"Lack of support breastfeeding"

About: Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Maternity unit Forth Valley Royal Hospital / Neo-natal Intensive Care

(as a parent/guardian),

I gave birth to a baby boy a few months ago. He spent some time in ICU and then in SBCU. In general we were impressed with all staff, particularly the midwives and consultant who delivered our baby boy and staff in ICU.

However I felt that while publicity and information produced by the NHS strongly recommend and encourage breastfeeding this was not reflected in individual staff attitudes. There were times I felt I really had to push to breastfeed my son and there were times I felt I wasn't given a proper chance to breastfeed before staff decided to give my son a bottle. For example when I mentioned I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months I was told 'you will never manage that, I lasted a few weeks'. It felt that personal experience and opinion was put across rather than professional opinion.

In addition there was no consistency among staff when being given breastfeeding advice which was confusing and not particularly helpful. However, I am now exclusively breastfeeding my baby and plan to do so for at least 6 months.

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Response from Gail Bell, Deputy Head of Midwifery, Women and Children, NHS Forth Valley

Dear Chocolate Princess.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us and belated congratulations on the birth of your little boy. I hope you are both well.

What a worrying and emotional time it must have been for you with your wee boy being in neonatal after he was born. Thank you for the positive comments about the staff who cared for you both.

I was however very disappointed to read about the lack of support and consistency of advice you were given around breast feeding. Within the unit we do a lot of work and training with staff especially about giving positive and consistent messages. It is sad to hear that you felt you had to push hard to breast feed your wee boy especially at an already difficult time.

Staffs' personal experiences should play no part in the care and advice you receive. I would be happy to look in to this in more detail if you wish to contact me as below.

It is fantastic to hear that you are still breast feeding despite some of our staff and hope that you will continue to do so for a long time! Your wee boy will be thriving and getting bigger by the day.

Although a busy and tiring time, I am sure you will be enjoying every minute of being a new mum and all the exciting times this holds.

With best wishes to you and your family for the future and congratulations to you on continuing to breast feed!

Kind regards


Email: gailbell@nhs.net

Tel: 01324567484

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