Knowing what to look out for will enable you to make sure that the feeding is progressing well and that your baby is getting enough milk. Painful breasts and nipples whilst breastfeeding are not normal at any stage so you should seek help should these occur.
You should be given contact details for your midwife, health visitor and voluntary counsellors and support groups before leaving hospital. Your midwife and health visitor should be able to answer your queries and put you in touch with a local breastfeeding specialist if your problem is more complex. Many areas also have peer support programmes where local mothers are trained to support new mothers with breastfeeding and there are also local groups and drop in clinics in most areas. All these are sources of help and general support with your breastfeeding.
There are also a number of national organisations you can contact – details of which are available here. A particularly valuable resource is the National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212) which gives you the chance to speak to trained breastfeeding counsellors between 9.30am and 9.30pm every day. This service is run jointly by the Breastfeeding Network and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers.
There is a local support group but I am not sure whether that sort of help is for me?
Mothers attend support groups for a number of different reasons – it may be that you have a particular difficulty that you would like some additional help with, or that you would like to have the chance to chat about breastfeeding and baby care in general or that you would like to meet other local mothers. Whatever your reason, you can be assured that it will be run by individuals with a particular interest in breastfeeding, either health professionals, or local mothers who have trained as peer supporters or breastfeeding counsellors so you can be assured of support from someone who is both knowledgeable and understanding about any challenges you may face.
Support groups are generally run on a drop-in basis so you can just turn up without making an appointment. If you did find that it wasn’t for you, there would be no need to go again. The vast majority of mothers who do attend find the support helpful. Click here to watch a clip of mothers talking about the problems they faced.