Breastfeeding Critical Incident Essay

1263 Words Aug 22nd, 2013 6 Pages
This essay explains, reflects and analyses a critical incident which occurred on a postnatal ward during my first clinical placement as a student midwife. The incident relates to breastfeeding practices on the ward and is classed as critical because it triggered an instinctual response in me which made me feel it was not right or helpful. My response and feelings at the time were not grounded in theoretical knowledge but rather an instinctual feeling. As a result of this instinctual feeling, the incident was explored. This exploration opened up a flood gate of information regarding what could be learned from this incident and ways to improve practice. What was learnt from this incident will be discussed with the use of …show more content…
I watched as she anxiously hurried to attach him and Harry soon became frustrated and began to cry. I could not see fault in her technique and had reached the limits of my breastfeeding understanding so enlisted the help of a second midwife. She attempted a hands-on approach, which was unsuccessful. She changed her approach and hand expressed milk from Ellen and feed it to Harry using a syringe with her finger in his mouth. The rationale for this, she explained, was that he was sucking and being rewarded with milk which should train him for breastfeeding. Two hours after this Ellen wished to breastfeed again. The second midwife attempted to assist the frustrated and tired Ellen feed the screaming Harry using a hands-off approach, which was unsuccessful. She then attempted a hands-on approach which was also unsuccessful. The story ends with Ellen behind the nursery curtain attached to a breast pump and crying loudly at her perceived failure. Harry’s dad nursed him while I did as the midwife suggested and syringed expressed breast milk into Harry’s mouth while he sucked my finger. I felt horrible about doing this, for a reason unknown to me, but felt compelled to continue as I had no other solution for Ellen and Harry. The night’s events left me exhausted and confused.
The next day I came onto a morning shift and Ellen’s sixth day on the ward to notice
Ellen attached to a ‘supply-line’. When I questioned the midwife

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