Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why No Effort?

One of Mick's friends have just had the honour of becoming first time parents. C rang last night to let us know that they had welcome a baby boy a few days ago and, amongst the usual enquiries of weight, length, and how the labouring went, he mentioned that the new baby is being bottle fed. When Mick asked why, C explained that because Bub had trouble attaching in the first 24 hours the nurses had told mum " ah, just put him on a bottle ".

What?!? Hearing this made me both sad and angry. Why didnt the nurses at this hospital make more effort to help a first time mum have a loving and nurturing connection with her son? Very rarely does any baby master attachment in the first 24 hours, so to say its just going to be easier to bottle feed is a huge cop out. I'm angry that the nurses and midwives, who are there to help mums and their new bubs, didnt think it important enough to sit down and help her out with attachment issues, to explain to her that it can take days, weeks even, for bubs to get the hang of breatfeeding. Angry that they didnt offer a comp feed while they perservered with the boob, and angry that they didnt offer an breastfeeding aids ( such as a nipple shield, which Flynn and I have been using successfully for 6 months now ). I'm sad that because of this lack of effort that this new mum and her baby boy may miss out on the joys of breastfeeding, and the wonderful and, undeniable, nutrional benefits.

Thats Flynn having his boobies right there. Oh, and me and Mick.

Of course, i understand that nurses in maternity wards are busy. Over-worked, yes, and certainly under-appreciated much of the time. But surely, on a maternity ward, help with and advice on first-time breastfeeding must be one of their most important duties. I also acknowledge that bottle-feeding is not the Devil and is not the absolute worst thing in the world - i just think that for a mum who wanted to breastfeed to be told " just put him on a bottle, its easier " is a huge cop out and, frankly, a damn shame.

Kudos to all those hospital in my state - including the one where i gave birth - that are breastfeeding friendly. ( They do have an actual term for it, i just cant remember it ). These hospital advocate breastfeeding over bottle feeding - if you want to bottle feed thats fine and they're not going to nag you into changing your mind - but for everyone else they will do their damnest to make sure mum and bub can successfully breastfeed. Because of the wonderful midwives at my local hospital, Flynn has happily been having boobies for over 6 months, and hopefully for another 6 months more. I'm just sad that C's wife, unless she seeks out a local lactation consultant that will help, is going to miss out, all because people who are charged with her care and paid to give her help, couldnt ( or wouldnt ) make an effort.....


  1. This happened to my sister in law and my sister in laws sister in law (did you follow that? lol) Anyway they both really wanted to breastfeed and got no help from the hospital or anything, so they weren't able to. They were so disappointed.

    I don't understand why hospitals would do that. It doesn't make sense to me, even though I had to bottle feed, I still think breast is best if you can.

    (I had to coz of medical issues and no milk, tried for a few months though, but bubs was not gaining weight. I am in that tiny % who can't.)

  2. I'm surprised by that. My hospital were very supportive of breastfeeding, and offered all the help in the world.

    I must be naive, but I just assumed that all hospitals in Oz followed the Breast is Best policy.

    That is very sad, I agree. Breastfeeding is hard to get the hang of, and I bet you'd be hard-pressed to find a new mum, who didn't have some issues with breastfeeding, in the beginning.

    I'm still breastfeeding my youngest, who turns 1 next week, and have no plans to stop anytime soon. I love those few quiet minutes every day, when it's just me and him, snuggled together.

  3. I do think that it's a two way street though. Sure, the nurses play a role in promoting breastfeeding. But so do mums.

    I was adamant I would breastfeed both times. If someone had suggested I give my kids a bottle of formula in hospital, I would have fought them off ... and only done so if absolutely necessary.

    I hear you though - so frustrating when you hear these stories. And they're pretty common.

  4. I'm surprised they recommended bottle feeding so quickly. In the UK we get a lot of support to breastfeed, in fact it's gone to the other extreme and there is so little support for bottle feeding mums - the midwives can't even talk about it in ante-natal classes! I don't think this is fair either. Personally I think it boils down to what is best for mum and baby, the support should be there either way!

    I started off breastfeeding but even with a lot of support it didn't work out for us. Piglet then had another couple of weeks of my milk but expressed. She has been bottle fed entirely since she was 1 month old and I don't let it bother me. I know I did my best, she is happy, healthy and put weight on very well. I think we can go to the extreme of making mum's feel guilty if they can't breastfeed and that's not a good thing.