Nobody – and I literally do mean nobody – told me where to turn if breastfeeding was a struggle. Hell, I didn’t even think it was going to be a struggle. I was told it was natural, the baby would root to my breast when they were born, they would smell my milk and just magically latch on. Not a single one of these things happened. (You can see what did happen instead in my breastfeeding posts here).
Instead of holding dolls up against my nipples in an NCT class, it would have been great if someone could have told me what to do if my milk didn’t come in, if my baby was in an incubator and I couldn’t get skin to skin, if my baby was fed through a tube rather than from me etc. etc.
So I thought I’d share the places I went to for help. And if you’re reading this whilst in the mire of establishing feeding then just know that there is hope, it does get easier and you’re not alone. Please message me if you want to chat.
La Leche League
I have my friend Laura to thank for introducing me to LLL. I found the local Tyne & Wear group on Facebook and requested to join. It’s a great group – you can submit a post or question which will be reviewed by one of the admins, one of whom is a certified lactation consultant. Loads of other breastfeeding Mums give support and advice and it’s a wonderful online community.
Your Health Visitor
Ok so personally I think my health visitor is useless and I never felt supported by her in my breastfeeding journey BUT that is not everyone’s experience. Ask them questions – they should be able to signpost you to meetings and refer you back into hospital for feeding advice if needed (which is what happened to us after Sebastian lost a load of weight).
There is a breastfeeding support group near me called Bosom Buddies. I never made it along myself but I heard great things. Milk & Mums also run a support group at the Thought Foundation on a Thursday and that’s really popular. The point is, find out about your local group and get yourself along. There’s no substitute for face to face support.
Baby groups that aren’t specifically for breastfeeding can also be a great source of support. I met women with all sorts of feeding journeys who helped me to understand that everyone has a different experience and that everyone is trying their damndest. I also got practical advice on nipple shields and stuff which was great.
National Breastfeeding Helpline
There is a national breastfeeding help line: 0300 100 0212. It’s run by experienced women who have breastfed themselves. They’re volunteers but have been trained. Lines are open 9:30am – 9:30pm every day.
Talk about your struggles, share good and bad experiences with others. If your friend has breastfed or is breastfeeding, then chat to them. Get hints and tips. Peer support is the best.
I can’t stress it enough – if you’re having trouble, just message me. Even sometimes having someone to listen who has been through it will help. I am here.