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MAJOR ETHICAL DILEMMA, Please Help :)

post #1 of 84
Thread Starter 

A friend of mine had a baby exactly 10 weeks ago.  The baby was born 7lbs 2ozs via c-section after both a failed induction.  She hired one of my other friends (they previously didnt know each other) to nanny for a few weeks for her while she tied up some loose ends before summer at work (shes a professor at a very prestigous public health school, im not kidding).  Since  my friend has been nannying for them she has witnessed some very sad and disturbing behavior.

 

The mother is giving the baby breastmilk, exclusively from a bottle.  The mother will only allow my friend to feed the baby 2 ozs every 3-4 hours!!  The baby screams all the time.  Before he eats, then keeps sucking and sucking on the empty bottle, but the mother insists that he is fine and doesnt need more.  The just took the baby to the doctor last week, he only weighs 9lbs!  The doctor is so concerned he told them they need to give the baby formula.  

 

The mother also wont touch the baby at all.  She wont even breastfeed or hold the baby at night.  The husband is friends with mine and told mine he does all the nighttime feedings with a bottle.  This week she left for two days for a business trip and literally didnt hug or kiss the baby at all when she left just said "mommys leaving, bye bye."  Waved. And left.  My friend was so put off.

 

The husband is just really weak and thinks because his wife has a doctorate that she must know everything.  But I think she must have post partum depression or something, because she is literally starving her poor baby.

 

My husband and I are so upset we arent sure what to do.  I sent her a text the other day asking her how things were going after she sent me one and she NEVER RESPONDED?!

 

Im at a loss.  My husband thinks its child abuse and is livid.  Im more from the "let people damage their own kids" mentality, but if something happened to this poor baby because she is mentally unstable and her stupid husband just trusts her judgement, I will never forgive  myself... 

 

PLEASE, someone give me some insight!!  We are so concerned and would really like to hear everyones opinions.  Have any of you experienced this with anyone you know??  Is this normal?  Are we being over-concerned?

 

Thanks so much in advance!!!

post #2 of 84

No. You are not being nosey or overly concerned... and this is not normal behavior. You need to get a hold of someone from CPS and let them know what you (or your friend) have witnessed. If they decide that nothing abnormal is going on, then fine. But, it really sounds to me like this mother needs some help. She obviously isn't treating her baby this way out of ignorance....there have to be some underlying issues. Don't let this baby suffer anymore- please tell someone what is going on!

post #3 of 84

Wow! I think I would have your husband talk to her husband about it. It sounds like she a) hasn't bonded with the baby at all and b) doesn't know the first thing about babies. 

 

If I were your friend who is nannying, I would be very inclined to quit, as I couldn't stand by and watch such horrible treatment, but then what happens to the baby when the mother is supposed to be caring for her?

 

How close are you to this person? Could you talk to her about it in person ( I really don't think a text would cut it.)

 

Could be she's grieving her c-section and has post partum bad, and then someone needs to help them. If it were me I would most likely choose the baby over my relationship with the mother (as in if I offended her so badly she broke the friendship, at least I would know I had done my best for that baby.) But I tend to think that someone has to defend the ones that can't defend themselves.

 

Good luck, it sounds like a crappy situation all the way round.

 

post #4 of 84
Thread Starter 

Thanks for responding so fast you guys!

 

So, I would totally sacrifice the friendship.  In a heartbeat.  But the husband is one of my DH's bestfriends.  :/  And hes not too keen on turning them in to cps.  The MIL is visiting and my DH wants to tell her and see what she says, but Im sure my friend is too smart to starve the baby in front of her MIL and that will just buy the baby sometime getting fed more for two weeks.... and then the mom will put the baby into day care (she cannot afford a full time nanny, so my other friends last day was today).  my husband thinks at least the day care will feed the baby or tell the mom its not enough food... but if the mom really has PPD or worse post partum psychosis, then the baby is not much better off... just eating more during the day.  but he still comes home to a mother that doesnt want to touch him or feed him what he needs.

 

i dont think she will talk to me about it.  shes totally closed off emotionally even before the baby.

 

 

post #5 of 84

Well, if the friend is going to continue nannying, I think she should get some formula and feed the baby more.  She can't sit by and watch the baby starve.  If your friend knows who the pediatrician is, maybe she can document what she is seeing and bring it up with him.  He might be willing and able to talk to the mother.

post #6 of 84

I'd make a last ditch effort to talk to the mother and father. Maybe they are just so stunned by depression that they can't think straight, maybe the father senses something is wrong but is second-guessing himself because no one is saying anything. Because surely if something was wrong, someone would say something??? At the very least, you could yourself get a feel for what's going on.

 

Does your friend know who the pediatrician is? He needs to know why this baby isn't gaining and there needs to be a documented history of behavior here from a witness. 

post #7 of 84

Isn't it standard for a Dr. to ask how much a baby is eating and how often? I know some don't generally do this but I'd especially hope that they would in a "failure to thrive" type situation. 

post #8 of 84
Thread Starter 

So my friend (the nanny) had her last day on Friday.  Now the baby will go into day care most of the time.  And my friend the nanny literally just moved to America on a student visa just a few months ago.  And is totally afraid of saying anything to anyone other than me, because she wasnt supposed to be nannying as a student visa doesnt permit "working."  I tried to tell her that just a few weeks, every couple of days, for a few hours isnt working, its more like helping and that the regular police are so not interested in that.  But foreigners can be very afraid!!

 

I talked to my husband again.  We are going to invite them over for dinner this week and see whats going on.  If we see anything odd, we will either say something to them, or just call cps.  i hate to think of that baby crying through the night because his little belly is empty.  its really sad.  i wish she wasnt acting like this!! 

 

I mean, does anyone not feed on demand??  do parents really setting a feeding schedule?  Ive never heard of this.  Where you let the baby cry until its "time" to eat?  Its so counter intuitive.

post #9 of 84

There is no ethical dilemma.  This family needs help.  Presumably, they don't want to be harming their baby, but they are. 

 

You need to contact someone who can intervene.  Not 'if something seems odd' at dinner.  Now.

post #10 of 84

Hi - I agree - there is no dilemma here - that baby clearly needs more food. I would confront both parents together - directly, and compassionately explain that 2 oz of breastmilk every 3-4 hours is clearly inadequate and then take it from there asking questions.  I'd do it in person in as non-threatening an environment as possible.  I'd also document everything that happens.  This is truly serious.  That baby must be starving, and needs an advocate if the father is being passive.  

post #11 of 84
Thread Starter 

Ugh, this is so hard!  I will have my husband call them today.  The fathers parents just got in from out of the country and now the MIL will be caring for the baby while the mom is out of the country for a few days.  so the baby will definitely be getting fed (likely overfed knowing the culture).  So, when the mom gets back we will go over and talk to them.  :(  

post #12 of 84

I think this is one of those cases where day care is better than home. I am pretty sure day care worker will ignore the direction of feeding the baby 2 oz as they really do not like crying babies in day cares.

 

This sounds like something quiet a bit more serious than depression.  You can file an anonymous report with CPS . Bad things happen not because everyone o bad thing but because one person does bad thing while others are silent.  Sometime the best thing is to report a persona and home they get a referral to mental health professional.

post #13 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenimBebek View Post

The MIL is visiting and my DH wants to tell her and see what she says, but Im sure my friend is too smart to starve the baby in front of her MIL and that will just buy the baby sometime getting fed more for two weeks....


OK if your friend will adjust her behavior for her MIL, then it sounds like what she is doing is intentional and outright abusive... rather than just clueless or careless. I'm sorry you're in this situation, but I think you need to report it to someone ASAP. If I calculate this generously (assuming the baby actually gets fed at night and minimum every 3 hours) then the baby is only getting about 16oz of milk at most. I never bottlefed but I'm pretty sure that is barely HALF of what he should be getting. Please don't stand by and watch that baby starve to death, just so your DH can keep his friend... greensad.gif I just want to cry now, that poor baby.

hug.gif
post #14 of 84

Since you're friends, any chance you know her parents and her dh?

 

Is there any chance at all that there was some confusion? Like she told the nanny to only thaw 2oz at a time and not to leave it out for more than 3-4 hours? (Okay, that's a really long shot, but we can live in hope.)

 

Really, I'd start by talking to her, asking about the baby, asking how pumping is going, etc, etc. And be prepared to call CPS.

post #15 of 84
Man this is really getting to me. bawling.gif I just had a mini-breakdown over this. Usually we hear about these things when it's too late... but it's not too late yet...

If you want to PM me info, I wonder if I could report to CPS for you??? Or could your other friend report it if you don't think you can? I've never dealt with CPS but if there is anything I can do I would be more than willing to.

This is going to haunt me....
post #16 of 84

 

 

Quote:
OK if your friend will adjust her behavior for her MIL, then it sounds like what she is doing is intentional and outright abusive

 

I took this to mean that she doesn't agree with everyone telling her to feed the baby more formula but will do so in order to save an argument with her MIL. 

post #17 of 84


 

Hmmm....  I bet this is part of the problem.  She is a smart woman.  Everyone (including herself) assumes that she should know what to do and shouldn't suffer PPD, though hopefully most people know that Princeton-educated Brooke Shields suffered terrible PPD.

 

I have no idea how much my breastfed baby takes but I thought the rule of thumb was about 1oz per hour which means this baby is only getting about half of what he needs.

 

I wouldn't hesitate to call the pediatrician if you know who they go to.  Doctors can only help if they have all the information and they often depend on other people to get it. I used to see the same NP as a friend of mine who was literally starving herself to death.  I discussed the situation with other friends and we had no idea what we could actually do.  i finally said the hell with it and told our mutual NP who was really appreciate because this friend was constantly coming to her with ailments and never admitted her food habits.  

 

Perhaps some advice from a similarly educated professional will help this woman.  I'd probably try that before CPS but the CPS in my state usually waits until children are eating drywall before they intervene.  :( 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenimBebek View Post


 

The husband is just really weak and thinks because his wife has a doctorate that she must know everything.  But I think she must have post partum depression or something, because she is literally starving her poor baby.

post #18 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenimBebek View Post

I mean, does anyone not feed on demand??  do parents really setting a feeding schedule?  Ive never heard of this.  Where you let the baby cry until its "time" to eat?  Its so counter intuitive.


My sister's friend had her NB baby on a feeding schedule and WOULD NOT feed her unless it was time to do so, even if the baby was crying!  They were two very educated people, but I guess were just mis-informed...?  However, once they saw a doctor about her crying all the time, they fortunately listened to him and started feeding her on demand.  What's bothering me the most is the mother is not listening to the advice of others and feeding her baby more.  I understand babies eventually get on a schedule, but isn't it usually set by them, not the parents?

 

Something needs to be done here.  You either need to get info to the husband ASAP and try to convince him his child is literally starving, especially if the mother won't listne to reason.  OR call CPS.  They can at least give her a referral for a mental health professional or have a record in case, GOD FORBID, something happens to the child.  However, I agree with others.  Daycare will be good for this baby.
 

 

post #19 of 84

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenimBebek View Post

I mean, does anyone not feed on demand??  do parents really setting a feeding schedule?  Ive never heard of this.  Where you let the baby cry until its "time" to eat?  Its so counter intuitive.


Actually, yes, it still exists. I teach group fitness classes & on a forum for fitness instructors, someone was talking about scheduling her baby's feedings. I posted a TON of info about how awful this is, but she defended the practice! I wrote, "Surely, you didn't BF? That would be so detrimental to supply." She claims she not only BFed, but baby gained fine eating only every 3 hours. Of course, some babies just ARE fine eating only every 3 hours (the recommendation is BFing every 8-12 hours daily, so that's possible!) - I'm not sure if she left her babies cry until the 3 hour interval or it just happened to work out that way anyway.

 

As for weight, my DD was only 9#9oz at around 12 weeks, exactly 5th percentile. BUT - she was born 6# 4oz, and she has continued to stay on the same curves (15th % height, 5th% weight). *I* was the one paranoid, my pedi repeatedly told me not to worry at the 6 week check and the 12 week check when I went back ONLY because of my paranoia about weight. Of course, she BFs on demand & is held or worn nearly all the time but when I'm asleep.. but anyway, my point being, 9# at 10 weeks old doesn't necessarily equal a starving baby.

 

All that being said, yes, eating only 2 oz at a time, and only every 3-4 hours is awful! And failure to touch a baby, I"m pretty sure, is a standard sign of PPD, so I do think something is very wrong here. I'm inclined to think CPS isn't the way to go, but I agree with the others who say you should do something. Maybe rather than accuse, give a suggestion to the husband, like let him know how not picking up/hugging babies is a PPD sign. Just give him that FACT, so he can realize something isn't normal & try to act.

post #20 of 84

I would talk to them first, and make CPS a LAST RESORT. While I agree this child should be fed more, I have also seen CPS abuse their power under "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. In talking to them, find out more info- make sure the amount is accurate. "Are you really feeding her x amount of milk?", etc. Get the full story. 

 

Also, is this a Babywise mom? It sure sounds a lot like Babywise to me. I have a friend who has her baby on a feeding schedule and it's a time limit. She doesn't nurse past a certain amount of time, even if the baby is still eating. The baby is growing, so that's good, but it still freaks me out. It's so unnatural.

 

Sorry you're in this situation! How awful!

 

But yes, definitely intervene, and also just beware of CPS and what they can do. I don't know if I would advocate them taking the baby away, especially if this mom has depression. The mom needs HELP. She needs a good friend to set her straight, and her depression will only worsen if the baby is taken away. Sorry to be coming from the other side like this, just cautioning, as I have personally seen CPS wrongfully ruin lives rather than help them. Just my two cents.

 

Maybe if you do call them, request that they just make visits? Request a more minor form of intervention before outright taking the child? Like a warning per se? I know if I were in this mom's situation, getting a knock on the door from CPS would FREAK ME OUT and I'd be willing to change almost anything to cooperate with them to prevent getting my baby taken away. But maybe that's just me...

 

However, I do realize this is serious! This is a toughy. And it's difficult to know what the wisest action is. I pray you will get wisdom and find good advice from people on this issue!

 

HUGS!

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