Moms claim Poplar Bluff hospital discriminates against bottle-fe - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Moms claim Poplar Bluff hospital discriminates against bottle-fed babies

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

The experience of a baby's first feeding is a special moment that some Poplar Bluff area moms say was taken away from them.

"[It’s that] make your eyes tear up, love feeling that you get with that child,” Mother-of-five Stephanie Davis said.

It happens once in a lifetime, your newborn child takes his/her first drink of formula, or breast milk. However, some families say at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, that moment too often belongs to a nurse, not the parents. That is, if you chose bottle-feeding over breastfeeding.  

Davis said each time she gave birth at PBRMC, she wasn't given the chance to feed her newborns for the first time and, according to posts on Facebook, other local moms have had the same experience.

However, a hospital spokesperson said it all comes down to the parents’ choice.

Davis and her husband Matt have had four children at PBRMC. They say four times they've missed out on that special experience.

"The only way that you get to feed it is if you breastfeed,” Davis said.

According to the statement from Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, “There is no hospital policy regarding a first bottle-feeding. Our goal has always been to make that decision the mother’s choice unless there is a medical necessity.”

However, Davis said she didn't get a choice. When she asked to feed her babies first, she said she was told “No,” even though her children had no medical problems that would prevent her from feeding them first. Online, other moms have a similar story. Just to name one other, another local mom posted saying nurses gave her newborn baby her first bottle, too.

"That's the first real bonding experience that you have with your baby like that's what everyone talks about you know the skin to skin contact and then when it's ripped away from you and given to somebody that's never going to see them again, it's heart-wrenching,” Davis said.

The hospital spokesperson goes on to say, “If there is a medical necessity, our pediatricians prefer that a member of the nursing staff coordinate the first feeding to ensure blood sugar levels are sufficiently increased, avoiding a hypoglycemic protocol, which could necessitate an IV and frequent heel sticks.”

Davis is pregnant with her fifth child and said this time she's not missing out.

"Once I get to the hospital to have him. I'm supposed to call her to let her know I'm there so that she can tell them that I'm allowed to do it,” Davis said.

Still, she hopes every mom gets the same chance.

"I shouldn't be a special exception, it should be for everyone,” Davis said.

We reached out to other area hospitals where officials also say skin to skin contact between baby and mother is encouraged during that first feeding.

Here is the full statement from Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center:

"At Poplar Bluff Regional, we’re first and foremost focused on providing outstanding care to all of our patients, and that especially applies to mothers and newborns.

"There is no hospital policy regarding a first bottle-feeding; our goal has always been to make that decision the mother’s choice unless there is a medical necessity.

"If there is a medical necessity, our pediatricians prefer that a member of the nursing staff coordinate the first feeding to ensure blood sugar levels are sufficiently increased, avoiding a hypoglycemic protocol, which could necessitate an IV and frequent heel sticks.

"2015 marks our 90th year delivering babies at Poplar Bluff Regional, and we currently have more than 1,400 births every year. We understand what a life-changing time this is for families, and always strive to make the experience the best possible. With that in mind, we’ve recently taken steps to obtain our Baby-Friendly USA designation, with a goal of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby within the first five minutes after delivery.

"These are just a few of the ways we’ve dedicated ourselves to providing the highest level of care possible to our moms and babies, and we always welcome feedback that helps us improve that care."

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