NICU refusing to allow my friend to breastfeed! Help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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***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.

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#2 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:20 PM
 
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I think you should cross-post this in Lactivism... what a terrible situation.
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#3 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#4 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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That is crazy! When my DD was in the NICU, they had special privacy screens for moms who wanted privacy while nursing.

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#5 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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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?
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#6 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#9 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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....

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#10 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:42 PM
 
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The law in GA:

Quote:
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.
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#13 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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Keep us updated LoveChild421. Your friend is lucky to have an advocate like you, I would be horrified to go through this alone!!

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#14 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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This makes me want to

Please keep us updated.
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#15 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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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??
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#16 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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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!
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#17 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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wow!!!!!

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#18 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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WOW!

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...
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#19 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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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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#21 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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That is awful and makes me really mad. She should just BF her baby and tell them to shove it. Breastmilk can be the difference between going home in 3 weeks and going home in 6 weeks. Preemies NEED breastmilk. I am really outraged at this story, I hope your friend writes a letter to the head of the NICU and the local health department at the very least. Does this hospital have a lactation consultant? Can she talk to her? Tell her not to take "no" for an answer!

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#22 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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I'd call everyone mentioned on this thread and then some. La Leche League has a legal department. I'd call tv reporters, congresspeople, patient advocacy dept...I'd raise (UAV.)

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#23 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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She needs to speak to her patient advocate. In the mean time, she should probably rent a hospital grade pump. Mine was $45 dollars a month, they just work so much better than anything you can buy in store.
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#24 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveChild421 View Post
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.
edited...see post 27 below

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#25 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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She needs to be forceful. As a mother it is her right to breastfeed her son, given he's healthy enough. She can ask for a screen to give the other families privacy from her but basically, they can shut their eyes. No way can a NICU keep her from bfing because of other families. I'd be talking with the director of the NICU or the charge nurse ASAP if I were in her situation.
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#26 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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NAKED SKIN TO SKIN NURSING is what this baby needs! It will help the body temp and the blood sugar. Honestly I would give the hospital 2 more hrs to figure it out (while you argue with them) and then I would have a lawyer in there forcing them to comply.
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#27 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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I posted a link to your thread in lactivism, here.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=759864

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#28 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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Very briefly -- to help immediately with protecting mom's milk supply and getting her colostrum into her baby:

1) She can hand-express drops of colostrum onto a spoon, so it doesn't all stick to pump tubing etc.

2) She should then pump with a hospital-grade double-electric pump, for about 10-15 minutes per session, every 2-3 hours right around the clock.

Get her in touch with lactation support at the hospital -- get her in touch with her own doctor and with whatever doctor is responsible for her baby -- get her in touch with local LLL Leaders. Right now.

There are good online sources of info on kangaroo care, including plenty of solid medical evidence that it works better than an isolette to stabilize baby's body temp. Print this stuff up and take it to her at the hospital (or fax it or e-mail it -- whatever it takes to get it into her hands.)

Best of luck to both momma and nursling. I hope NICU comes to its senses and does something just a bit more evidence-based very soon.
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#29 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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And here are two websites with lots of information about breastfeeding.
http://www.kellymom.com
http://www.lalecheleague.org

You can look up pumping at kellymom, legal issues at LLL, "hand expression" probably at both until she can get a pump, etc.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#30 of 82 Old 09-28-2007, 04:56 PM
 
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Also see if the hospital has IBCLCs on staff - one should be able to help advocate for her. Sometimes that can help as it is a coworker of the NICU staff rather than an outisder (: I know, but it can help to know the system).

I had a friend who was fighting hard to nurse her twins and they wouldn't connect her with the LCs on staff. I ended up calling the hospital directly, asking for an LC, telling her the situation and getting her direct line for friend to call (LC, doing her job, didn't want to just show up in case I was a crank). Friend called the LC and got the support she needed.

Help her take names so she can write a formal complaint, even if it's weeks after they're discharged. Names, dates and times add alot of weight to a complaint.
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