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NICU refusing to allow my friend to breastfeed! Help!

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
***Update post 44***

My friend just gave birth to a baby boy, 37 weeks, he was only 4 pounds 13 ounces. He is doing fine, never had to be on life support/breathing support. He is just having problems maintaining body temperature and blood sugar levels. He was in the room with her until they took him back to the NICU for an eval and found his temp and sugar levels to be too low. He had nursed one time and his latch was great, he was getting colostrum really well. She said you could see it in the corners of his mouth.

Well, now that he's in NICU, they won't allow her to nurse in there "because other families are in there too" and they won't allow him out long enough to nurse in her room. He is refusing bottles, so they have him on just an IV. She said he latched right on and loved the breast. It really upsets me that they are denying the baby the precious colostrum and milk he needs to grow and get strong. And they are denying her the right to breastfeed HER baby.

What can I do about this situation? Should I call a lawyer? Who would I write to/call at the hospital to change this situation. What are her legal rights in a situation like this? This has to affect more mamas and babies than just my friend.
post #2 of 82
I think you should cross-post this in Lactivism... what a terrible situation.
post #3 of 82
Thread Starter 
I x-posted in Talk Amongst Ourselves just now, is it ok to x-post in more than one category? This is truly an urgent situation. It seems like they are trying to sabotage her nursing relationship.
post #4 of 82
That is crazy! When my DD was in the NICU, they had special privacy screens for moms who wanted privacy while nursing.
post #5 of 82
I agree - cross post to Lactivism.

While figuring out what to do about this (freaking dumb) NICU, what can be done to get your friend a breast pump, and get her pumping to bring her milk in and get breastmilk to her baby?

Run a google search on "kangaroo care" and pass results to your friend, who needs to talk to the doctors in charge of her child's case. Sometimes nurses are great, but sometimes they stick in the mud and doctors can sometimes pry them loose (sometimes it's the other way, but it's worth a shot).

Does your friend have a pediatrician? Did she, by any chance, pick out a breastfeeding friendly doctor while she was pregnant? Can this person be appealed to for assistance?

Is this the only NICU option? Can the baby be transferred to someplace where they aren't so stupid?
post #6 of 82
You should contact the LLL www.lllusa.org or 1-877-452-5324 (you might get a recording, but if you keep trying you'll talk to someone, they're very busy). I read of a similar story once and they helped the mom by contacting the hosp. for her. Poor liitle one : so sad.
post #7 of 82
Who exactly is prohibiting her from nursing? Is it the neonatologists or the nurses? If it's the nurses, absolutely have her contact her baby's doctor and complain. If it's the doctors, ask to speak to a patient advocate. All hospitals have them. Actually, I'd have her contact a patient advocate ASAP, no matter who's fault it is.
post #8 of 82
Thread Starter 
she does have a breastpump but you know how colostrum is, there isn't much of it, and the pump doesn't get much out until your milk actually comes in and you can have a good let-down. They DO allow her to send milk down to the NICU, but she can't get enough colostrum to send down. A few drops will come out and then just get stuck in the parts of the pump, nothing much gets into the bottle. He needs that colostrum. I asked the nurse if she could have a medicine syringe so that she could try and hand express colostrum in to that and then send it to the NICU and they could give it to him just like it was medicine (which of course its BETTER than medicine) and the nurse said "oh that won't work" I asked why the heck not and she couldn't really answer me. She said she would "see what she could do." I'm going back up there tonight and I'm going to assess the situation again and see how things are going.

I may end up giving birth at this same hospital if my UC plans don't pan out, so I really would like to get this policy changed and bring it to the attention of the hospital that breastfeeding is NOT being encouraged and is being sabotaged when it comes to the sick babies who need it the most.
post #9 of 82
Thread Starter 
thank you mamas! great ideas! keep em' coming! I want a total re-haul of this system- so few babies in our community are breastfed and this could be a big reason. Not to mention the "Breastfeeding Support Bags" with Similac packets in them. good lord....
post #10 of 82
Ugh, I don't really have any advice above what has been said by other posters already, but this is my worst nightmare, to have a baby in NICU and them not allowing me to breastfeed.
post #11 of 82
That is the weirdest thing I have ever heard.

When my son was born at 32 weeks, he was in the NICU. I was too sick to walk. The nurses would walk halfway across the hospital to get me and push me back in a wheelchair so that I could nurse ds.

I think she needs to contact the management of the hospital. Please tell her to do it quickly so that he does not get nipple confusion. Please remember, and tell her to tell the hospital that she is PAYING them for a service. She is in charge of her care, not them. She is the boss in the relationship.

I also agree that she should contact LLL and get them to start calling the hospital on her behalf.
post #12 of 82
The law in GA:

provides that the breastfeeding of the baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be.
If the hospital refuses to let her nurse, they are in violation of the law.
post #13 of 82
Keep us updated LoveChild421. Your friend is lucky to have an advocate like you, I would be horrified to go through this alone!!
post #14 of 82
This makes me want to

Please keep us updated.
post #15 of 82
Umm. Hmm. Why is the baby in the NICU again???

My baby was born at 37 weeks and was almost as tiny as your friends'. He was never on life support or anything either, but they kept us for a few days to monitor him. Well, fine. But he stayed with me the WHOLE time (minus a stint when a night nurse tried to kidnap him "so I could sleep"). He didn't need to leave my room. Then later on, they moved us to the pediatric unit where I got to room with him, even though he was being monitored and on IV's then. The whole time they encouraged me to breast feed and/or pump for him. I NEVER let him out of my sight. I can't imagine why that baby is in the NICU if he's otherwise doing fine. He can maintain his body temp best through kangaroo care with mommy (which does not need an NICU) and even if he needs IV's, it can be arranged... Is there a chance they could move him to the pediatric unit where they have equipment for that sort of thing??
post #16 of 82
She needs to call for the patient advocate or the administration to raise hell. In fact, I would be in the NICU taking my baby out of the isolette and just doing it. I would defy them every minute. In fact, I have done this with my own 31 week preemie. I demanded they show me any medical basis for the denial of breastfeeding in our case. They could not - I won!
post #17 of 82
post #18 of 82

My twins were in the NICU (born at 34 weeks) and breastfeeding was very much encouraged. I was too sick (pre-eclampsia) to nurse at first, but I did pump for them.

I sure hope things improve for your friend...
post #19 of 82
my youngest was just like your friends baby - intialy fine but was discovered to be having temp/blood sugar issues and had to stay in NICU for a few days. Our NICU was fantastic, they had screens for pricvacy, had a LC on staff in there and everything. They even had a special warming/examination table that had a cut out so that you could BF with the baby on the table (a little awkward but worked resonably well with my DD) Now I did have to pump for my DD but we came to find out later that she has a cleft pallet so that was likely the root of her feeding issues.
post #20 of 82
Don't know how helpful this is but...
If it was me I would bloody well just go in and breastfeed my child. There is nobody that could stop me. It's not like they could tell me I can't see my own child. And if they did I'd threaten to move hospitals and contact the media.
That colostrom is the best medicine that babe could get right now. And I'd be darned if someone would stop me from giving it to my baby.
I'm not usually into drama, but when it comes to my little people I just DO what's right and deal with the consequences. So if it caused a fuss - so be it. They're the ones in the wrong.
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