Much of the blame for the low breastfeeding rates in Ireland is laid on formula being pushed on the generation before us, as a result those having babies now dont have a knowledgable support network around them if they choose to breastfeed. While this may be true I definitely feel that the health service also needs to take some ownership as from my own stay in hospital I could see that promotion of formula was rampant and that midwives had very little time to help new mothers trying to breastfeed.
Even though I had plenty of support from my own mother, there was still nothing quite like getting help from new mothers and those still nursing over those first few weeks. A lot of the questions I had popped up at 3 in the morning when it wasnt possible to call people so I have included some online resources too:
- Kellymom - a wealth of answers to every possible breastfeeding related question. Invaluable on those first days at 4am when you arent sure if you are doing anything right.
- Ciudiu - Ciudiú host great support groups for breastfeeding moms. After a few weeks of only being comfortable feeding lying down which meant that I wasnt leaving the house, a lovely breastfeeding counsellor at my local group helped me feed sitting down which was life changing at the time.
- Your local public health nurse - Some of these are great, some are not much more than baby weight watchers. I was pretty lucky with my nurse, she had nursed her own children and gave me links to a lot of resources. Even if your PHN is useless they most likely host a breastfeeding support group where you can meet with the other local mothers. Just having someone local to chat to makes a world of difference and in my case led to great new friends, my first nursing in public experiences and weekly lunches
- La Leche League - My local group was a bit hard to get to but LLL are meant to be a fantastic source of information and I certainly used their website on many occasions.
- Breastfeeding.ie - This website is a fantastic source of information for late night questions. I have also heard that if you email them they will come back to you really quickly.
- Lactation consultants - Breastfeeding shouldnt hurt, but if it does (especially after 2 weeks) its definitely worth contacting a lactation consultant. Its a real shame that this is a resource that is not available for free as a new mother but the cost is minimal for the support they give. After 9 weeks I contacted a consultant who came to my house and spent two hours with me watching me feed and looking at my little guy. She was such an encouraging support to me, diagnosed tongue tie and recommended a procedure that made life for both of us a lot easier. Its worth every penny if something feels wrong.
- EBI facebook group - This facebook group is full of inspirational breastfeeding mothers and a great place for questions you might have late at night as well as breastfeeding humour, interesting articles, tips on where to get great nursing friendly clothes and more.
The other thing you might look forward to after nine months of ballooning out of most of your clothes are new clothes. Nursing clothes can be kind of expensive and annoyingly a lot of nursing clothes are designed to cater for a pregnant belly too so are none to flattering. Here are some of my favourites
- Buy some cheap vest tops and wear something loose on top so that you can pull your top up and the vest top down. Half of your wardrobe suddenly becomes nursing friendly
- Hotmilk make really nice nursing bras that dont make you look like an old lady and are available in a lot of the larger department stores
- Boob Design do really good quality tops and hoodies for keeping you warm while feeding. Added bonus - there is a 90% chance that you will be out when the package arrives and your neighbour will end up having to sign for the package with boob written on it.
- Wrap dresses - hide a multitude of sins and are great for access
- H&M nursing tops are cheap and cheerful
- Scarves are fairly useful when youre starting out trying to figure out how to hold a tiny baby while allowing them access to milk. I always have one in the changing bag
If there are any resources that you found useful then please share them in the comments.