A breastfeeding Scots mum has hit out after she claims she had to refuse hospital treatment because she couldn't have her baby with her due to Covid-19 baby separation 'rules'.

Emma O’Donnell’s doctor pleaded with her to go to the Queen Elizabeth hospital last month after her mastitis infection showed signs of sepsis.

But despite the 33-year-old’s sickness, fever, dizzy spells, and 120mph heart rate, she refused to be admitted over night for monitoring because it meant not being able to feed her seven month old baby Harry.

The Glasgow mum claims the Queen Elizabeth hospital told her GP in advance that not only could she not have the baby stay with her, but that she couldn't even bring him on to hospital grounds over virus fears.

This comes despite the fact that there are no official national guidelines forbidding mums in hospital to separate from babies due to Covid, but instead depends on individual hospital rulings on restrictions.

Emma has now slammed the unclear 'rules' that force some mothers to leave distressed babies behind 'for no reason'.

She believes it could make parents ignore major health warnings and gamble with their lives.

Emma said: “My GP was really worried about my symptoms and wanted me to go to hospital to get checked. 

"But I was told because of Covid-19 that if a mother needs to go to the hospital, she cannot take her infant.

“My breastfeeding supplies everything that Harry needs so I couldn't just abandon him.

Emma O’Donnell’s doctor pleaded with her to go to the Queen Elizabeth hospital
Emma O’Donnell’s doctor pleaded with her to go to the Queen Elizabeth hospital

"My doctor explained my situation to the hospital but was told not only could I not have him stay with me I couldn't even bring him on the hospital site.

“Since my GP  was really concerned, I went and let them do tests but refused to stay over like they wanted because Harry was so distressed at home, so I ended up discharging myself.

"Doctors told me I should stay but I couldn't leave my son like that."

Mum-of-three Emma went on to explain that while she recovered from her infection after a course of antibiotics, but other feeding mothers who may be in need of more urgent medical attention should not feel forced to separate from their babies and is calling for hospitals to review their restrictions.

She said: “Luckily antibiotics worked and I was okay, but how many mums are choosing to ignore major health warnings so they can be with their baby?

“We shouldn’t have to make that choice because of coronavirus.

"These apparent rules are coming from individual hospitals trying to decide what is best but it isn't working, it's barbaric and separating us from our children for no reason.

"It is so stressful and inhumane.

“It should be the very last resort and we should be doing everything in our power to keep parents and children together."

Emma said that after complaining to the Queen Elizabeth hospital they apologised and are looking at taking on her feedback for future patients.

Now she is she is rallying support from her 40k followers on her Instagram page A Mother's Tale, to raising awareness of the issue and hopes to see changes that allow feeding babies on hospital wards.

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "We are sorry to hear about this woman’s experience and can confirm a member of the team will be in touch with Ms O’Donnell to discuss any concerns she might have.

"We treat all cases like this on an individual and woman-centred basis, taking into account the reason for admission, condition of the mother, age of baby and family support available.

“As a Health Board, we work with women to create a supportive, enabling environment for those who are breastfeeding.

Now mum-of-three Emma is pushing for hospitals to reconsider restrictions that don’t allow parents to bring babies into wards with them.
Mum-of-three Emma with her adorable baby

"The challenge when a mother is admitted to hospital for treatment is that we must ensure care for the baby is in place in the event the patient is either unwell on arrival or unable to care for the baby following treatment.

"We always try to ensure arrangements can be made for family members or friends to provide temporary care.

"We try to be as flexible as possible around this and can arrange for them to bring the baby to and from the ward so the mother can continue to breastfeed safely, or, so that the woman can express her breastmilk and the baby be fed by cup or bottle.

“Depending on the age of the baby we would also liaise with Women and Children’s Services at the time to accommodate them both if appropriate.

“While we are not aware of any national policies which relate to this specific issue, we adopt a woman-centred approach where the wellbeing and needs of the mother and baby are taken into account.

"This local practice has been in place since well before the pandemic.

"Wherever possible, we hold discussions with the woman prior to admission to understand their requirements so we can support the breastfeeding relationship between mum and baby and make an informed decision about practicalities of care.

"Wherever possible we try to keep breastfeeding mothers and their babies together.”