A young, first-time Nelson mum says she is “absolutely shocked” after a nurse told her to cover up while breastfeeding her six-week old son in a Nelson Hospital ward.
Nicole Marr, 21, was at the hospital all day visiting her husband, Shannon, who had his appendix out just over a week ago.
She says she was sitting down next to his bed, breast-feeding her son Louie, when a nurse came over and told her she needed to close the partition curtain.
“She said that she wasn’t offended, but the doctors, other staff and patients might be,” says Nicole.
“She went on for at least a minute and was quite nasty – I didn’t know what to say. Then she just pulled the curtain on me.
“As a new mum, it’s so hard. I feel like it’s my right to breast-feed anywhere, and this could have put me off breast-feeding altogether.”
Nicole says it came as a surprise, particularly because other staff at the hospital were “amazing and supportive,” in regards to her breastfeeding there.
“Five minutes later a surgeon went and got me an arm chair so I was more comfy – so obviously this one nurse did find it offensive.”
Nicole has also expressed her frustration on Facebook, saying:
“I am absolutely shocked that the first person to have a negative view about my breast feeding was a hospital nurse. So much for nurses being an advocate for what’s best for humans.”
Nicole has lodged an official complaint with the hospital and has been informed that she will receive a written apology in the mail. She was also told that the nurse would be “talked to”.
A spokesperson from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has confirmed that they have received Nicole’s complaint and are handling it as per their complaints process.
They also say that while they cannot discuss the details of the complaint due to privacy reasons, say that they “want to reassure people that we unequivocally support breastfeeding across our organisation”.