When I had my first baby I remember being very surprised that breastfeeding didn't come naturally. I thought I would just plop him onto my breast and - hey presto! - we would be breastfeeding.
Anyone who has ever breastfed, or tried to, will know it's not quite as simple as that. As well as getting it right physically, a change in attitude and a lot of support can sometimes be needed too.
But what should you do if you find it's not going well? It's easy to turn to formula milk and bottles but there are alternatives.
I had problems feeding my fifth child and in hospital was made to feel that I shouldn't have because I had done this before, very successfully.
So when I returned home I contacted my local National Childbirth Trust's breastfeeding counsellor who was excellent. She was local, a mum herself, and properly trained.
She came to my house and after a couple of visits the problem was corrected and I went on to feed him for two years. I didn't even have to be a NCT member. There is a national helpline or you can contact your local branch.
La Leche League
This wonderful organisation which originated in America also has breast feeding counsellors. I joined my local group because I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded, supportive people as I tandem fed a baby and a toddler.
They have regular get-togethers where you can share your experiences and join in with a variety of discussions on child-rearing. I remember my time with the group as being gentle and really refreshing for my spirit.
If you are lucky you may live close to a Baby Cafe, a place where you can meet other breastfeeding mums, find support and enjoy a cuppa.
Feeling supported and a determined attitude were key to me succeeding at nursing my babies. I ignored well-meaning friends and family who said the baby wasn't "getting enough milk" and fed anywhere and everywhere. Although, out of respect to those who felt uncomfortable I did find myself stuck in lots of bedrooms with a hungry baby. I did refuse to feed in toilets, public or private though.
There are many places to seek help, made all the easier thanks to the Internet, including The Breastfeeding Network, Infant Feeding Network, and Breastfeeding Support. There is also the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and Little Angels (making breastfeeding fashionable). There are even blogs about feeding like the Lactivist and Breastfeeding Mums.
New mums are lucky to have such a wealth of support and advice at their fingertips. Did you need help feeding and if so, where did you turn?
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