"I had my baby daughter at Queen ..."

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

What I liked

I had my baby daughter at Queen Charlotte's in July 2008, & although the antenatal care I received was absolutely fantastic & couldn't be faulted, the actual birth & stay in hospital after the birth were a nightmare. I gave birth in the high dependancy unit after some problems whilst I was pregnant, but despite being considered high risk, we almost lost our daughter when her heartrate suddenly plummeted after the midwife left us during an inducement (the drip was set too high), something which I found out later should never happen. Thankfully my daughter was born fit and healthy after more intervention. However, we then had problems breastfeeding & that was where the nightmare really began. The 'support' woman was rude, condescending & made me feel like a completely inadequate mother when my daughter wouldn't breastfeed. Her method of encouraging my ventouse-born daughter to breastfeed was to grab the back of her head and force her onto the breast, something which just made the poor baby scream. As a result my little girl would just burst into tears whenever I tried to put her to the breast after that. We went home still trying, unsuccessfully, to breastfeed. I turned to the midwife from QC who visited us at home for help in breastfeeding & advice for bottlefeeding until we could establish breastfeeding, but was told that "I am not allowed to advise you on bottlefeeding. You'll have to wait until you see the health visitor". My daughter was 2 weeks old before I was able to speak to the HV, who was wonderful & finally gave me the support I needed to bottlefeed safely and told me to relax & enjoy being a mum to my new daughter, however she was fed.

Although my daughter came into the world safely & is now a very happy and healthy 9 month old (despite having to be a full time formula baby), my experience at QC, or, more accurately, with the breastfeeding mafia sanctioned by them, has made me vow not to have any more children because I couldn't go through that again.

What could be improved

Proper supervision & advice given when induced - I wasn't told that the 'synthetic' labour would make it almost impossible to get through the experience without an epidural.

Breastfeeding support to be available at night (my little girl was born at 10pm & the fully trained staff were not on duty again until the next morning, so my hungry baby HAD to be given bottles overnight), and the 'support' to be just that - SUPPORT, not lecturing. If the breastfeeding goes wrong, advice should also be given on how to bottlefeed safely - babies should not be put at risk for the breastfeeding agenda.

Story from NHS Choices

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