"Disappointing breast feeding support in the community"

About: Nottingham City PCT / District nursing

(as a relative),

After our first son was born my wife and I were very keen to make sure that he was exclusively breastfed for the first six months of his life. Although we had some support in the hospital before we went home after the delivery there was a problem with the latch which nobody picked up on.

Our son lost quite a lot of weight after the first five days and we were disappointed with how this was handled. Firstly, we had to get a lot of support from a friend and pay for a private lactation consultant in order to get the issue with the latch sorted, many people both in the pre-discharge ward and the community midwives had looked at the latch and said it was fine.

The worst part of the experience was a day when our son was being weighed and had gained some weight- but not enough to satisfy the midwife who rang the doctor at the QMC. The doctor told us to give him formula as well as breast milk (10 minutes of breast milk and then 30mls of formula for every feed).

We refused and kept up with the breast milk and our son is now doing very well and gaining lots of weight just with breast milk. We feel that this was totally the wrong advice and did not feel supported with breastfeeding at all. The NHS talks a lot about breast feeding but in practice we had to spend a lot of our own time and money to get the right care for our child.

If the NHS cannot support people well enough with exclusive breastfeeding we feel there should be better signposting to people who can. In addition, having to ignore medical advice about the wellbeing of our baby is extremely worrying and distressing and this could have been handled much better than it was. We suspect that the midwives agreed with us but did not want to say so because of liability issues. My wife and I are both lucky to have the time and resources to have got through these issues (including a friend who is a children's nurse who was very supportive and who agrees that our care was poor) but we are not surprised that breastfeeding rates are so low if other people are treated in this way.

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