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?