Hospitals not supporting breastfeeding

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

I am a breastfeeding mother and am very passionate about breastfeeding every baby. However i am sad that hospitals do not support it as well as they should. I have only two hospital near me one 15 mins away and one 45 mins. I went to the one 45 mins away because they claimed to be very strong on encoraging natural birth and breastfeeding. Whilst i did have a natural birth no drugs (not even gas). I was very upset about the way they treated me when it came to breastfeeding.

My little girl was born a day prem (36.6 weeks) and weight 2.25kg (4 lb 15 oz). She had trouble attaching and i was told she didn't have her suckle reflex. I was a first time mother and after trying to feed her for the first time the nurse told me it wasn't working and she was given formular. Within 5 hours after she was born she was taken to the nursery to be given a drip and antibiotics because i had Group B Streptococcus, she was small and prem. It was all just a precaution, there was nothing wrong with her.

I was told i could not "try" and breastfeed everytime because she was small and tired. This was extremely stressful for me my new baby was taken from me and i was so passionate on breastfeeding and felt like i couldn't. For the first 62 hours of my childs life every 3 hours (routined by the nursery) i would "try" and feed her (every second feed), then give her a bottle of the colosseum that i managed to express and then top her up with formular. Then go back to my room in tears as i tried to express more. I had heaps of colosseum to begin with but due to stress everytime i went to express i would express less and less until one time i tried and nothing come out. I was in tears and depressed for the first 3 days of my daughters life.

It wasn't until the time i expressed nothing that i grew a back bone and told the nurses that I WOULD TRY AND BREASTFEED EVERYTIME IT WAS TIME TO FEED HER!!! Within 12 hours after that she was off the formular and feeding directly from me. I feel that if i didn't get the courage that i wouldn't be breastfeeding today. I am very annoyed that the hospital didn't encourage me to feed her, express with my baby next to me, encourage skin to skin time.

I am very upset with my whole hospital experience (after labour) and was wondering if anyone else had similar problems?


View replies by

Juliea - posted on 10/09/2009




I'm so glad that you stood up for yourself - and at the same time I am so sorry you had to. I don't understand why they make it hard to do what is right. My son was given a bottle in the hospital and I struggled very hard to breastfeed him. At the time I was 17 and didn't know much about it, but was crushed that I had been told I wouldn't be able to. I just believed them and ended up not doing it. Now he's 12 and we have major relationship issues, I attribute a lot of them to the lack of bonding we had in those crucial times. I felt rejected and that I was a failure. I'm glad to have been able to breastfeed my other two children and through comparison I can definitely say the bonding experience is very different.

Jody - posted on 10/09/2009




I find that hospitals do sabbotage the breastfeeding. I was surprised too. They don't want to support breastfeeding too much because they don't want to make women "feel guilty" for feeding formula. But I found the guilt to be helpful at 2:am, and 3:am, and again at 4:am when I was having trouble with the latch! What else keeps you motivated? That screaming child? Not so much.

The nursery nurses so want to give babies formula! Maybe so they stop crying...i don't get it. Normal healthy babies can survive for days with no feedings on their stores of brown fat. (however a jaundiced baby needs food to process!!)

My sister had her baby at a day before 32 weeks...3lbs3oz. Although it would take too many calories for baby to try to latch, my sis would pump milk for her. She fed like this for weeks until baby was ready to latch. Never received a drop of formula!

It's really sad what our hospitals have come to. The lactation nurses are looked upon as nuisances. My hospital had a rule that the shift nurse would need to see you latch once an hour...they would always lie on their report and say we latched even though i told them we were having trouble!

I could go on and on...I'll just end with THANK GOD FOR LACTATION NURSES!!

Elle - posted on 10/08/2009




The hospital I had my daughter at was really good about supporting BFing. I had to have a c-section (I had planned on a natural birth due to personal beliefs and an allergy to the ain medication used in epidurals but after 3 hours of unmedicated pitocin and no progress...Later I learnd she was stuck because she was so big- 10 lbs). My c-section was done under a general anesthetic, I was still asleep for about 4 hrs ( I think) after she was born. Her blood suger got really low, in the 20's, and the nurses helped my hubby syringe feed a few milliliter of formula to my daughter until I was awake enough to feed her. I was in the hospital for 5 days and formula was never brought up again, even when her blood sugar was a little low. Her pediatrician and my midwife also was very supportive of BFing.

On the other hand I know of hospitals that are terrible about BFing. I work in health care and am a military spouce so I have worked in hospitals all across the US. The worst hospital actually lied to mothers about feedings - if a baby had to be in the nursery or the mother just didnt want to room-in and the baby cried the staff would give the baby formula. If the baby was suppost to be breast only then the staff would just lie and say they didnt feed the baby. And the moms where left wondering why baby woulnt eat or had probs latching.

Way to be assertive!! The best way to get good care is to demand it.

Stacy - posted on 10/08/2009




The hospital I was at was pro-breastfeeding and was very encouraging but I had one doc that said I should supplement every other feed until my milk came in just to make sure the baby was getting enough to eat... I said I would consider it and talk to the lactation consultant that came around. Lucky for me I didn't listen to that doc, the lactation consultant said there was no need to supplement and that the doc probably wasn't a strong pro-breastfeeding doc. At the hospital we had no nursery:) and so I got to keep my daughter with me the whole time except for weight checks :) so I did not have to worry about going to the nursery to feed

Kelsey - posted on 10/08/2009




i can honestly say this is the first time i have ever heard of such a thing. hospitals are supposed to be pro bfding. I had some trouble with my daughter while i was in the hospital because she was 38weeks and kept falling asleep while i was feeding her but never did the nurse tell me to feed every other feeding. i tried to breastfeed and if she got sleepy we jut topped her off with a bit of formula so she would sleep with a fuller tummy. Im glad that you finally stood up to the nurse and i hope that evrything went well after that

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