Thursday, 7 March 2013

Waking a sleeping baby

Why? Why would you ever intentionally do this - especially to someone else's baby?! 

On every ward round I have ever been on we have started at one end of the ward and worked our way methodically through to the other end, making sure everyone gets seen. This meant when we (which could be a solo doctor or up to 8 people if a consultant-led teaching round) descended on the child's bedside there was no time to wait around or faff when examining them - otherwise the round would be delayed - potentially for hours (10 minutes faff per patient in a 20-bedded ward = 2 hour delay...).

However (and this is the bit I am going to struggle with when I go back to work)... This meant any babies on the ward were also examined in turn - regardless of whether awake, asleep, feeding, you name it - we probably interrupted it...

Now I'll be the first person to stand up and say doctors are hard pressed for time and so cannot afford that 2 hour delay. Equally sometimes patients are unwell and need to be examined regularly in case they are deteriorating.

BUT (and its a big one) having now struggled and struggled and struggled on occasion to settle Doof to sleep... I would lose my mind if someone woke my baby up to do something that could have waited half an hour. Indeed I will be forever grateful to the nurses who, when Doof was admitted to hospital at 4 weeks of age, would delay his examinations until he was awake - thank you!!

I never before appreciated:
1) how important baby's sleep time is to mums
2) how cranky overtired babies are
3) how long it can take to get even a-not-overtired baby to sleep

So massive apologies to the mothers of any babies I have previously woken unnecessarily... Future ward rounds will be very different!

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