When breastfeeding is not working – who you gonna call?
Breastfeeding is wonderfully enjoyable for lots of mums, but it is not unusual to have some difficulty in the beginning. These difficulties are usually very straightforward to diagnose and therefore fix. Occasionally, it takes a bit of trial and error and ruling things out, but for every breastfeeding problem there is a breastfeeding solution!
It’s really important to seek help early on and not adopt a “wait and see if it gets better” approach. It’s probably not going to get better without help and support.
The problem here in Ireland is that the help is not going to come to you. You have to go and actively seek it. This is one of the many reasons we have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the developed world.
So if you are having difficulty, where can you get help?
groups and volunteers
Cuidiú (the Irish Childbirth Trust)
Cuidiú has breastfeeding groups and highly trained free breastfeeding counsellors all over Ireland.
La Leche League has a network of breastfeeding groups and highly trained volunteers who offer support and advice face to face and on the phone.
Friends of Breastfeeding have a network of peer support groups and a lovely breastfeeding buddy system,whereby mums help mums.
There are lots of private lactation consultants all over the country. They are highly qualified and can diagnose and work out a solution for any breastfeeding problem. Private lactation consultants often do house calls which is handy for new mums. They cost somewhere between €90 and €150 for a visit but it is a sound investment in your baby’s health and still cheaper then formula! (plus you will get some back on your health insurance).
You can find a list of qualified lactation consultants and their contact details at the ALCI website.
Online Resources & Forums
(Note: we are not huge fans of referring vulnerable and emotional new mums to Facebook groups/forums etc. for obvious reasons, so mind how you go with those)
Extended Breastfeeding Ireland Facebook group. This is a Facebook group with over 12 thousand members, so you can ask a question there pretty much at anytime of the day or night and get a fast response. Just remember, anyone can be a member and the advice may not always be an evidence based approach.
For All Mum Kind Facebook group A smaller Facebook group of mums and mums to be. Again, anyone can be a member and the advice may not always the evidence based approach.
KellyMom An excellent American website. All information on this site is evidence-based and written by qualified advisors. You can find the answer to any breastfeeding question here or at least some great advice to try. Its a great place to cross-reference any advice you’ve been given.
Dr Jack Newman The website of Canadian breastfeeding expert Dr Jack Newman. Really helpful videos and information sheets can be found here.
La Leche League The wonderful online portal for La Leche League international. Lots of great information here.
Breastfeeding.ie A relatively new website by the HSE and a good start at least. There is an online facility here to ask a qualified lactation expert a question with a 48 hour turnaround. A good start HSE.
Timeline of a Breastfed Baby This is a great blog post about what breastfeeding looks like and feels like in the beginning. A must read for all new mums and mums to be to keep expectations (of sleep especially) realistic.
You can join Emily McElarney in The elbowroom for a breastfeeding workshop on Saturday 18th February.