I decided to write this because I know an alarming number of mums who felt that they were pushed to stop breastfeeding in the first few weeks after birth and were absolutely devastated at the loss of a journey they really wanted. Many stopped due to advice from doctors or midwives, because of perceived low supply, tongue tie, allergies, medication or pain.
They were told things like 'fed is best' or 'happy baby, happy mum' to mask their feelings of loss but the pain and disappointment was still there. In reality, very few women are medically unable to breastfeed (IF they want to), but a far higher number are unable to get good breastfeeding support because of poor signposting or geographical lack of breastfeeding services. I have been accused of being 'pushy' or 'shaming formula feeding' just because I have given information about where/how to seek help with breastfeeding when a mum is clearly struggling but doesn't want to stop. I wholeheartedly believe that a huge part of improving maternal mental health is to support parents in their feeding choices and because of this, I support the 'informed is best' approach and will always signpost helpful services to a mum in need.
I will be forever grateful for the support of our local Breastfeeding Network team with both of my breastfeeding journeys (neither of which were straightforward due to tongue tie) and this is one reason why I choose to support the charity with donations from sales of my breastfeeding products. The BFN offer support via local teams and also Nationwide through the National Breastfeeding Helpline who are available to talk 12 hours a day.
Ginny Dupont, from the Fareham & Gosport BFN says:
The Breastfeeding Network (BfN) is a national charity with projects throughout the UK. Our mission is to offer independent, evidence-based information and support to help build awareness of breastfeeding to individuals and organisations and to support a mum in her choice to breastfeed. We provide accredited training to enable women to become Breastfeeding Network peer supporters, many of whom go on to volunteer within their local communities. For a new mum deciding how to feed her baby, talking to a mum who knows about breastfeeding can make a crucial difference.
Nationwide we work in partnership with ABM offering support via the National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212 9.30am-9.30pm every day of the year. Families can also find out about any BfN projects local to them at https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/peersupportprojects/.
BfN has a wealth of information on drugs and breastfeeding with a number of factsheets available for anyone to access https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-factsheets/
For information regarding breastfeeding and coronavirus https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/coronavirus/