unhelpful nurses??

Sarah - posted on 05/18/2009 ( 20 moms have responded )

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ok, so did anyone else find that the nurses who cared for you after having your baby were really unhelpful with breast feeding? my eldest is now nearly 5 and i had a really difficult birth, over 20hrs in labour, episiotomy, forceps and then a blood transfusion. the nurse came in to 'help' me with breast feeding and she said 'your baby is starving, you need to feed her now!' i tried and failed, was in absolute bits and the nurse just huffed and said 'i suppose i'll go and get you a bottle'.

with my 2nd baby, i ended up having an emergency C-section, i tried to breastfeed quite soon after and it seemed to work.....but then later the next day she wouldn't latch on, so i asked for some help and the nurse said 'do you mind me being hands on?' i said that was fine. the nurse then proceeded to grab my breast and my baby's head and try to force her to latch on for about 45 mins.....i was crying, my baby was screaming and she had a red mark around her mouth from the nurse doing this. the next time a nurse came round i asked for a bottle as i was so upset and my baby seemed upset by the whole thing, and i was met with disgust and a bottle nearly thrown at me!! has anyone else encountered this kind of thing?? both my girls are happy and healthy and i don't think bottle feeding them has damaged them in any way, but i'm curious as to whether anyone else had similar problems because even now these experiences play on my mind at times.

20 Comments

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Tiffany - posted on 05/19/2009

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Quoting Kalie:

Wow! I feel for you! I had a few dragons around me while I was in the hospital. I did havea couple who were really nice, friendly and funny. The dragons though....* shiver* Not looking forward to that again!! The older nurses were pushy and wouldn't listen. My family is really big on breastfeeding my aunts and mother, and grandmothers gave me coaching before i had my son. So I had a pretty good idea what I was doing. They tried to make me change postion and do things there way! I was so mad! One nurse had the nerve to say to me, 'well if you don't go to sleep I am going to take your son away from you' NOT THE THING TO SAY to me. Mostly I'm a polite person but that was too far. Another thing that really made me mad: the morning after my son was born. I was laying in bed with him I took off my shirt (I was behind a screen) and laid him naked against my breasts. I heard this was good for breasting as well as bonding and getting to know eachother. The nurse flew in and ripped the sheet back, without so much as a hello. and then scolded me for laying around naked!! Arrrrr!!! They drove me nuts! After that I wouldn't let them pushy me around. It was a long three days and I couldn't even rest because they made me so uncomfortable! Not looking forward to it this time!


consider not going to a hospital if possible. That's terrible that they treat you like that. Lucky for me, I had my daughter at 11am and we were gone at 6pm that night. So I didnt have to bother with nighttime nurses. BUT my hospital was amazing. I asked in my birthplan to leabve me with the baby for an hour, to hold her to my skin and breastfeed. So they did. It wasnt til 1:30pm that they took her to weigh her, measure her etc.

Tiffany - posted on 05/19/2009

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That's really sad. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.



I had a midwife, who I'm sure you know is holistically inclined, and they are wonderful. She helped me learn to breastfeed that first afternoon. The next morning she came by my house to help me out (for about an hour). Then we saw her every other day for 2 weeks...My baby had a lot of problems latching on too, and since she wasn't gaining weight quickly we supplemented with formula for a month as well, until she really got the hang of it. Then we took the formula away, and she breastfed alone until she was almost 5 months, when we introdueced other foods...

I wish more people would be patient with new moms and breastfeeding. Its so important, adn so difficult.

Kristen - posted on 05/19/2009

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I had a pretty awful hospital stay for the birth of my son. The first day nobody even paid attention to us, they would check my vitals but not check on us to see if he was latching on properly and eating like he should be. Then the second day(day we were supposed to go home) they said he hadn't urinated yet and couldn't go home. So we waited, that afternoon he went, but still couldn't go home due to his blood sugar level dropped to a very low number. They ran some tests and finally started to take notice that he wasn't gaining weight or eating good. All the nurses who tried to help just frustrated me more. They each had a different way to get my baby to latch and by the time I would get him in a good position he was so hungry he would be screaming and wouldn't latch on at all. Finally I decided to just speak to a lactation consultant and not any of the nurses. They helped me to understand that my son was keeping his tongue at the top of his mouth and not really sucking and thats why he wasn't eating good and it caused his sugar to drop. The lactation consultant was so patient and spent alot of time trying to help me have a good experience breastfeeding. With her help I was able to teach my son to bring his tongue down and when discharged from the hospital he was latching on just fine and had gained 2 pounds. I gave the nurses that attempted to "help" but really just made me upset a very poor evaluation when I left. They should be providing help and encourage to woman who are trying to breastfeed not make them feel like failures. I agree with asking to speak to someone else if the nurses aren't helping you. Its important to be comfortable with your nurse so that you aren't frustrated and it doesn't upset your baby.

Amanda - posted on 05/19/2009

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I have had three children. And I have breast fed all three of them. The first child , was 9.8 and there was no lactation consultant. the dr said .. Just stickem up there and and he will know what to do.. So after mastitis in both breasts and cracked nipples . I just figured it out. pllayed by ear. with my second child at a different hospital I had the best lactation consultants. they came in warmed hands and showed me how to get her to latch ( she was a stubborn child from the get go). with my third child.. I was a pro at this. Popped it in her mouth and she went to town. No one told me about the cracked nipples. or the soreness. or mastitis.. NOTHING. Some lactation consultants are great and others dont deserve thier job. As for the nurses... If you get a really bad one. You can request another nurse. And they will provide one for you. You have to have a voice. If you dont say. they dont know and it will continue onto the next mother. Speak up! You and your child are the most important people in that hospital. That is the mental attitde that you have to have.

Taylor - posted on 05/19/2009

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I didnt have problems with a nurse when my son was born because my mother was a Labor and delievery nurse for 20 plus years and she was mine. but i did get looks because i wanted to bottle feed my baby instead of breastfeeding. I tried to breast feed and he would not take at all so i give up and went to the bottle. I think the bottle is just as good as breast feeding, my son is 8months old and couldnt be healthier.

Eilidh - posted on 05/19/2009

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i was the only mam breastfeeding on a ward with 6 other mams, they all got bottles to feed their babys regularly and i had to struggle away on my own! i asked for help to breastfeed a few times after she was born but it took over 5 hours to actualy get some one to help me and by this time it was after 10 at night and as you can imagin i was very tired and after a few mins i was really struggling to stay awake and had to have her taken off me and put back in her cot, she never got fed again until some time the next day when i gave up trying to get someone 2 actualy help me and got the courage to just keep trying on my own! And a few days after we got home my midwife asked if i had been taking my tablets (iron and things cant remember exactly) as it sed in my notes from hospital that i had been given a prescription for them, i had been discharged without being told my iron levels were low never mind given a prescription!

Sarah - posted on 05/19/2009

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Quoting Marcia:

My experience was kind of mixed...there were lactation consultants at the hospital...also nurses who would refer me to the lactation consultants. The nurses were really nice though and I got to laugh with them a lot (I had a c-section and ended up staying in the hospital for five days).

The issues with the hospital consultants included the following...
1. I did not know that my nipples were really flat...apparently they were and this is one of the reasons why breastfeeding was pretty painful. When the lactation consultant saw this I felt that she was kind of accusatory (yes, like I chose to be this way for some strange reason!). I already kind of had mixed feelings about having to have a c-section...I know it was wrong (I had a midwife, really tried to do natural labour, but after 21 hours it was medically necessary), but I still kind of felt like I was physically inept not being able to deliver my little one naturally as I found out later I had cpd (plus other little issues). Really, did I need to feel any worse about my body at that time?

2. My son had a tongue tie (long story short that little piece of skin that attaches your tongue to the bottom of your mouth was extra long, so latching was hard)...you would think that they would cut it, but nope...waiting was apparently a good option. This also added to the pain, yay.

3. I really disliked how the consultants seemed kind of disappointed that my milk wasn't coming in after x number of days (even though my midwife said that it may not come in until day 5). They encouraged me to pump...so, I did using their machine...they gave me the craptacular old one, adding to the pain...super-freaking-tastic!

I had a midwife and the midwife and the lactation consultant that she referred to me was SO MUCH more helpful. The lactation consultant got the pediatrician to cut the tongue tie and that helped things quite a bit...in the end I did not have the best milk supply (I was on domperidone to try to increase my supply and it helped but I still wasn't producing enough), so I had to supplement.
I agree with a lot of comments on this conversation...there is a lot of judgment with bottle feeding.


so many similarities with me!! i too have flat nipples, with my first child they said without any explaination, 'we might have to syringe you' i had no idea what that meant and i was drained and emotional from my difficult labor and that's when i broke down and she got the bottle. My 2nd daughter was also slightly tongue tied, they said it wouldn't affect feeding too much tho, so they never talked about cutting it. i also didn't plan to have a C-section....i went in 14days overdue to be induced and it was only then they discovered she was breech! they recommended a C-section because it's harder to deliver and i agreed because my first daughter had been 'back to back' (facing the wrong way) and i didn't want to go through another traumatic delivery, but suddenly having a C-section does make you feel bad about your body, and then if you 'fail' at breastfeeding too it does make you feel bad!! but you try explaining this to someone whose really pro breastfeeding! they won't have it! i've had 2 people say to me that i just took the easy option by bottle feeding and a few people have said the same thing about my emergency C-section!



i know tho that i have two healthy girls and that's the main thing, it just makes me cross when people judge others!!



rant over!! ha ha! :)

Julie - posted on 05/18/2009

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the nurses i had when i transfered to recovery started out nice enough...until i started doing things they apparently didnt like. i had already opted to bottle feed and they kept after me to breast feed over and over again even though i'd felt i'd already made my point perfectly clear. and then a few hours after i'd given birth they kept insisting i had to go to the bathroom, but i couldnt move bc of the effects of the epidural! i still literally couldnt even feel my legs, a nurse knocked right into my right leg and i didnt even notice. and yet they kept trying to pull me out of bed and insisiting i HAD to, and clearly were not understanding that i was completely uncapable of standing, never mind walking anywhere! and then the 2nd night after i'd fed my son and put him in the little nursey bassinet next to the bed, i turned out the lights to try and get some sleep and the nurse came in about half an hour later and started yelling at me that under no circumstances could i have the lights off to sleep with the baby in the room, when i was almost 2AM! they said it was too dangerous for me to turn the lights out with the baby in the there and if "thats how you need to sleep when we can just take him back to the nursery". the second they said i was clear to leave the next morning, i was outta there!

Marcia - posted on 05/18/2009

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My experience was kind of mixed...there were lactation consultants at the hospital...also nurses who would refer me to the lactation consultants. The nurses were really nice though and I got to laugh with them a lot (I had a c-section and ended up staying in the hospital for five days).

The issues with the hospital consultants included the following...
1. I did not know that my nipples were really flat...apparently they were and this is one of the reasons why breastfeeding was pretty painful. When the lactation consultant saw this I felt that she was kind of accusatory (yes, like I chose to be this way for some strange reason!). I already kind of had mixed feelings about having to have a c-section...I know it was wrong (I had a midwife, really tried to do natural labour, but after 21 hours it was medically necessary), but I still kind of felt like I was physically inept not being able to deliver my little one naturally as I found out later I had cpd (plus other little issues). Really, did I need to feel any worse about my body at that time?

2. My son had a tongue tie (long story short that little piece of skin that attaches your tongue to the bottom of your mouth was extra long, so latching was hard)...you would think that they would cut it, but nope...waiting was apparently a good option. This also added to the pain, yay.

3. I really disliked how the consultants seemed kind of disappointed that my milk wasn't coming in after x number of days (even though my midwife said that it may not come in until day 5). They encouraged me to pump...so, I did using their machine...they gave me the craptacular old one, adding to the pain...super-freaking-tastic!

I had a midwife and the midwife and the lactation consultant that she referred to me was SO MUCH more helpful. The lactation consultant got the pediatrician to cut the tongue tie and that helped things quite a bit...in the end I did not have the best milk supply (I was on domperidone to try to increase my supply and it helped but I still wasn't producing enough), so I had to supplement.
I agree with a lot of comments on this conversation...there is a lot of judgment with bottle feeding.

Rhiannon - posted on 05/18/2009

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I think I was one of the lucky ones! My midwives & nurses were all fantastic and helpful.... though each had their own "way" of breastfeeding, i just took advice from one midwife and ignored the rest. My friend on the other hand had a horrid time with the nurses and ended up discharging herself from hospital early.

Nicole - posted on 05/18/2009

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No offense to any nurses...but I find the nurses awful!!!!! With my first born, they were constantly nagging me with breast feeding. I felt like I was being watched all the time and they are not nice to you about it. If they helped you nicely maybe it would be a lot easier especially if it is your first time as a mom. Then one nurse told me my daughter was gassy because I ate garlic fingers and she was pooping a lot through the night, so when another nurse came on in the morning and asked why she had so many bowel movements I told her it was because of what I ate she told me I was foolish because what I eat doens affect the baby....some smart nurses when they both tell you different things! So with my first I had wished they had just left me alone....and then I had my second baby and they totally forgot about me!!!! After I delivered the baby there was a shift change, I was feeding the baby formula and they gave me one bottle after he was born then they must have forgot about me because I had to go looking for everything. They left me in bed for almost 7 hours until I finally had to call for help to get to use the bathroom after sitting in blood (sorry to be so graphic but that is what happens). I was going to get up and do it on my own but when i tried I just felt weak. So i dont think anyone really has a great experince with nurses...not that they are all bad of course. just some are blunt and have no sympathy or patience! And I dont believe it is a crime or anything to bottle feed if breast feeding is not for you. I tried it the first time and I absolutely hated it and it made me feel so guilty until some close friends told me they did it too and their chidren are fine.

Cara - posted on 05/18/2009

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I had really great nurses, but I found when asking for advice on breast feeding each one had a different theory. So it left me more confused than anything. They kept asking me, a brand new mother, if my son was latched on properly. Well I had no idea! Shouldn't they be able to tell? I finally had one great nurse who showed me little things that really helped. And I had a c-section, my son lost too much weight and was jaundice, so I was in the hospital for 5 days. That's a lot of nurses!

Michelle - posted on 05/18/2009

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Yup i had the very same problem, i had a c-section with my daughter and it was early hours of the morning so my partner and mother were sent home and i was left alone not bein able to move due to the spinal block, i asked one of the nurses for help and she just handed me my baby then walked away. I found my stay in hospital very destressing and if it wasnt for my mum i would of never been able to succesfully breastfeed. The after care in post natal wards is disgusting and i want to have a home birth with my next child as i never want to step foot on that ward again. I wrote a letter of complaint but i never heard anything back.

Mary - posted on 05/18/2009

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YES! I just said forget it and when my mother came back to the hospital she helped me the right way,and she was gentle and did not mind taking the time to show me the right way,and the little notes they asked for feedback,I gave names and titles and said they customer service sucked!!! I also said my mother showed me how to get my baby to latch on and when I asked for helped I was shrugged off and met with inpatient nurses who act like they had better things to do.

Kalie - posted on 05/18/2009

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Wow! I feel for you! I had a few dragons around me while I was in the hospital. I did havea couple who were really nice, friendly and funny. The dragons though....* shiver* Not looking forward to that again!! The older nurses were pushy and wouldn't listen. My family is really big on breastfeeding my aunts and mother, and grandmothers gave me coaching before i had my son. So I had a pretty good idea what I was doing. They tried to make me change postion and do things there way! I was so mad! One nurse had the nerve to say to me, 'well if you don't go to sleep I am going to take your son away from you' NOT THE THING TO SAY to me. Mostly I'm a polite person but that was too far. Another thing that really made me mad: the morning after my son was born. I was laying in bed with him I took off my shirt (I was behind a screen) and laid him naked against my breasts. I heard this was good for breasting as well as bonding and getting to know eachother. The nurse flew in and ripped the sheet back, without so much as a hello. and then scolded me for laying around naked!! Arrrrr!!! They drove me nuts! After that I wouldn't let them pushy me around. It was a long three days and I couldn't even rest because they made me so uncomfortable! Not looking forward to it this time!

Stevie - posted on 05/18/2009

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Quoting Ashley:

I am a nurse myself and found the nurses and lactation consultants at my hospital to be less than helpful. They continued to tell me my baby was hungry even though I continued to wake her to feed her every 3 hours (and I also read in multiple newborn books that babies aren't really hungry until about the 3rd day of life...about when your milk comes in). I found them to be a nuisance because every time they would come into my room they would thrust on the lights, stimulate my baby and she would start screaming, and they would constantly comment that she must be hungry, even though I just fed her. It's a shame that we have those bad experiences, and some nurses can be quite judgmental. I had to just let it roll off my back in the end and decide I know what my baby needs and we would figure out the whole breastfeeding thing on our own. Which we did once we got home and were not bothered by the hospital staff. I can see why some women choose to have a home birth.



oh i know what you mean about the lights with my daughter i had just got her to sleep and she was in my arms and i guess it was time for my vitals and two nurses came in (with my daughter my nurses werent bad but these two made me upset) and they looked at her and said oohh she is soo cute  its time to get your bp and whatnot they didnt turn on all the lights just the really bright ones over my bed and woke her up and that night had been one of the hard ones that i had with her

Ashley - posted on 05/18/2009

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I am a nurse myself and found the nurses and lactation consultants at my hospital to be less than helpful. They continued to tell me my baby was hungry even though I continued to wake her to feed her every 3 hours (and I also read in multiple newborn books that babies aren't really hungry until about the 3rd day of life...about when your milk comes in). I found them to be a nuisance because every time they would come into my room they would thrust on the lights, stimulate my baby and she would start screaming, and they would constantly comment that she must be hungry, even though I just fed her. It's a shame that we have those bad experiences, and some nurses can be quite judgmental. I had to just let it roll off my back in the end and decide I know what my baby needs and we would figure out the whole breastfeeding thing on our own. Which we did once we got home and were not bothered by the hospital staff. I can see why some women choose to have a home birth.

Sarah - posted on 05/18/2009

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thanks for the comments, i know that the majority of nurses and midwives do a very good job, and i was probably one of the unlucky ones! by my 2nd child i'd stopped trying to 'defend' bottle feeding my kids, but the looks and comments you get sometimes are unbelievable!!

Amie - posted on 05/18/2009

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I've never experienced this but one of my best friends did when she had her son. The whole breast is best movement some take too far. I ended up telling off a few nurses as did her hubby because the nurses were being so rude about it all. There is nothing wrong with bottle feeding! Whether you choose to do it or because you can't breast feed. No one should be treated like that. It is appalling that the people who are supposed to be there to help and support would be so mean and rude.

Stevie - posted on 05/18/2009

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i kinda did with my first i had awesome nurses for both me and my daughter but for this last one with my son the nurse that was looking after me just didnt seem to care so i always asked for my sons nurse haha they were so much nicer but the baby nurses were the ones at my hospital who taught me how to breast feed my son which also didnt work out the day we left the hospital he like you refused to latch on haha but when i was at the hospital with my son idk if your hospital will give a message or something but mine does and i wanted one so i hit the call and it took FOREVER for a nurse to get there and when she said what do you want i asked her if i could get a back massage and she paused and then said yeah...but normally we dont give them after 5 i think she said i was like oh well then im sorry to bother you i was told i could get one when ever i wanted but i always talk to the baby nurse haha they are nicer lol

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