"Provision of baby milk for new borns"

About: Royal Preston Hospital

Our baby daughter was born recently and the surgery (c-sec) and initial care were great. After two days I was informed that the bottled milk my daughter was receiving was not complementary and I was supposed to provide it while my wife continued to receive hospital dinners. This seemed a little odd as I considered our baby a patient as well but ok. My wife told me to bring a container of powdered milk for subsequent feeds. No one told us this was unacceptable so I did as asked. I was then rung at 2am that morning by my tearful wife saying our hungry daughter would not accept breast milk, the staff refused to provide any more bottled milk as it was only for emergencies (like what?), they would not allow my wife to boil water in a kettle as they did not have one nor could they allow her to use one if they did and would not let her use hot water from the tea boiler as it was not sterilised. I have subsequently been told by my neighbour, a retired district nurse of vast experience who was incredulous at this incident, that a baby will accept powdered milk made with cold water if hungry enough. My wife was not told this. I was referred to ASDA to buy the requisite milk which I did (50 bottles) so no one else would find themselves in this situation in the near future. I also bought 2 kettles for the staff so that they could make up powdered milk for anyone in the future. The following morning we were told that the milk I had bought could not be stored so we had to take it away (sorry guys I tried) and the kettles were not PAT tested even fresh out of the box so could not be used. I mentioned this to a student midwife in the morning but was told that there were signs 'all over the place' (their words) saying partners had to provide bottled milk after the first few feeds. Later when they had gone I checked in the ward, along the corridor and in the dayroom and could not see any. Not a single one. I believe that when a baby has been brought to the ward to recover with the mother that the father should be told - these first few bottles from the NHS will cover the feeds for about 24hrs. After that you must provide your own and do not bother with powdered formula because we cannot let you use it . This should be done by the midwife otherwise he will remain in a state of ignorance of this policy and this situation will occur again and again where a distraught mother is using words down the phone like 'starve' to an increasingly fraught father who thought his baby was safe in the care of angels, but who then quote rules and regulations very late in the day, mostly through no fault of their own. Far from being very grateful as I should have been I left the hospital next day with my daughter seriously unimpressed.

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Response from Royal Preston Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to tell us of your experience. We were extremely sorry to hear of the issues you raised and for the distress and anxiety caused as a result. Your comments have been forwarded to the Head of Midwifery to ensure that they are shared with staff in order to enhance the communication about these issues with prospective and new parents.

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