Thursday 18 October 2012

Support Breastfeeding Mothers

I'm back to the boobs...

In my latest article for the Independent, I look at the recent report published by UNICEF which highlights the NHS could potentially save £40M if breastfeeding rates increased. A staggering figure and one which could see great savings on an already stretched health service. With this in mind, what can we do to increase breastfeeding rates, it can't all rest on the shoulder of the mother. Support, support, support, is what new mums need, not only to start breastfeeding but to maintain it for as long as possible.

New mums are pushed really hard to breastfeed, yet when it comes to it, the support isnt always there. My own personal experience of breastfeeding has been a mixed journey. I found that in my antental classes not enough information was given, it was made to look and also sound a very easy thing to do. As a mum who has breastfed two children I can say it actually wasn't for me. No one tells you about the six week growth spurt and how they will continually feed and you may have to sit there for hours on end. Or about the hourly nightfeeds or the feeling of 'get that baby away from me please' as it gleefully eyes up its next dinner. How about the really painful nipples, you know the feeling where you have to grit your teeth and curl your toes everytime you latch the baby on.  Or having to wear savoy cabbage in your bra, because you are so engorged, the leaky boobs and the joys of having to wear a breast pad 24 hours a day. I think we need to be honest with m

When I went to the class on breastfeeding second time around, I wish I could have given the talk. When the midwife asked the group: "How often do you think you will need to feed?" The room of new expectant mums was silent, I answered "All the time" and when she then "asked how long do you think a feed takes?" My response was: "Forever!" I was honest and this was my experience with my first. However the advice we were given was if you do it right it should be around a twenty minute feed every 3 - 4 hours.

Perhaps, that is something which could be introduced to all antenal classes, peer supporters could be there to give their honest account of breastfeeding and the problems they encountered on their journey.

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1 comment:

  1. Love the idea of "been there done it" peer supporters being connected into ante-natal classes. Otherwise it's all completely newbies in it together.

    I would love for you to link up this and your other breastfeeding posts at the Friday Baby Shower linky party. We've got an extra link up this week specifically for breastfeeding posts.
    Alice @ Mums Make Lists x