News

Mum denied hospital meals because she didn't breastfeed

THE mother of a sick baby in hospital was told she didn't qualify for meals because she wasn't breastfeeding.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she would complain to the Waikato District Health Board over its policy.

She is staying at Waikato Hospital's paediatric ward in Hamilton while her premature 5-month-old son recovers from a lung infection.

On her first night in the ward, a nurse told the mother of three that she would not receive meals because she did not breastfeed her baby.

"It was the way she worded it. She said, 'Because you're not breastfeeding, you won't get meals here'," the mother said.

The 32-year-old said it hurt because she wanted to breastfeed all three of her children but had struck severe food allergies and reflux, making bottlefeeding with prescription formula the only option.

The woman gets two pieces of bread for toast in the mornings but for lunch and dinner she buys food from the hospital cafeteria or relies on her husband and extended family to bring meals to her.


She said while the discrimination was upsetting, she was more concerned about having to leave her unwell baby to go to the cafeteria.

"For me to go and get some decent food, I have to leave my child.

"I understand they are busy but that's why I think there's more reason to feed us so we don't have to leave our children," the mother said.

On one occasion she left her sleeping son to get a late lunch and came back to find him screaming.

"It's not so easy on a mum who cares about her children to go and get herself some nutrition when you come back to an anxious, upset baby."

Waikato DHB spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill said the DHB provided all parents supporting a sick child in the Waikids wards with breakfast.

"Breastfeeding mothers get one other meal - either lunch or dinner - and pregnant women get an evening meal. We [also] provide meals to parents of oncology children."

Mrs Gill said charge nurse managers could use their discretion case by case for other caregivers.

"For example, if mothers cannot leave their baby or child's side because the baby or child is distressed, then they will provide a meal."

She said the hospital cafeteria was a good opportunity for some parents to have a break while their child was resting. The DHB had no record of a complaint on the policy in the past two years.

Last year, the Southern District Health Board came under fire when a bottlefeeding mother complained of the same situation.

It said its then eight-year-old policy was a well-intentioned effort to support breastfeeding.

But deputy chief nursing and midwifery officer Tina Gilbertson said the policy was flawed and was changed to allow bottlefeeding mothers to receive meals at Dunedin Hospital.

Topics:  breastfeeding, editors picks, health, hospitals, parenting




Bravo on Muster success

Congrats to organisers on a very successful Gympie Muster

Family of five left homeless after fire destroys residence

Fire fighters have rushed to a house fire at Pie Creek.

A house has burned to the ground at Pie Creek

Did I mention how beautiful my wife is?

HUSBAND AND WIFE: Bruce and Tracey Devereaux.

Bruce tries in a very public way to pull his foot out of his mouth.

Latest deals and offers

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Mick Jagger to pay £2.5m to the woman carrying his baby

Mick Jagger is reportedly paying millions to pregnant ballerina

Housing market going strong as units face tougher times

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”