New Mums given DVD instead of Midwife chat…

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New Mums DVD

How did you find your hospital’s post-birth care before you were discharged?  Did you have a nice chat with a friendly midwife who ensured you had a good understanding of the needs of your baby and the possible challenges to come?  Did you find that you left hospital armed with all the information and advice you were going to need?

I had a brilliant birth experience, but the brief stay in hospital after the birth left something to be desired. Granted, I was pretty knackered and I don’t remember every moment and every chat, but even in this state, I can safely say that all my knowledge about what was to come once I had left the hospital and we were our own little family came from the NCT course that I had attended whilst pregnant.  They even discharged me with a notes saying the breastfeeding was “established” when no one had seen me feed and Munchkin and I were back in 24 hours later because she wouldn’t…

Long gone are the times of my parents, where new mothers were kept in for over a week, and taught how to feed, wash, change and generally care for their new baby.  Not that I really fancy spending more time than necessary in a noisy, hot hospital ward, but I would like to think that someone has a duty of care over new babies and their families.

So, when I saw a BBC news story entitled “Leicester hospital’s new mothers DVD attracts NHS interest“, I read it with mixed feelings.  Leicester General Hospital has created a DVD for new parents and apparently other trusts are very interested in it.  It appears from the BBC report, that new mums are given the DVD on a laptop prior to being discharged and that this DVD gives helpful advice and information about how to feed and care for your new baby.  The report then states that parents are also able to ask other questions if they wish.

On one hand this seems like an impersonal way of interacting with new mums.  I have an image of being shattered and bemused, newborn in arms, whilst a midwife sets up a laptop, presses play and says, “I’ll be back in 15 minutes”.  Alone with a small potentially screaming bundle and a laptop spouting information-overload may not be the most useful learning environment!

…and yet if a DVD means that you are given access to information, rather than just packed off home to make space then perhaps it is a good thing.  Perhaps a short DVD that you can watch and then consider the sorts of questions you might like to ask is a useful idea.  Perhaps a DVD which can be paused or fast-forwarded depending on prior knowledge, rather than the brisk chat from a midwife who has a hundred other things she needs to be doing is in fact a good thing.

I am in two minds.  I don’t think that this impersonal should replace the personal, but is the impersonal better than nothing when it comes to ensuring you are well informed about looking after your child?


More than a Mum is available on Kindle

10 thoughts on “New Mums given DVD instead of Midwife chat…

    Lakes Mum said:
    December 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    With my daughter I gave birth by an emergency CS at 11:45PM and was basically left to get on with breastfeeding in the night on my own after a tiring labour! Not surprisingly we had a few problems and she lost 1lb in weight. I was advised to top her up on formula. Turns out she was just finding her natural weight and has stayed skinny ever since!

    My son was a planned CS and arrived at lunchtime. We found it so much easier to get the hang of breastfeeding in daytime and with help on hand!

      morethanamummy responded:
      December 29, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      It is such a lottery, isn’t it? Midwives are overstretched, hospitals understaffed perhaps the DVD does have its merits?

    (Mostly) Yummy Mummy said:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I think I’m with you in that an impersonal DVD really shouldn’t replace the personal one-to-one advice but it is better than nothing. My after care with my babies was virtually non existent. Nobody showed me how to feed, bath or change my baby etc. I was literally left to it. If it hadn’t have been for my antenatal classes then I honestly wouldn’t have had a clue.

      morethanamummy responded:
      December 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

      It’s quite worrying isn’t it – you are handed a delicate little life, but no requirement to find out how to look after it…

    alyce said:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I was in hospital for 5 days after i had bubba! i just remember being packed off home, no information on the care of my baby, no one even showed me hoe to bath him! i asked a couple of times but never got shown. my mum helped my when i got home. I don’t think a dvd is a good idea what if you have questions to ask? but then at least you do get some information! its like your supposed to just know how to look after your baby, most of it does just come to you and somehow you know what to do but some things your not sure about!
    My hospital has been really slagged off in the press this was the only issues i had with it everything else was great.

      morethanamummy responded:
      December 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      It’s good to know that the majority of your experience was positive, unfortunately bad news does travel faster than good, especially in the media. It’s true though, we are just supposed to ‘know’ what to do. In close knit families and communities, we may be lucky enough to have support and advice, but many people don’t have that anymore.

    nursemay said:
    December 30, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Maybe the DVD should be given out at about 35 weeks, then you could watch it in your own time formulate your own questions and when the big time comes you have A: got your questions sorted and B: have the info at hand when you get home if you need any further advise. I don’t feel it should replace the one on one contact in hospital but as an additional bit of info. I was very lucky to have been both a nurse and midwife when i had my babies or I would have been clueless as the post natal care I got was disgusting. Changing hospitals however meant a totally different post natal experience, which is also not fair. There should be a consistent standard of care throughout the NHS and at the moment I really just don’t feel enough is being done to support new mums!

      morethanamummy responded:
      December 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      It’s really interesting to hear that perspective from a midwife. I think you’re right, one thing that is lacking is consistent practice across hospitals. It shouldn’t be luck of the draw, what level of care you get.

    grumpygusty said:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I was 21 when I had my daughter. Not as young as some, I know, but far from experienced when it came to parenting or even child care. My inexperience didn’t matter to my midwife & hospital care team who, as a first time mum, gave me a wealth of support throughout my pregnancy, delivery & postnatally as well.
    This is the kind of support that can never be provided by a DVD. There are children in the world who, sadly are suffering abuse &/or neglect at the hands of parents who have very little idea what to do or how to care for their child. Surely MORE support for them & their chidren throughout pregnancy & after would be a better idea & could even help reduce the numbers of children who are neglected or abused by those people who should be the ones offering them the most love.

      morethanamummy responded:
      December 30, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a long term view taken by those in charge of spending and policy making. As you say, the right early support could well save on later intervention. I’m glad you had such a good experience. Too often we don’t here when things have gone well.

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