factsheet: help

It should be natural – but it doesn’t always come naturally! Here’s how to go about solving your breastfeeding problems.

Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Many mothers find it a challenge, and they long for the time when it is as relaxing and rewarding as they’ve heard it can be. Some are made to feel anxious about whether they’re doing it right , and they get confused by all the information – and misinformation – they’ve heard. But help is available at all times.

where to get help and support

In hospital, midwives should help you get breastfeeding underway, answer your questions and help you learn about getting your baby into a good position so he or she can feed well.
At home, you will get a number of home visits from a community midwife whose job is to see you and your baby are in good health, and to give breastfeeding support and information.
Later, your health visitor will can help with breastfeeding questions. She may visit you at home, and she can be contacted by phone and at the baby clinic.
You can also contact any breastfeeding counsellor from one of the volunteer organisations. The major ones are the National Childbirth Trust, the Breastfeeding Network, La Leche League and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. You can find links to all of these organisations at http://www.breastfeeding.co.uk

All of them have a number of trained volunteers, who offer support, either on the phone or in person. They won’t aim to ‘make’ you breastfeed. They’ll give you information, and talk through your options with you. If you are ever really concerned about your baby’s health , then call your doctor. Or you can speak to a midwife 24 hours a day in the first 28 days after your baby’s birth. You’ll be given a number, or you can call the maternity unit who will let you know who to speak to out of hours.

on the net

Bulletin boards and message boards all over the Web mean mothers can support each other with their experiences. You can also get support in newsgroups and on emailing lists. You have to remember that advice and information given in this way may not be applicable to you, but the friendship and encouragement given in cyberspace is often really worthwhile – and you can access it at any time, even during a sleepless night.

Some websites offer email support with breastfeeding and other parenting topics.

what about doctors?

Your doctor is the best person to consult if you are worried in case your baby is ill, but not all doctors are expert in breastfeeding issues. It does not form an important part of their training. However, many are very keen on breastfeeding because of the important impact it has on health, and you may find your doctor is a good resource of information and support, too. If anyone – doctor or other health professional or a breastfeeding counsellor – says something that confuses you, or conflicts with something you’ve already heard, then do question it.