Your Health Visitor experiences: One good/one bad please?

(15 Posts)
NewFish Fri 14-Jun-13 09:40:08

Hi all,
I'm curious, have you got a tip for a new mum?
What's the best piece of advice/info your Health visitor spoke about at the new birth visit? And dare I ask...what was the worst thing?
(Constructive posts if possible please, although ranting is fine too) smile

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PurplePidjin Sat 15-Jun-13 19:45:50

My partner had a stroke when ds was 5 weeks old. I staggered into clinic to get some help once he was out of hospital. 2 weeks later i hadn't heard, so went back. Almost in tears, i asked for support - ds ebf, 8 weeks old, and i was barely managing to eat more than cereal or toast - including trying to feed a recovering dp.

"Have you got a freezer, dear? Perhaps you could cook extra and freeze some for another day"

That's the most useful thing a HV has ever said to me hmm

NewFish Mon 17-Jun-13 11:59:22

Oh gosh, sorry to hear that. thanks for posting. I am embarking on my health visitor training soon and just wanted to be of use to mums, so thought I'd ask for some tips straight from mums smile
How is your partner now?

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User21276799 Mon 17-Jun-13 12:19:46

As mums of one year olds, my NCT group were talking about the advice we were given by HV in the early days.

We all felt that the emphasis on the baby sticking rigidly to the curve on the WHO weight gain charts in the early weeks was not helpful if we were trying to BF.

We got so stressed out about what centile they were on at every weigh in, and I vividly remember two of the girls in the group crying after meetings with different HVs as they were given such a hard time about 'insisting' on EBF if the baby's weight gain had levelled off a bit. Our EBF babies were slower to gain or regain birth weight, and a few of us were pressured into supplementing with formula which (in my case at least) then reduced breast milk supply (as baby was feeding less often), making it LESS likely the baby would be able to keep pace with the chart through predominantly being BF. We also got some mixed BF advice in the early days, some of which was very outdated (feed every three hours rather than on demand etc.) and ultimately didn't help BF succeed. Seven of the eight of us had given up BF by three months, when we'd all intended to BF for at least six. All the babies at one year are fantastic weights and really healthy and we were wondering what on earth we were given such a hard time for.

When so much health advice is around the benefits of EBF, it was hard to understand why the HVs seemed so pro-formula feeding! Not that there's anything wrong with that at all if that's your choice, but to be discouraged from EBF? Weird.

Sad to say, this time I'll be doing my own thing and probably won't set too much store in what the HV says, however well-meaning...

CreepyCrawly Mon 17-Jun-13 12:28:36

It's awful to see bad experiences with HVs, at a time when you need support.

My HV was wonderful. She explained to me about ebf babies gaining weight slower than ff babies, and reassured me when my DD hadn't regained her birth weight as soon as she should have.

When I was having trouble bf, she stayed at my house for 2 hours and helped me with positioning and latching. When we had thrush she had treatment sent to my home straight away. Without my HV I don't think I would've stuck at breastfeeding.

PurplePidjin Mon 17-Jun-13 20:24:05

Dp's recovering well, it was a bleed rather than a clot so he just needs time to heal. He's very fit and sporty so prognosis is fab.

I would be ff (and bankrupt, no income at the moment!) if I'd listened to the hv. Luckily my local bf group is run by a mw who really knows her stuff and counteracted the worst of the bollocks the hv spouted.

My advice to a trainee hv: look at the baby not the numbers, and treat the mum as you find her. I've been told by two separate objective people that hv's can't handle mums like me - intelligent (well, ish) and articulate. However I'm a youth worker and can categorically state that young or less strong-minded women would feel just as patronised and demoralised as i have!

Popping a baby out means you lose the pregnant belly, not your brain cells wink

NewFish Tue 18-Jun-13 20:56:43

Thanks ladies, all really interesting and valid points made. The new 'wave' of health visitors that I have been recruited along side are from all different back grounds and varied career paths. (Some are highly experienced staff nurses from the community that have worked along side HV's for years, some are newly qualified nurses that have gone straight into HV training and some like myself have already done a fair few years as adult nurses or midwives and are doing the further training that way.)

This does mean that the advice and support we offer varies depending on our experiences - which is a difficult aspect to regulate given that we have all got valid advice and experience to offer.

We are all being trained to be very pro BFing (because of the evidence base that shows it's health benefits for mum and baby short and long term) but as students we have also identified that there is not enough in our curriculum to cover bottle-fed babies. It is being addressed (as far as my university and trust are concerned) and we are trying to redress the balance, but I think we are all very concerned with ensuring that we don't pressurize ANYONE to feel obliged to BF or not.

Purple Glad your DH is on the mend. smile Sound like you've had an ordeal.

Reassuring to hear some good stories too wink

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stargirl1701 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:03:46

My HV is fantastic. She has been our greatest support in getting help for DD's silent reflux. She popped in every week when things were really awful, she called paeds to push our appointment up the list, she called the GP to push her to prescribe a higher dose of meds, she arranged for the Paediatric home visiting nurse to come to the house for a growth check every month, she even popped in when I was pregnant to introduce herself...I could go on and on grin

She is always late. 10 mins to an hour.

Pancakeflipper Tue 18-Jun-13 21:06:15

My HV was wonderful. She worked on the basis that each baby and each mother was different and what works for some doesn't work for others.

She would offer suggestions but never tell you what to do. Very sensible and always had something positive to say about how you and baby were doing.

She is the one I phoned when DS2 was struggling with his health and the GPs were very unhelpful. She sorted out a consultants appointment and ticked off the GP.

She has moved onto to train HV's.

Amazinggg Tue 18-Jun-13 21:13:42

Good - the lovely one who listened to be cry and rant about having to go back to work and having no idea about childcare and what to do. She was lovely.

Bad - pretty much every other experience I'm afraid sad but the worst was the one who did the first few visits at home after my C-section. She banged on and on about 'make him wait three hours for his bottle' 'you mustn't give in to him early' and told me to give him cooled boiled water if he kept crying before the designated 3 hours sad if I'd done what she said regularly, I could have damaged my beautiful newborn boy. Luckily my instinct said 'he's crying, feed him' so I started doing that. But not soon enough, because I trusted her angry

BoysRule Tue 18-Jun-13 21:18:11

My HV was great with both of mine (I was lucky enough to have the same one with both).

When DS1 was 4 months I went to see her as he was feeding constantly (every 45 minutes even at night). He was 95th centile, crying constantly, I was as skinny as a rake, my DH was working long hours and I had no family nearby, I was close to a breakdown with sleep deprivation. She sat me down and told me it was OK to give him formula. The best advice ever. I just needed someone to tell me that. Within a week he slept through the night and I got my life back.

I do remember her saying in the early visits that it was OK if I was in my pyjamas when she came. I pointed out that she would probably see that as a sign of post-natal depression - and she said that was fair, and she would probably note it down!

NewFish Thu 20-Jun-13 07:22:07

Some really positive stuff here. Thanks. Both good and bad comments are really useful for me. It's so valuable having a feedback source where people can speak freely about their experiences. wink

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NewFish Thu 20-Jun-13 07:23:44

Boys rule: she said it was alright for you to be in your pj's but then admitted that she'd take it as a sign of pnd and note it down?!? have I read that right?

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BoysRule Thu 20-Jun-13 09:44:10

NewFish - yes. We both laughed and she saw how ridiculous it was but she admitted that if someone was in their pyjamas when they came round that they noted it down as a sign of PND. Not really fair considering some appointments were 9am!

NewFish Thu 20-Jun-13 10:30:59

[shocked] There are so many other signs that would point to PND, being in your PJ's for a health visit wouldn't concern me as an individual factor, only when it's part of a range of other signs and symptoms maybe.

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