"Maternity ward, care after a c section."

About: Russells Hall Hospital

I had to stay for 2 nights in july 2013 after having my first child by c section. It was an emergency delivery due to him being too large to be born 'back to back' and there being meconium in my waters. I was left pushing for 2 hours after which I was given an epidural and the c section was not done for another hour. Luckily all was well with baby and myself after the operation but my baby was not latching on. I tried several times myself over the next 12 hours and no joy. I was being helped by midwives very briefly, one told me not to worry if the baby doesnt feed in the first 24 hours. The next morning when baby was 15 hours old i asked the midwife to help me as baby has not been fed since birth and she was horrified. I was then seen for 5 minutes by a breastfeeding buddy who was unable to help my baby latch on instead she helped me express to cup feed. I was only able to cup feed throughout the day as nobody had the time to help me. I have since found out that the ward had closed for admissions as it was at full capacity and boy could you tell. Baby got to 24 hours without latching on and i was told he was slightly jaundice and i had to allow them to give him some formula because he was not feeding well enough. I asked for a breastfeeding buddy to come but i was told they were busy. Then the nightshift came and I was still struggling to express and cup feed. I was using my buzzer to ask the midwife to help me and on her second visit she told me i had to learn to do it myself. This comment made me very uspet as i had recieved very little help, thankfully we were discharged the next morning. I carried on trying to breastfeed at home but was unsuccessful, I started to mix feed using bottles successfully and thankfully i now have a healthy 13 month old baby boy. It was not until he was 6 weeks old that i was told he had a 'tongue tie' and that was why he couldnt latch on properly. I so wished that a midwife could have spent a little more time with me and the baby to have this sorted while we were inpatients and i could have breastfed him. I had postnatal depression and i believe that the lack of help to breastfeed played a major role in causing it. I always wanted to breastfeed and it is preached to you all the way through pregnancy, but not only was i unable to have a natural birth but i was also unable to feed him naturally, and it could have been managed better. I understand hospitals are stretched, I work in one. I had every intention of making an official complaint and wish i had at the time so as nobody else is left hopeless like i was, my depression made this difficult for me. I am sure it may have been different at a less busy time but that doesnt change anything for me.

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Response from Russells Hall Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback about the care you received on our Maternity Unit. We are very sorry to hear that you did not feel properly supported following your son’s birth. All midwives and support staff working in our maternity services receive breastfeeding training and are expected to provide feeding support and guidance to all new mums as part of their role. We would like to offer our sincere apologies if, when you asked for help, no one was able to give you the support you needed. Our Maternity Unit is extremely popular with mums-to-be and so sometimes, when the unit is working at close to full capacity, we have to ask neighbouring units to help by taking diverted women who are in labour. This is an extreme measure and fortunately happens very infrequently. Due to the high demand for support with breastfeeding, we have recently recruited a number of additional Maternity Infant Feeding Assistants (or breastfeeding buddies) to make sure our new-mums receive the help they need and so, hopefully, your experience will not be repeated. We have passed your comments on to the ward manager and maternity matron who will highlight the issues you have raised with the team in our Maternity Unit. If you would like to talk to our Specialist Midwife for Infant Feeding, please make contact with Hilary Byrne, Secretary to the Head of Midwifery on (01384) 456111 extension 2026 to arrange a meeting. If you prefer, you can also get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 073 0510.

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