"Zero support for breast feeding"

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

What could be improved

I arrived at the hospital at 1:00 am with full contractions lasting 45 seconds 2 minutes apart and the midwife told me to go home! I refused and then they proceeded to complain that they were "very busy" and they couldn't put me on the ward because I was "making too much noise". An hour later, they came back into the room and gave me an internal examination only to discover that I was 8 cm dilated! The baby was born less than 2 hours later.

I had intended to breastfeed but I couldn't get the baby to latch. My partner and I waited in the room for 5 hours. During this time two or three different midwives came and went examining the baby. As each one came in, I asked them about breastfeeding they just said, "keep trying" nobody sat with me and watched me feed him, nobody suggested different positions, nobody seemed to care that he wasn't feeding. After 5 hours (!) I stumbled, still drugged and bleeding into the hallway to beg someone to come and help me, I met a student midwife in the hallway who was surprised that my named midwife - whom I had never actually met - hadn't been in to see me. They said that they would ask them to visit.Two hours later a midwife came in - not to help me but to throw me out. I again asked about the fact that my baby had had nothing to eat for seven hours. They told me to sit in the wheel chair, then they grabbed the baby and with theri claw-like hand roughly shoved his face at my breast. He arched his back turned away and began to cry. She said "just do it like that" and pushed me out of the room. When we got to the ward I again asked the midwives about feeding. They did a blood test and discovered that his blood sugar was dangerously low. So they gave me a bottle of formula. Again, nobody helped me to feed him at all. We never really got the hang of breastfeeding after that and after 3 months I gave up entirely.

Anything else?

During my care at Queen Charlotte, I was seen by 36, yes that's right thirty-six different people. I never saw the same midwife twice and it was pretty clear that none of them bothered to read my notes. I had created a birth plan which I wrote in the book, as instructed, but it was not referred to, read or followed at any point during my care.

It's obvious that the midwives at Queen Charlotte do not prioritise breastfeeding so if you plan to breastfeed it would be better to go to Chelsea and Westminster where, I've heard, they will sit with you and help you until you have the technique down.

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Response from Queen Charlotte's Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust welcomes feedback from service users. We are sorry to read of your experience at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital. If you would like to discuss your concerns further and enable us to investigate your care please contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Service: pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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