Nicola writes – Breastfeeding in Hospital
One would be forgiven for thinking that perfect health would be expected after the birth of a child but this isn’t always to case.
14 weeks after the birth of Megan; I find myself in the back of an ambulance on the way to A&E with breathing difficulties resulting from a Chest Infection which had also aggravated my asthma.
Where did we go from here, well Megan couldn’t travel in the ambulance with me due to safety concerns and as a breastfeeding mother, her presence would be forthcoming to ensure she was well nourished.
I spent the first few hours of my hospital experience in A&E, ensuring that all parties that were attending my care were aware of my nursing status and ensure that suitable medications and procedures were carried out that would support the continuation of breastfeeding. Not always easier said than done when the doctors are more concerned with the immediate needs of their patient – in this case me.
However, My wishes were attended and as the day progressed I was moved to an emergency day care ward for various tests and treatments, we aimed to limit Megan’s exposure to infections etc during this phase of my journey by only on ward for short bursts of time whilst I nursed her. As the day progressed it was becoming clear that I would be admitted for a stay.
This was when the battle began, Megan has never had Formula or even take milk from a bottle, Various Doctors and consultants couldn’t tell me for sure whether Megan would be able to be admitted with me. Infection Risks and procedures can differ widely in the various hospital trusts and although they would do their utmost to accommodate my needs if the ward was currently with any contagious infections then the likelihood of Megan being allowed to stay would be lower.
Thankfully our local hospital has recently been rebuilt and the room/ward ratio is 60% in favour to private rooms. I was admitted to the ward about 13hrs after my arrival. Initially the arrival of myself with Baby in arms surprised the nursing staff and suitable accommodation was quickly arranged with a little re-shuffle of the beds/rooms and a cot was acquired from the maternity ward for Megan.
To support the wishes of the nursing staff who were encouraging me to have a break, I did express a feed for Megan so Daddy could take her home for a few hours so I could rest. It was apparent by day 2 that my body had indeed had a bad turn and recovery was going to take some time. Megan wasn’t too keen on the bottle but after the care staff accepted that we had at least tried, Megan was allowed on the ward with me full time.
She has been the absolute best medicine I could of had in time a like this, she has provided me with purpose, company and the cutest coos and goos you could even need.
The Ward staff have been tremendously supportive male and female alike, if I’m honest she’s become quiet a celebrity on the ward. Shift changes were bringing in new faces to see her and it gave me pleasure as well. In a ward with the general population of over 60’s she’s caused quiet a stir.
I’ve certainly learned a lot from my hospital experience; don’t be scared to push for your right to breastfeed, by rights they can’t deny you the opportunity; just be sure that the care staff understand your reservations about alternative feeding methods etc, repeat things as necessary – don’t always assume they’ve read all your notes, check that they are administering new meds with caution. Not all medication is suitable for breastfeeding mothers, and there will be safe levels they can administer.
If your concerned – online references can help like kellymom, and various Facebook groups can help as well