The Hospital Experience

  • As a nurse in the neonatal intensive care nursery, I am curious as to everyone's hospital experience when it came to feeding your child. If you wanted to breast feed, did you feel like you were supported and encouraged with your decision? If you wanted to formula feed, did you feel the same? What things were helpful and what things were not?
  • The hospital I gave birth in was very supportive of breastfeeding. I had intended on breastfeeding, so I was very thankful for the support. I was visited by a breastfeeding consultant before I left the hospital and I was given the phone number of another consultant to reach if I had any questions once I was home, which I did take advantage of.

  • I felt very supported in all my decisions. My twins were preemies and they stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks. I was very overwhelmed with having twins and everything else that comes along with having preemies. I did not feel comfortable dealing with breastfeeding and I felt totally supported in learning to bottle feed preemies. When my daughter was born, I did want to breastfeed her and received lots of education and assistance immediately after she was born. It was definitely helpful for me to not feel judged or have to listen to a lecture either time.

  • I was not supported or offered helpful advice/information.

    I was unable to see a hospital lactation consultant to help me learn how to breastfeed properly.  I was also not supported or assisted by the nurses.  For instance, the nurses once returned my baby with a pacifier even though I made it clear that I wanted my baby to receive NO artificial nipples. I looked at the nurse and asked, "Will you please take that thing out of my room?"  Of course I was referring to the pacifier.

    When I got home I realized by looking at the feeding log that I had not fed DD frequently enough and that I was till not having much luck getting her latched on.  I called the hospital for help and they basically told me that I was on my own.

    When I went to the the pediatrician she did not help me learn how to achieve a propler latch.  They did, however, send us home with a case of formula (which we gave away to another family).

    With the help of some videos  Dr. Jack Newman's website, my local La Leche League and a nonprofit (The Breastefeeding Center of Greater Washington, DC) I finally learned how to nurse our DD.  She's never had a drop of formula!!!

  • My hospital experience was terrible with my first two children. Even though I had provided copies of my birth plan to the Drs. and Nurses, which detailed how I intended to breastfeed exclusively and did not want my baby to be offered formula or a bottle or a pacifier, they still forced them on me. They said things like my milk should have come in already or didn't come in fast enough, and my baby will get jaundice if I don't bottle feed.

    I wasn't having any trouble breast feeding and found out afterwards that everything with my milk was normal. I feel like they were just trying to run up the hospital bill with extra useless equipment and they were not at all helpful with my breastfeeding experience.

    This experience ruined breastfeeding with my second child especially. I had an extremely hard time getting him to breastfeed after the hospital bottle experience. It still makes me want to cry just thinking about it. What should have been a beautiful bonding experience was ruined by thoughtless and uncaring hospital staff.

    I can only hope that my experience this time around will be better and that the nursing staff is better educated.

  • Wow - some NOT so good experiences. That is just sad to hear. I commend you both for sticking with your decision to feed as you saw fit and not give up.  I LOVE Le Leche League - they are a fabulous resource and great to call for advice and encouragement.

  • I feel like i had a pretty good experience all things considered.   A lot of complications leading up to my c-section delivery, and due to the c-section and magnesium sulfate it definitely made for an ever harder start to nursing.  But i found  many of the nurses extremely helpful.  I ask a lot of questions by nature, so it helped getting numerous tips from all sorts of people, some tips i attempted, others didn't work so much for me.  I did see a lactation consultant who was very supportive and was able to offer many media forms to help assist me, as well as calling me once i went home. And once again going in a few weeks after my son was born for some follow up help as he wasn't gaining weight like he should.  One thing i found extremely helpful from that visit was the BREAST-FRIEND feeding pillow, the first time i saw it i giggled, and thought that's weird, and was already sold on the boppy by numerous friends. (They had it available to use at the hospital, but i never used it, as i had had my mom bring my boppy from home). I am so grateful my mom purchased it for me after the consultation, it truly was one of the most helpful things in nursing my son! I think i would have given up had i not had that.  Prior to leaving the hospital when my sons weight dropped more than 10%  his pediatrician said i should supplement after nursing w/ formula.  I was not too thrilled about that, but felt doctor new best.  After going forward w/ the formula the last night i was there i did feel like some of the nurses were not at all helpful w/ it, and lost a lot of encouragement to continue breastfeeding -Not by all, but some, especially the night staff.  As much as i tried to continue to breastfeed i do feel that introducing the formula set me back further in boosting my supply and catching up never really happened.  So my son has continued to be supplemented and after introducing foods and as he's finally getting bigger i've decided to only nurse once a day and formula the rest. 

    Overall I would say all in all i was blessed to have a pretty wonderful staff.

  • I had a good experience at the hospital and had several nurses help me with breastfeeding and overall baby care. When you deliver your baby, it is important to speak up and ask nurses to help you. Many moms do not voice their concerns, their fears, or their difficulties and therefore, don't get the help in the hospital they deserve. While some nurses are great at reading between the lines and offering their help, other nurses may be busy, overworked, or unsure if you really need help. Ask the hospital to see their lactation consultant if you are having trouble! Good luck!

  • I want to echo what MommyRN4 had to say. I think it's really important to let your needs known to your nurses!!! This is important in the hospital as well as at your babies pediatricians office. Even though nurses are trained to know what your needs are they may think all is going well for you and you don't need any help if you don't ask. As a nurse I always appreciate it when parents let me know how i can help them!! -Jessica
  • Ditto to the last two comments. Good point!

  • My wife and I generally felt supported by our nurses who were wonderful. The greater community is very judgmental when it comes to nursing. My wife breast fed all of our kids, but I think people's judgments come out more loudly about breast feeding when you are actually doing it. Some of the comments by nurses and other parents show a hostility to parents who do not nurse. I found it to be disturbing and in bad taste.

  • I had a hard time getting my son to latch on, and so the hospital set up a meeting with the lactation specialist who let me use a pump an take home the parts so I could use it manually. They even allowed me to supplement with formula.

  • my son was born at 26 weeks and was in the nicu for 5.5 months. I have to say there is a complete break between the hospital staff on feeding. our son had nec, gi probs and didn't tolerate feeds until 12 weeks after birth. Pumping for 3 months in that setting was horrible. It was a children's hospital and not a birthing hospital and the most unfriendly, discouraging place  I have ever experienced. We had a great lactation consultant who was helpful with pumping, but when things got tough and it was getting to be too much, there was a lot of pressure to keep at it from her. On the other hand, the docs were almost anti bf, so I felt completely confused.  I finally got so sick of every one telling me what I "should" be doing and I decided to bf 2 x a day and do neosure the rest. 

    I had a completely different experience with my first daughter at our birthing hospital. I wanted to bf, but my milk wasn't coming in and she was so hungry. The nurses offered to give her formula and help me keep trying to bf. It worked out great. I never felt any pressure either way. 


  • My hospital experience was wonderful. The drs and nurses completely respected my wishes. I too am breast feeding our pediatrician really pushes moms to stick with it. and offers as much help as they can. before we left i saw a lactation consultant and nutrition consultant.