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Should grans volunteer in maternity wards?

(26 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 08-Nov-12 15:57:07

Sky News are interested in us going on television on Saturday to talk about an NHS scheme that's been piloted in Newport and Hull in understaffed maternity wards.

Grans and experienced mums are being called on to go in and help teach new mothers how to breastfeed, change nappies etc.

Good idea? Community rallying round, as in old days? Do midwives want to do this stuff anyway and are there enough of them? Lovely bonding thing? Or sign of NHS in trouble?

JessM Thu 08-Nov-12 16:14:15

Are the mums in hospital long enough?

Gally Thu 08-Nov-12 16:22:25

Good idea but they would all have to be police checked about 100x - have they thought about the cost that would incur? I loved being with my daughter when she gave birth and wouldn't mind helping out mums who have no one to advise them but it would have to be regulated quite strictly; I have visions of gaggles of little old Giles cartoon-type grannies descending on the maternity wards of the country grin. The NHS already rely on many volunteers in hospitals so this would just be a step further;.

annodomini Thu 08-Nov-12 16:29:45

The NCT trains breastfeeding counsellors.

hummingbird Thu 08-Nov-12 16:41:02

I have mixed feelings about this. Undoubtedly, there are not enough midwives, and yes, they should be available for the important labour ward work. But the only women who are in hospital for any length of time these days are those with significant health issues, or with poorly babies: shouldn't midwives be looking after them, too?

It would be hard for experienced grannies to avoid handing on the wisdom of their experience, while changing the flower- water, and of course, this is not always the best thing to do. I can foresee expensive training, mentoring etc developing from this.

I can see the value of having additional 'pairs of hands' on the wards, but can't help viewing it as a cynical way of saving money. Perhaps new mothers should be allowed to have their own relatives (particularly their mums if possible) with them unreservedly during their stay?

JessM Thu 08-Nov-12 16:49:44

I can imagine that maternity wards would have a long list of rules, "proper" way to give breastfeeding advice, etc. hmm
Breastfeeding counselling in the NCT is quite a detailed training. When I was in the NCT they mainly used to be mums who had fed recently - but, given the fact their families were young, they did not have a lot of spare time. Maybe grans are a better group of people for the NCT to train up?
Mum's certainly need the help... I remember my friend when she gave birth 1st time, they showed her how to get the baby latched on, but nobody showed her how to get it latched off, or made sure she did not feed too long, and she ended up with bleeding nipples in 2 days.

Grannylin Thu 08-Nov-12 16:53:19

I feel this is a 'papering over the cracks' exercise.It would make more sense to increase the funding to train more volunteers involved with, for example, the NCT and Homestart, rather than wasting money training more mentors, supervisors, co-ordinators, evaluators, trustees etc etc.

Nelliemoser Thu 08-Nov-12 16:54:38

Its a ploy to further reduce the number of hospital staff. Besides its 32+ years since I finished breast feeding DD. Ideas have changed.

We used to change sides half way through. After a couple of weeks DD rang me in tears, with euphoria over and exhaustion setting in, to say she was worried that DGS wasn't getting the richer hind milk.

I told her that she and her brother did ok on breast milk and we didn't even know about hind milk!

They barely spend any time in hospital. DD with first baby was discharged on a Friday evening after 24hrs. She was only in that long in as they had to help DGS out with forceps and he was a wee bit shocked. There was a desperate shortage of beds.

I do worry for the the very young and vulnerable mothers being sent out early where there might be very little support or barely adequate home conditions.

nanapug Thu 08-Nov-12 16:55:55

The trouble is that they would need training. As we see frequently on here there are so many opinions about what is the right way to do things and I can envisage a poor Mum getting conflicting advice. I have been very careful to update myself regarding modern techniques even though I was a midwife and paediatric nurse in a former life, but I would be worried that there would be many grans who would think their way was best.

JessM Thu 08-Nov-12 17:49:57

Yes quite nanapug and grannylin

JessM Thu 08-Nov-12 18:16:56

We are going to be busy aren't we. Diagnosing Dementia on Monday, maternity ward on Tuesday...

crimson Thu 08-Nov-12 18:24:19

Does anyone watch 'Getting On'? I'm imagining it with a group of grannies 'helping out' smile.....a sort of Carry On Getting On'....

annodomini Thu 08-Nov-12 18:49:38

It's all very well asking our generation to do this, but I think the young mums in the maternity ward would be more inclined to listen to their own generation - young mothers who are enthusiastic about breast feeding. The biggest drawback is that new mums nowadays have such short stays in the maternity ward - too short to get the hang of breastfeeding if they are insecure about it.

Nanadog Thu 08-Nov-12 19:01:47

Yes, it would be better if it was a keen young mother who had breast fed successfully herself and could perhaps team up with first time breast feeders when they leave hospital. Sort of booby buddies grin

grannyactivist Thu 08-Nov-12 22:38:26

"to talk about an NHS scheme that's been piloted in Newport and Hull in understaffed maternity wards"
Says it all really!

kittylester Fri 09-Nov-12 05:38:45

A granny might not be so dogmatic about breastfeeding!

glammanana Fri 09-Nov-12 12:00:26

I personally would not like to do this any volunteers would be finding young inexperienced mums they did not know or have any rapour with difficult to bond with I would think,I do find Nanadogs idea much better thought out as the mums would be in their own homes and be much more relaxed with their bodies and the volunteer could see with their own eyes where any help may be needed.

FlicketyB Fri 09-Nov-12 17:34:38

The last thing most new mothers want is their mother or mother-in-law telling them how to look after their baby. Will they really want someone elses mother ot mother in law doing it instead?

angiebaby Fri 09-Nov-12 17:54:28

i have been a private maternity nurse going up and down the country living in teaching young mums how to look after their babies,people who can afford a private nurse warmly welcome them, and benefit too, when i leave i have a confident mum who can look after and care for their little tot. i am of the old school and it works everytime..yes all this twaddle about hind milk , and the for milk,,,,,i have seen these poor new mums in tears....but when i have sat them down and said now look,,,,your mum knew nothing of all this and look at you ,,,you are ok,,,listen to me. all the breastfeeding mums got on fine...but nurses never told them how long to breasrfeed for,,,babies fall asleep on the breast,,,mums are tired enough,,,,take your baby to bed and make yourself comfy...and feed,,,,,,,oh no no.....its easy to fall asleep...dont do it,,,,,get out of bed and feed your little one on a chair and then dont let it fall asleep when its done go back to bed, women are brain washed at the hospital to breast feed,,,,its personel choice,,,,do they tell you about cracked nipples sore nipples,,,mastitus,,,inflamed breasts, engorged breast,,,bleeding nipples,,,,,,oh the joys of breast feeding, another thing,,,,i often had young midwifes who would come and give advice to the mums,,,they never had a baby of their own,,,,how can you give advice, lay baby on its back,,,escuse me,,,us oldies never did that,,,,,what if nipper chokes and the vomit lies in the back of the throat,,,,,ohhhhhh no, and dont swaddle...oh for goodness sake, if swaddling is good enough for indians,,,eskimos,,and jesus,,its good enough for babies, not too tight and in cotton so they wont get hot,,there are so many tips us grans can give young mums,,,,,all my clients listened to me and i have been back for their second even third child,,,i wouldnt work in a hospital on a ward,,,i would feel like they were watching me,,,,anyway these young nurses think they know it all...they may know it all in the book,,,,but its bedside care a lot of them need to put into practise, its the exsperience us grans have but some times its not needed.the health aurthority should not have to enroll voluntry workers.

titch02 Fri 09-Nov-12 19:40:14

It won't be long now before the power's that be will be asking us to empty bin's and clean the street's. All voluntary of course.
Where is this country going. My daughter was in hospital for 6hrs and then sent home. It was her first baby.
My hubby went to the audio clinic today and he was told that 1st of October it was taken over by out side companies (I.E) specsavers was one of them, only a matter of time before it is all privatised now one informed the public. Get saving now for future health.shock

FlicketyB Fri 09-Nov-12 20:59:40

After a bad road accident and three major operations in 10 days DD was discharged from hospital within hours of coming out of theatre after the third op. She was still seriously ill and it was the two OAPs who are her parents who had to nurse her 24/7 for at least two weeks after, plus take her to hospital or doctor daily for some kind of necessary aftercare. Neither of us has any medical qualifications yet we were expected care for someone with a brand new very large skin graft plus the wound where the skin graft was taken. A very high level of hygiene was essential and our daughter was on very high doses of painkillers and antibiotics. It is a miracle that she didnt have to be admitted back to hospital with complications arising from our loving but inexpert care.

This government conveniently forgets that the days of informal and community care from family, friends and neighbours also had a much higher mortality at all ages from birth to old age. Is this their answer to the pension problem? Let us kill each other off with old wives tales and inexpert care before we are old enough to qualify for a pension?

Jendurham Sat 10-Nov-12 09:01:35

My mother was a nurse. I find I can still do hospital bed corners and we all wash our hands better than lots of nurses in hospital wards that I've seen.
When my mother was in Hull Royal hospital in 2006 she got MRSA. We saw nurses dealing with her, then going straight to other patients without washing their hands. It was obvious how she got it.

dorsetpennt Sat 10-Nov-12 10:08:27

As JessM says mums aren't in hospital long enough - my DIL left within hours for both births. Even girls who have had sections leave within a few days. So the only patients left are those who are in before the birth for high blood pressure etc, those with premmie babies and ladies with sections. All of whom need specialised care - there'd be no mass cuddling of babies there are very strict rules for that too.
I enjoyed my stay in hospital when I had my children - 2 weeks the first time, ten days the second and eight for my daughter. As you could see it was gradually coming down. During that time you bonded with your baby, were taught how to care for him/her and mainly rested. When my DIL was discharged she had no idea how to bath her baby and waited until I was able to come up 2 days after the birth to show them. She did breast feed successfully but that was due to her determination as she'd been given little help with that. I'm glad I had mine when I did

titch02 Sat 10-Nov-12 19:14:58

How I agree with you, my first was born in 1962 like you we where kept in for 14dys and by the time we got home we where bonded with our babies. (oh for them days) feel so sorry for today's mother's and also for the young of today. How lucky we where.
I had a complete knee replacement 12wks ago and the only pain relief we where given was paracetomol and codiene. DISGRACFUL all to save money.

goldengirl Sun 11-Nov-12 14:51:56

Wasn't there a thread recently suggesting that Government wanted older people to do voluntary work to 'earn' their pension? Perhaps they think they've found the answer - but they can count me out NOW! I think it's a recipe for disaster and once again it doesn't get to the root of the problem.