Friday 22 June 2012

Breastfeeding Support

This week’s topic for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt is Support. 

I always hoped to breastfeed when I had a baby and when I was pregnant I read about breastfeeding and went to a breastfeeding group in preparation but it wasn’t until my baby was actually in my arms that I could actually experience breastfeeding for myself as we began our breastfeeding journey.  I read about the physicality’s of breastfeeding, realised that my hormones would be all over the place post pregnancy and birth and that I most probably would be emotional and I also considered what I thought of breastfeeding in public but it wasn’t until I was actually ‘doing it’ breastfeeding that I understood that breastfeeding affects so many aspects of your life and in turn many factors affect breastfeeding.  Physical, hormonal, emotional and social factors are affected by breastfeeding and in turn have an impact on your breastfeeding experience.  Physically I never had any real issues with breastfeeding but I had to ensure I drank plenty and ate little and often whilst emotionally I found breastfeeding like an emotional rollercoaster and when I hit a rough patch and was upset and emotional I found breastfeeding was slightly less of an enjoyable experience as I was worrying too much.  How breastfeeding affects a mum’s life and how various factors affect breastfeeding varies for every mum.  Even though the breastfeeding experience can differ from mum to mum I do believe that all breastfeeding mums can benefit from support and that a good support network can be vital during breastfeeding.

There are many sources of support; family and friends, midwives and health visitors, breastfeeding support groups and breastfeeding counsellors, breastfeeding helplines and websites and online breastfeeding support forums and groups.  It is also beneficial to have good support for your boobies from a good, well fitting bra.  During this week’s Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt there have been many posts by other bloggers highlighting the various breastfeeding sources and their own personal experience with various sources of support.

I found support from breastfeeding support groups where I could relate to other breastfeeding mums as they understood what I was going through and as well as offering me support and adult conversation they also offered helpful advice.

I also got good support from health professionals specifically I found our health visitor’s support helpful in the early days.  She was encouraging and supportive of my decision to breastfeed and I am grateful to her for her support she provided when I was going through a rough patch.  I remember crying because little man wasn’t putting on that much weight and I felt like a failure and that my milk must not be giving little man what he needed and that maybe I should give him formula and instead of concentrating on the fact that he was only very slowly putting on weight she encouraged me to preserve with breastfeeding and reassured me that little man was a happy, healthy baby boy who was thriving even if the scales was telling a different story.  I decided to preserve with breastfeeding and before I knew it he was putting on plenty of weight and thriving even more. 

As well as support from breastfeeding groups and health professionals I also found support online.  As well as getting advice and support from fellow breastfeeding mums I also found it great to be able to talk online to friends and have an adult conversation, I found this lifeline was particularly beneficial when I was home alone.

My main source of support was from my family; my mum and sister as well as from Lee who was and still is my rock.  Even when I was pregnant my mum and sister were a great support to me.  I was under consultant care and as such had to go to hospital appointments and then when I developed gestational diabetes I had to go to even more appointments.  For the regular, routine appointments to the diabetic department, where I was in and out in less than 10 minutes once I eventually got seen, my mum would drive me to the hospital.  When little man decided to make his appearance on his due date both my sister and my mum were in the delivery room supporting both me and Lee and they took it in turns to give Lee a break and give me company.  They were both a great support in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, doing everything possible to support me.  They provided practical support by doing the housework, getting me food and drinks and buying things from the shops to save me going; they also gave me  emotional support and were and still are always there for me, at the end of the phone and a shoulder to cry on if I need to get things off my chest.  Even their subtle support of their company was helpful to me, helping me to not feel alone.  They also made it easier for me as they understood and supported my decision to breastfeed and they always understood that cuddles with little man would have to wait if he needed feeding.

The support I am truly grateful for having was Lee’s support and encouragement.  I could not have gone through the hard times without Lee and I believe that without his support I would not have preserved with breastfeeding and that my breastfeeding experience would have come to an end early on.  Lee’s supportive, loving qualities that I fell in love with made him a fabulous supportive partner during pregnancy, a great birth partner and a supportive and caring fiancée and daddy.  Things aren’t always bright and sunny, we are far from perfect and we have been through a lot but he is truly a very supportive partner.  Even though I know he found it difficult that he wasn’t involved in feeding little man and felt useless for not being able to give little man what he wanted when he woke up in the night wanting a feed he stood by my desire to breastfeed and even encouraged me to preserve with breastfeeding when I was doubting myself when he could have easily suggested giving little man formula which would have meant he could feed little man himself too.  As he wasn’t responsible for feeding little man he bonded with our baby by playing with, bathing him, changing him and whilst he did these things he would make sure I got some rest and ‘me’ time.

Lee has put up with a lot yet never complains, I must admit when I am sleep deprived he bears the brunt of my tiredness and instead of complaining about my grumpiness if he is about and not busy he will tell me to have a nap whilst he plays with little man.  Even though he couldn’t feed little man Lee would wake up with me during the night to keep me company and get anything I needed before I would tell him to get some of the sweet sleep that we both craved.  Lee was completely understanding of the fact that breastfeeding little man was demanding and time consuming and her never expected me to do jobs around the house as he wanted me to focus on looking after little man and breastfeed.  Instead of expecting that I do the housework Lee insisted that I look after little man and rest when I could when little man was sleeping and that he would keep on top of the housework.  As well as doing the housework he would make sure I drank enough and he would make me meals and leave food for me to quickly grab when he was out so that I was eating and getting the nutrition I needed.

I could not have breastfed little man for over a year without Lee’s support, love and care.  I am thankful that I had him by my side.


To read more about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt visit the facebook page or the Scavenger Hunt blog page.  I hope you enjoy reading lots of posts about breastfeeding from the other lovely bloggers taking part, a few of which are –

Fi Peacock 
Pondering of a Doula 
My Thoughts On Things 
Breast 4 Babies 

As well as bloggers helping this campaign a host of breastfeeding companies are also supporting the campaign and have provided some great prizes for the main prize as well as other competitions happening throughout the month.  One of the companies is Lactivist who promotes breastfeeding with witty slogan t-shirts, bags, badges and hats.

Use the rafflecopter below to enter the grand prize of over £500 worth of breastfeeding goodies for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Both my health visitor and best friends have been so supportive when I struggled with breastfeeding. I owe them alot

  2. I personaly didnt get any support from health proffesionals in my area with my little girl but maybe it will be different this time when bump decides to arrive.  :) My husband was amazing though alwas there knowing just what to say and helping me in anyway he could.  He is always fantastic support!

  3. Great that you had good support from your health visitor and best friends, really helps when you are struggling with breastfeeding

  4. Shame that health professionals didn't provide you with good support, I hope it is different for you when bump arrives.  Fantastic that your husband was supportive :)

  5. Samantha Holloway24 June 2012 at 10:29

    My biggest suppoerter were my mum and dad, and offered loads of advice and encouragement.

  6. My biggest supporter has been my mum, she is always encouraging and gives good advice too.

  7. My husband, he learnt a lot about breast feeding at our NHS antenatal classes and is quite insistant that his baby boy gets whats best :-)