get on with feeding my dd. The most help I had was the nurse roughly grabbing my breast and shoving dds head on. I gave up after 6 weeks and felt bloody awful about it.

earplugs Thu 30-Jul-09 23:32:30

Its terrible, but I'd say its fairly typical of many post natal wards.

The wards are usually so understaffed (and overfull!)that the midwives just don't have the time to spend with any one woman to provide the help that is needed. All they have time to do is force babies head onto boob and then bugger off leaving you clueless as to what to do next.

Whilst I think proper training is most certainly lacking, I also believe that whilst the NHS is in the state that it is with staff levels, even the best midwives still won't have the time for the one on one that is needed. You can see why from their point of view its so much easier to hand you the bottle of formula!

elkiedee Fri 31-Jul-09 21:32:55

Elie, sad to hear about your experience, do chase up some help and support. The "advice" from your midwives and health visitor sounds dreadful, and yes, I do think things could have been different for you with good advice and support from the beginning.

I hope you can get some help to relactate.

ElieRM Sat 01-Aug-09 11:54:10

Sent a stinking e-mail to the pct yesterday and will be writing the govt health minister when I get a minute. Still upset, but not going to sit around and whinge any more, time for a bit of action methinks!

poppy34 Sat 01-Aug-09 14:05:37

ellie am so sorry to hear about your experiences but glad to see you are doing something positive about it. Could not agree more re lack of support as had simliar experience (save for lovely private midwife who did her best to help after I got home).

and tiktok whilst I think there are a lot of good people (like you) out there giving bf advice and support in my very limited experience when I asked for it (mw at hospital, contacting their speclalist who rang me back 5 daYS later, repeated calls to la leche and nct b/f line where I never got to speak to anyone directly -just a succession of answerphones....) the support just wasn't there for me and there does come a time as elieRm says where you give up.

to be hoenst I'm so put off by my experiencs trying to bf that I very much doubt I'd try if I have another.

pigletmania Sat 01-Aug-09 16:09:01

Thanks, i wish i had know then what i know know, and i never heard of relactation. Will have to do some research into bf peer supporters before i have a second one and get prepared.

Grendle Sat 01-Aug-09 19:56:19

Sorry to hear about your poor experience sad.

I'd encourage you to also write to your MP and ask him/her to seek the views of the Health Minister on the care you received and how it fits with the policies they promise nationally.

Letters to Dept Health from the public get a reply from an official. Letters forwarded by an MP get a reply that, while written by the same official, must pass the desk of the Minister for them to sign it.

TurtleAnn Sat 01-Aug-09 21:36:13

This website is a place where you can air your views on midwife/ nursing training and other improvements you would like made.

It is a current government review into midwifery and nursing in the UK.

There is also a link to this website (above) on the homepage.

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