"Poor breastfeeding support"

About: Royal Alexandra Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

After having my daughter at the Royal Alexandra Hospital Paisley in April 2011, I received very poor breastfeeding support & was encouraged to formula feed as they were short staffed & unable to support me. I declined to formula feed & have now been successfully breast feeding for 11 months.

My daughter had successfully breastfed straight after birth & again a few hours later. Throughout the she was very sleepy & would not wake long enough to feed. I hand expressed a few mls which the midwives adminstered with a syringe.

Later that night my daughter awoke ready to feed. I struggled to latch her on & asked the midwives for support, after 2 hours with my daughter & myself becoming more & more distressed a midwife came & after a few rushed minutes of advice I tried & was still unsuccessful, she then offered to formula feed her.

I declined as I knew my daughter could latch. We just need more support & all the guidelines in place from the Scottish Government & WHO are that breast is best. I had also been to classes & been advised bottle feeding before 6 weeks can cause confusion & make breast feeding more difficult.

I explained this to her & her rather rude response was 'well what are you going to do when you can't get her to feed?' Not one offer of support! I explained again that I knew my daughter could feed so that was not an issue. Half an hour later another midwife came along and spent approx 4 minutes helping me position my baby who then breast fed & has continued to feed successfully.

That was all I needed, I did not need someone pressuring me to formula feed as this was the easy option for an understaffed department. (I had heard them discussing that someone had called in sick so they would be understaffed that night). It makes me wonder if this is the reason why so few people are successful or even try to breastfeed.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to let us know about your experience of the breast feeding support provided to you following the birth of your baby daughter in April 2011.

I was very sorry to read that you initially did not get the support you needed, but on a more positive note read that another midwife did support you and that you have been successfully breastfeeding since then.

As a Board we have a number of strategies in place to encourage all mothers to take up breastfeeding, as we recognise how important this is for mother and baby. I am sorry your experience did not match our aspirations for the support that should be on hand all of the time.


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