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Advice/experience of giving birth in hospital/bf toddler please

(7 Posts)
EatingFor3 Wed 10-Aug-11 13:22:22


I'm just wondering if there are any rules or if I have any rights regarding this...

My DC1 will be 18mths (and if all goes to plan, still bf) when I'm due to have DC2. My biggest worry about this is how it'll work when I'm in hospital with DC2 - will DC1 be allowed in to visit me often - or at all? How can I continue to bf?

See, the NHS is meant to promote bf, but DC1 might be seen to potentially be disruptive/an infection risk, and I can't argue with that, so I really don't know where I stand...

Any thoughts/ideas? They'd be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance! smile

squiggleywiggler Wed 10-Aug-11 13:39:55

Hi there - congratulations!

Your own children are allowed to visit postnatal wards and I've also been with clients (I'm a doula) whose toddlers have visited them while still in the delivery room an hour or two after having the baby.

have you got any reason to think you'll need to be in for more than the 6 hour discharge? If not then you may find it's not much of an issue.

If you were in for longer I'd suggest talking to your MW, thinking about paying for a side room and accepting that night feeds probably aren't going to be possible. I've found hospitals generally to be understanding about older siblings needing their mums.

Having said all that have you thought about homebirth? If you haven't researched it much then now's the time to look in to it. A good place to start is here and I've got a couple of homebirth stories on my website

You wouldn't have an issues with your older child needing you and you not being there as well as many other benefits of a homebirth.

It's not for everyone but I've worked with lots of people who've initially thought 'no way' until they looked in to it and realised all the positives.

EatingFor3 Wed 10-Aug-11 13:57:06

Hi Squiggley,

Thanks for your reply. That's really reassuring to hear that your own children are allowed in. Is that in all hospitals? Scotland too?

To be honest, I'd hope not to be in for long but last time around I was in for nearly a week cause I lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion. I don't know what the odds of that happening again are but you can never tell anyway, can you?

I'm interested in the bit about "paying for a side room"... In an NHS hospital? How much does that cost? Would DC1 be allowed to stay with me in that case?

I must admit that the thought of a homebirth does appeal to an extent but I would worry a bit about all the "what ifs". Last time round, DC got stuck and we needed ventouse, DC was slow to start breathing, I tore very badly, lost a lot of blood as I said, baby was 9.5lbs, I have an underactive thyroid... I think there are probably a few too many risks in there for me to be able to justify a homebirth...

Gosh - what a lot of questions! You'll be sorry you replied to me now! (Thank you!) smile

squiggleywiggler Wed 10-Aug-11 14:09:21

I'd be very surprised if it was different in Scotland but there's bound to be an MN-er with experience along soon. I'm in London.

Yes, side-rooms are available in NHS hospitals. Priority is given to people who need them for medical reasons, but everyone I've worked with his always managed to wrangle one if they needed one. You still have to adhere to visiting hours in theory but I've found they are much more flexible and of course much more privacy. The cost in London has ranged from free (lovely MW arranged it), to £70/night and £250/ night. Worth asking in advance about your hospital's policy.

I wonder if it would be worth you talking to a few people about homebirth? Might be worth looking at and speaking to some local doulas. Sounds like last time was a little bit scary at times so might be worth considering extra support and doulas are happy to talk/meet up initially without charge. Many will have experience with homebirth.

I'd also have a chat with your MW and an local independent MW and see what they think about your risk factors. I have known people have a HB after all the things you mention above, but it's a case of being aware of risk/benefits on all sides and weighing those up. There's a good section on that website I linked to with various risk factors and whether homebirth is still an option and what the considerations are.

You can PM me if you need anything else or my details are on my website.

EatingFor3 Wed 10-Aug-11 14:31:18

Hi again Squiggley,

Thanks for taking the time to reply a second time!

Gosh, I can't believe £250 a night for a room in a hospital! That's a bit steep! Still. I will ask the MW - I've yet to meet her as it's still early days. With a bit of luck she'll be nice and understanding - DC1 also has a metabolic disorder that makes the eating/drinking routine all the more important so I'm hopeful that that might make her a bit more sympathetic. But who knows - we'll need to wait and see. Meanwhile, it's really good to know that your own DC are usually allowed in to visit and that paying for a private room may also be an option.

As for hiring a doula - I'm not so sure. To be honest I think I'll probably be alright on my own with DH. I will say to MW about a HB though, and see what she thinks. To be honest though, even if there's a tiny risk, I think I'd rather I was just in a hospital. It's mad - DC2 is no bigger than a kidney bean and here I am already having to weigh up what's best for it vs. what's best for DC1...! Guess I should get used to this feeling! Lol!

Off to have a look at the website you posted the link to now. Thanks again. smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 10-Aug-11 18:30:25

Hi eatingforthree and congratulations. smile

I'm 33wks and bf ds can't answer your question yet, plus i'm planning a hb. But i'm on a thread on the bf/ff board called "is there a bf while pg thread already?" and one mner on there is planning a hospital birth and due a couple of weeks after me, so well before you. You are welcome to come and join us and share experiences of bf while pg, and maybe on to tandem feeding in the future if that's what you're planning smile .

Almacks Mon 15-Aug-11 00:22:00

Hi there, just to encourage you, I was allowed to BF 28mo in hospital when I had DC3. It was a community hospital, but they still had set visiting times. They let DH bring DC2 in outside of visiting times for early morning and night feeds, and made a room available, which I did NOT have to pay for. The rest of the time I fed him on the ward, although I did draw the curtains as others were struggling to establish BF with Newborns and I didn't want to look smug.

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