"Communication about breastfeeding."

About: Angliss Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I gave birth at Angliss Hospital and found almost all staff members to be excellent. The midwives were fantastic - before, during and after the birth. Their manner with me and my baby, their knowledge, assistance and encouragement were all above and beyond my expectations. The doctors, anaesthetist and other staff were great too.

I did have one issue, with a paediatric doctor: This doctor saw me the same day I gave birth and told me I should not breastfeed my baby, because of the medication I take. The doctor spoke in a very forceful way and I was taken aback by their manner and the timing of their advice.

Throughout my pregnancy I was under the excellent care of the hospital SMS antenatal midwives, Monique and Helen and obstetrician, Dr Andrea. My medication was discussed and we all agreed that I should continue taking the medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

I did not mind the paediatric doctor advising me to not breastfeed on the medication I take, but their timing was terrible. The doctor could have seen me during an antenatal visit, to discuss concerns about me breastfeeding my baby, while taking medication. Then I could have discussed the issue with my doctors and given it further research. However, the doctor chose to tell me not to breastfeed on the same day I had given birth. Obviously, I was tired, sore and focused on feeding and caring for my baby. It was not the time to question my decision to breastfeed.

If this doctor were to give the same advice to a new mother who wasn’t so sure about her decision, she may be influenced not to breastfeed. Or she may worry that she is harming her child if she chooses to breastfeed her baby. At the very least, she would be upset by the confrontation, as I was. To prevent this happening in future, I think that women who are taking medications should have an antenatal consultation with a paediatric doctor to discuss the use of these medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Moriarty

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby and I hope you are settling well at home and able to cherish every moment with your baby.

I would like to thank you for your very balanced feedback regarding your birth experience, from the antenatal period, through to birth and post natal. I will be sure to provide the managers of the service at Angliss Hospital your positive feedback of the majority of staff but especially for the care and service Monique, Helen and Dr. Andrea provided throughout your care.

I was sorry to hear of your experience with the Paediatrician, especially the timing of the advice regarding breastfeeding. I will provide your feedback to the Eastern Health Director of Paediatrics, firstly so they are aware and also to see if there is another way we can provide this service, such as the suggestion you have made.

Moriarty, I wish you, your baby and family the best of health and happiness and thank you again for taking the time to provide your feedback on Patient Opinion.

Kind regards

David

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