The Breastfeeding Journey! It can be a rollercoaster, but with the right support, you and your baby could enjoy a wonderful journey together.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1st to 7th August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
This year the organisers want to focus the campaign on on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of us all, and the imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide.
We know that as you start out on your breastfeeding journey it can be a shock to the system, especially if you’ve never breastfed before. Where do we seek help as breastfeeding mums? Who is there to help us? We wanted to do our bit by sharing all the different ways you can receive support with Breastfeeding and be well on your way!
Tips from REAL mums in our online community
First of all, it goes without saying that the some of the BEST support that you can have on your breastfeeding journey is from other breastfeeding mums. Meeting other local breastfeeding mums is a great way to ensure you have a fabulous support network there in-person when you need them, as well as our brilliant online support group!
We asked our breastfeeding mums for some tried-and-tested tips and here is what they told us…
We LOVE this advice from experienced breastfeeding mama Aimee…
My tips would be; find someone you can talk to when times get hard, I really struggled the 1st couple of days, my Mum knew a lactation consultant who lived miles away but she spoke to me on the phone, listened to me cry thinking I was doing wrong by my baby trying to feed her myself and told me what to ask the midwife/hv when she visited. She got me through that 1st week as unfortunately the hospital had just told me to go to formula.Set yourself goals/targets.. I said I wanted to do the first 24 hours, then week, month and so on… some days were so tough but each target hit made it feel less daunting and felt like a huge achievement, for also made sure I got her weighed weekly for the first couple of months as watching her weight go up and up from my milk was flaming amazing!Lastly… practice feeding discreetly at home so you have the confidence to go out and feed wherever baby might need it… I spent a good hour in front of the mirror but felt confident feeding anytime anywhere from a week old.
My tip would be keep plenty of fluids next to you and snacks – also remember you’re not a failure if you manage to do it for a few hours or longer no matter what the baby is having the best start In life . Sadly I had to stop with my 5 yr old at 12 months but I’ll be starting my journey again any day now when little lady arrives.
Our Favourite Breastfeeding Influencers
TikTok and Instagram are an absolute goldmine of information for anyone wanting to breastfeed – an unexpected benefit of social media! Take a look at our favourite videos and posts – from supportive encouragement, to practical tips such as latching, the online breastfeeding community has your back every step of the way. It is important to emphasise the importance of seeking professional support offline, just to be safe – these videos could be a helpful complement to your journey and a stopgap if you’re waiting to be seen.
We LOVE how Khloe Kuriatnyk normalises breastfeeding in public, and older babies – we hope that this post boosts your confidence when it comes to public feeding! Khloe is also a huge body positivity advocate, so we’d also recommend following her if you’re struggling with your body image after having a baby. She normalises the ‘mum bod’ and we LOVE her!
No Milk Like Mamas is another fab breastfeeding account to check out on Instagram – she is a specialist breastfeeding consultant who often posts useful information and empowering encouragement on her platform. This video on latching could really help anyone who is struggling to get the hang of it – although we would ALWAYS encourage you to seek in-person professional breastfeeding support too, just to be safe!
The Milk Lady LC is a great TikTok account to follow! Megan Ann Macy is a certified lactation counsellor and her feed is chocked full of brilliant and informative videos about breastfeeding, postnatal care and other handy parenting hacks. This video about the size of a baby’s tummy is actually incredibly interesting and could be reassuring to any newly breastfeeding mama who is worried that they’re not making much milk in the first few days. Again, we’d always advise seeking in-person professional advice with any worries, these videos could just complement your breastfeeding journey.
We also enjoy The Lactinator on TikTok – Danielle Gauss runs the account and she is an IBCLC lactation consultant, with over 225,000 followers on her platform! Her TikTok feed is a great mix of useful breastfeeding hacks and other empowering mantras to help struggling mothers on their way to success.
Where and How Can I Access In-Person Breastfeeding Support?
As fabulous as our breastfeeding influencer favourites are, offline, you may want to see a friendly face in-person to help you on your breastfeeding journey. There are quite a few different routes you can go down when it comes to accessing support ‘offline’…
Your baby’s red book
This is a great place to start. If you’re having any issues, your baby’s red book has helpful contact details of your local support team and resources included in the important information pages.
Midwives, health visitors and local trained volunteer mothers (peer supporters) are there to help you get breastfeeding off to a good start. They can give you lots of information and support just when you need it, but be aware that midwives and health visitors may have varying levels of breastfeeding experience and knowledge. They can, however, give you the phone number for any local peer support workers if they’re unsure on how to support your breastfeeding quandry.
If you need to speak to someone between midwife or health visitor appointments, you should find their contact details in your baby’s red book. You could also go to your local drop-in baby clinic to see a health visitor face to face – you should check to see if your local has reopened due to pandemic closures.
Breastfeeding drop-ins, cafes and centres
These are all great places to make new friends and share the ups and downs of looking after a new baby. There’s no need to make an appointment – just go along when you can.
To find out what’s available in your area:
- Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP
- Contact your local Children’s Centre or Family Information Service, as they often have lists of local breastfeeding groups and activities
- Use the NHS services search to find a breastfeeding drop-in near you.
- Ask on local Facebook groups as most towns and cities will have meet-ups and support groups near to you.
If you really need to talk to someone for breastfeeding advice quickly, these organisations are really reliable when it comes to helpful advice.
- National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – 0300 330 5453
- La Leche League – 0345 120 2918
- National Childbirth Trust (NCT) – 0300 330 0700
You can find some more great online support here:
- Baby Café is a network of breastfeeding drop-ins. You can find your nearest drop-in on the website by entering your postcode.
- Bliss is a special care baby charity that provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK.
- The Breastfeeding Network provides breastfeeding support and information.
- La Leche League offers mother-to-mother support with breastfeeding.
- The Lactation Consultants of Great Britain can help you find a lactation consultant near you.
- The Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) has information about feeding twins and triplets.
- The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is a charity that provides information and support on all aspects of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, including breastfeeding.
- The UK Association for Milk Banking has information about using donated breast milk if your baby is premature or ill, and how to donate breast milk.
One final, important thing to remember…
A happy mum means a happy baby, and vice versa! Never hesitate to reach out for support when you need it – there are so many places where you can get great breastfeeding advice and encouragement. Also, please don’t feel guilty or like a ‘failure’ if you are struggling. Mummies are humans too – we have a hard enough job as it is, before we even consider struggles establishing feeding and the other plethora of things we have on our plates! Be PROUD of what you achieve – be it one day, one week, one month, one year, or longer. Your baby loves you regardless!
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