"Child Health check-up"

About: Geraldton Community Health Service

(as the patient),

We had a child health nurse come to our home recently to re-weigh our newborn baby, they were only there to weigh them, nothing else. I was at an appointment so my partner was home with our baby, who was laid in the pram facing the side and the nurse told my partner not to have them in there because they will die from carbon dioxide poisoning.

The nurse weighed my baby and the scales showed 10grams less than the hospital scales a week before. My baby weighed exactly the same amount as they did a few days before with the other health nurse, however, they didn't write in the book, so the nurse told my partner our baby had lost 10grams, but they actually weighed exactly the same. As soon as I got home and walked through the door, the first thing the nurse said was that my baby had lost 10 grams and isn't supposed to lose any weight.

I questioned what the weight was and they told me. I told them, no that's the same as 2 days ago, the nurse told me I was wrong because it wasn't written in the purple book, it's not my fault the other nurse didn't write it in. I told them to check the last nurse's notes which I believe they didn't have! Not only did they not know the weight from the last visit, I feel they obviously knew nothing about our situation either. The nurse immediately questioned how I was feeding my baby and went to feel my breasts to feel my supply without asking! The nurse told me I had to start feeding 2 hourly and that my partner had to do everything around the house because I would just be feeding non-stop.

The nurse also told me to try side feeding in bed so I could sleep while my baby was feeding and that having my partner check on us every 15 mins was fine, even though I believe it would take 1 minute to smother a baby! They told me they'd come back that afternoon, to which I declined because they had completely deflated me and I would rather go back and see the midwives at the hospital.

Not once did they ask how I was coping, if I had enough support or if I needed help with anything else. When I said I wanted to weigh my baby on the same scales at the hospital, they pretty much said it won't make a difference, maybe 5grams if that. When we went back to the hospital after the visit, my baby was 35grams heavier on their scales! I was so upset when this nurse left - if my partner and friend weren't there to support me, I feel I would have questioned my ability to feed my baby and gone and bought formula because I believe I was made to feel like a failure.

After telling them I didn't want them to come back, they left me a voice mail a few days later saying I hadn't been back to the hospital (which I had that very same day!) and that they will be back to reweigh. I didn't call the nurse back because I was too emotional about it and didn't want to be rude unnecessarily. They then showed up unannounced at our home, my partner answered the door and the nurse said they wanted to weigh my baby, my partner told them we had been to the hospital and it was all good; they kept questioning my partner about what my baby weighed etc and eventually had to just cut them off and closed the door.

I'm so disappointed that not only did the nurse not ask me how I was doing as a first-time mother and made me feel extremely deflated and useless, I believe their advice was wrong according to every other professional I spoke to. In my opinion, I really hope this person doesn't visit first-time mums all the time as I'm sure, not everyone has the support system I have to make you feel a bit better and push you to get second opinions.  


Response from Liz Kelly, A/Coordinator Executive Services, WA Country Health Service Midwest 3 weeks ago
Liz Kelly
A/Coordinator Executive Services,
WA Country Health Service Midwest
Submitted on 19/03/2020 at 12:29
Published on Care Opinion at 12:31

picture of Liz Kelly

Dear Ftm8

I was very concerned to read your story on Patient Opinion.

Creating a connection with your Child Health Nurse is invaluable in ensuring that you have the best possible experience in caring for your newborn baby. We always aim to provide support and advice to new mums that are compassionate and professional and I am sincerely sorry that we have caused you stress at this very special time.

We would really like the opportunity to explore the concerns that you have raised. So that we can do this, we would greatly appreciate it if you could contact Karen Street, who is the Director, Population Health on 9956 1962 or at karen.street@health.wa.gov.au. Please also feel free to contact me, Liz Kelly, on 9956 2291 or at liz.kelly@health.wa.gov.au.

WACHS Midwest is genuinely committed to listening and learning from the experiences of our patients and their families and would welcome your call. We can maintain your anonymity if you wish.

I hope you and your new family are going well and that we hear from you soon.



A/Coordinator Executive Services

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