"Better care of parents with newborn"

About: Birmingham Children's Hospital / Hepatology

(as a parent/guardian),

When my son was admitted to a ward at the Birmingham children's hospital at 4 days old because he had lost 12% of his body weight since birth and was borderline for needed treatment for jaundice, the hospital and staff neglected to offer me, as a breastfeeding mother, anything to eat or drink from 11am when we arrived in the a and e after being referred by our community midwife.

Even when we got into our ward at 5pm we still were not offered anything. My husband had to leave me to find a machine for fizzy pop and snacks. As I had had an emergency c section I couldn't lift my son unaided to comfort him or feed him, so I asked if my husband could stay over to care for us both and the ward staff flatly refused.

Staff were more interested in gawping at my son as he was youngest baby they had had on ward in a long time I was told, rather than helping me whilst my husband drove 45 min home and then back to get us some over night things. I was then later told I wasn't producing enough milk to feed my son so they put a NG tube down his nose to top up his feeds. If I had been given food and water I might have been able to produce more milk.

And I later found out that I should have been given the choice to top up with a bottle or syringe. It was a truly horrible experience from start to finish. Apart from one student nurse who was fantastic and one of the ladies who served the dinner the next day who said it was breaking rules to give me a hot dinner as I wasn't technically the patient.

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Response from Janette Vyse, Deputy Head of Nursing, Patient Experience & Participation Lead, Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Hello, I am very sorry to hear that this was your experience but thank you for taking the time to share it with us - I would really welcome the opportunity to discuss it in more detail with you to make sure it does not happen again - my contact details are below.

We would usually provide Mum's who are breast feeding with at least a drink, often a snack and a voucher to obtain discounted food in our restaurant. It would also be our usual practice to offer a syringe or bottle top up if extra feeds are required, I am sorry this did not happen.

In the meantime though please be assured we will use this feedback to improve our care. I will share your comments with a team of staff who are looking at how we 'make food better', this includes a review of providing food for Mum's who are breastfeeding and I have discussed this with our Health Promotion Practitioner, we will share it with our Ward Sisters to remind all staff of the importance of caring for Mum's who are breastfeeding as well as their baby.

I hope that both you and your son are making good progress.

With kind regards,

Janette Vyse

t: 0121 333 8619

e: janette.vyse@bch.nhs.uk

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