Breastfeeding may be the ‘natural’ way to feed your baby; however it is not always easy. It takes time, patience and support. Women’s early experiences with breastfeeding can affect how long they feed for and lack of support can cause many to give up. Good support is fundamental to a successful breastfeeding journey. Ciara Butler, IBCLC, vice president of the Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland, gives some suggestion for Where to Get Breastfeeding Help and Support:
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Here are some ways to get breastfeeding help and support:
#1. Sign up for a breastfeeding class before baby arrives
Antenatally sign up for a breastfeeding class; this will give you the opportunity to meet the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at your hospital.
If you take a private class you can connect with the IBCLC in your area, which is helpful when you’re not sure who to call in the early days.
Go to a breastfeeding support group……yes they love pregnant mums to come along before baby arrives.
#2. Get as much help as you can in hospital
After the baby is born get as much help as you can in the hospital, if you are having difficulty look for help from the Lactation Consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you have your baby at home, your midwife will visit regularly and can offer support and advice.
#3. Use supports at home
When you come home with your new baby it can be daunting but there is lots of help available. Your Public Health Nurse will visit you within a few days of discharge and she can provide excellent support.
If you are running into difficulty, contacting an IBCLC is extremely beneficial; Lactation Consultants have specialist training and experience in helping breastfeeding mothers and babies. The Association of Lactation Consultants Ireland (ALCI) provides a list of IBCLCs who work in your area.
#4. Find a local breastfeeding support group
Breastfeeding support groups play a powerful role in ongoing feeding and emotional support for both mums and babies. Most health centres provide breastfeeding support groups these are usually run by Public Health Nurses.
Voluntary breastfeeding support groups such as Le Cuidiu, La Leche League and Friends of Breastfeeding have specially trained breastfeeding counsellors and leaders and they also offer mother-to-mother support. This kind of support is vital for breastfeeding mothers.
New mums often prefer receiving advice and information from other mothers. Voluntary support groups often help build confidence and give many new mums the opportunity to meet like-minded people.
#5. Get support online
Online support plays a large part in many women’s breastfeeding journey. The internet provides a myriad of support for mums. From breastfeeding websites to Facebook groups to online forums.
When accessing online information it is important to ensure all information is evidence based and up to date.
The HSE breastfeeding website provides an “Ask our Expert” area which allows mums to ask an IBCLC for help and advice.
Many Facebook groups and forums offer peer-to-peer support which can provide continual emotional support for new mums. Remember don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Websites for Breastfeeding Help:
ALC Ireland www.alcireland.ie
La Leche League Ireland www.lalecheleagueireland.com
Friends of Breastfeeding www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie
Over to you now. What’s your best tip for how you found breastfeeding help and support? Share it with us in the comments below.