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to not understand breastfeeding support groups.

(127 Posts)
moogy1a Tue 22-Jan-13 12:04:53

My impression seems to be that you either find bf'ing relatively easy and get on with it, or you find it more or less impossible ( for whatever reason) and either don't attempt it, or realise after a few days it's not gonna happen.
So, what happens at these bf'ing support groups? people seem to go for a few months. Do people sit in a circle and break into a round of applause when your baby's having a feed? Do people who can't b'feed keep going week after week for some form of moral support.
I genuinely want to know what the practical benefits are.

RedHelenB Tue 22-Jan-13 13:02:02

Manchester - the bf support group I went to had ff mums to that for one reason or another hadn't carried on bf'ing.

changeforaname Tue 22-Jan-13 13:04:04

Feeding DS1 was awful in the first few months.
I'd cry in pain as I fed.
At that point in time, to be able to go somewhere and have an expert be able to watch how he latched on and give advice, practical supportive advice on how to improve the latch was worthless.
Without it I wouldn't have carried on.
So for one, I'm bloody glad I had access to that support group.
I didn't go for DS2, I didn't need it.
OP - your first split between either finding it hard = not bf'ing versus finding it easy = not needing the support is too black and white. Appreciating that some fall in the middle might help you to understand why these support groups are vital.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 22-Jan-13 13:07:20

Cory that's the guilt I'm talking about. Sorry to hear you have had a hard time. I understand the need for support and assistance if breast feeding is something that is really important to you...

But breast feeding is not for everyone - that is evident.

Cat98 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:08:31

What a bizarre thread. I don't go to sewing groups because I don't sew. Don't think they're "pointless" though - some people get something out of them, obviously!

moogy1a Tue 22-Jan-13 13:12:14

I like the sound of the ones that supply cake and an ironing service. A lot of replies seem to be more about the social aspect of the groups. Do you not think that's the same whether you're at a "normal" toddler / baby group or one for bf'ing mothers? Most groups I go to have hv's popping in, and lots of info in bf'ing, and of course other mothers bf'ing as well without it being a dedicated bf'ing group.
I still like the idea of a round of applause for a good feed.

lunar1 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:16:53

I went to one it's was bloody horrible. I fed ds1 till he was 2 with no problems. I really struggled with ds2, I had 8 weeks of intense pain with feeding and really needed help.

The support group was full of women who all new each other, mostly with toddlers. There was nowhere to put down new babies as the mothers didn't supervise their children who were running round in shoes throwing toys.

There was no support as the staff were chatting with their friends.

I'm not precious about toddlers being around a newborn after all ds1 wasn't three when his brother came along, but the environment was horrible for a baby, imagine 10 18 month-3.5 year olds with toys and no supervision.

I actually complained that money which should have been used to support mothers feeding newborns was being spent in this way. I went twice. The group lost funding thank god and they introduced a new one for mothers of baby's under4 months

Quenelle Tue 22-Jan-13 13:19:12

Women don't just find it either 'easy' or 'impossible' to breastfeed. Many will experience different problems from time to time which, without support would result in them stopping.

Quite obvious really.

Rootvegetables Tue 22-Jan-13 13:21:13

Mine was a real life line for me actually as I was desperate to breast feed yet found it really hard. Some one sitting and encouraging you and showing you how to do it without the time constraints of a midwife was lovely. We had tea and cake and felt really looked after at my one. It was lovely to speak to parents with older babies that had been through the same things and as my baby grew I found myself talking to new mums too. It's a great support network but the advisor can also help with GP referrals for mastitis etc. without that help I don't think I would have continued and for me it was really important.

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Tue 22-Jan-13 13:23:59

I had fab support from my local bf group. I was really struggling and they helped me get the position and feeding right.

With DS there wasn't any group, so he ended up FF as I just couldn't get it right. With DD the support from the BFN meant that I got it to work and ended up feeding her for a year.

I don't care how other people feed their babies, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support group.

BettyStogs Tue 22-Jan-13 13:26:10

I went pretty much every week when on maternity leave with DS. The first time I went he was under 2 weeks old and I needed help with latch issues, which I got from one of the lovely peer supporters. I kept going even when bf established for several reasons. It was a good way to meet other mums, and have made some good friends. I looked on it in a way as a 'new baby' support group, as there was always someone to chat to about all issues, not just bf, but things like sleep deprivation, weaning etc.

It got me out of the house, and I got a cup of tea made for me, which I could drink while someone else watched DS.

I carried on going as well because I think its good for new mums to see older babies being bf, and I appreciated this myself when DS was tiny.

Having said that, I think I was very lucky with my group, I went to one with SIL in another part of the country when she had her baby, and it seemed less friendly somehow

cory Tue 22-Jan-13 13:26:27

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 22-Jan-13 13:07:20
"Cory that's the guilt I'm talking about."

It wasn't just guilt- that could have been resolved with a pat on the back and reassurance that I was doing fine- it was also a sense of loss because something I had looked forward to was not happening the way it should.

In the same way as today guilt is part of what I feel about the fact that dd's disability precludes the healthy outdoor lifestyle I thought we would have as a family. But it's only part of it, and if you reassure me that it is not necessary, you still won't take that sense of loss away from me.

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 22-Jan-13 13:27:42

What a bizarre OP confused I neither found BF-ing really easy, or impossible. Sometimes it was fine, sometimes it was very hard and it was different with both DCs. But I knew carrying on was the best thing, so I found the support groups really useful. However, I wouldn't have given why people attend a second thought even if I had found it really easy. Isn't it just a good thing to have a support group, whatever it may be for??

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 22-Jan-13 13:28:41

Ok. Sorry.

ReallyTired Tue 22-Jan-13 13:28:49

The majority of mothers do attempt breastfeeding, but very few mothers are breastfeeding in any shape or form at 6 months. In some parts of the country women give up very early on. A breastfeeding group gives an enviroment where you can socialise with other women who are breastfeeding. Sometimes women who have no problems breastfeeding as such still experience pressure to bottlefeed.

In my area there are several breastfeeding groups. The La Leche League group caters for older breastfeeding/ babies and toddlers where as the NHS group is for younger babies.

FlatsInDagenham Tue 22-Jan-13 13:29:43

OP, HVs are useless (in general) at giving bf advice, so your suggestion that the usual baby / toddler groups are enough is wrong.

Bf groups are run by trained bf counsellors and trained bf peer supporters, not HVs.

moogy1a Tue 22-Jan-13 13:30:07

Didn't say it wasn't a good thing. Just wondering what the difference was between a bf group and any other baby/ surestart group that has bf'ing mothers and hv's etc. visiting.

KoalaTale Tue 22-Jan-13 13:30:20

Yabu. I went weekly for the first few months, asked questions about feeding frequency,night feeds, all sorts really. It was great to meet other new mothers too and lots of cameradery.

KoalaTale Tue 22-Jan-13 13:31:29

I agree hvs give bad bf advice, my nct bf group was excellent and much better than hv advice.

moogy1a Tue 22-Jan-13 13:31:46

Our local bf'ing groups seem to have the normal staff from surestart attending, not bf counsellors which is why I have failed to see the point.

elliejjtiny Tue 22-Jan-13 13:33:10

I went with DS1 to make friends mainly because by the time I'd plucked up the courage to go to the group he was 4 months old and breastfeeding fine. DS2 was failure to thrive and had low muscle tone and DS3 had reflux so I went to the group for support.

I'd love to go with DC4 but they've changed it so that you get kicked out when your baby starts crawling, older siblings aren't allowed anymore and there aren't any peer supporters because the NHS can't afford to train new ones every 4-6 months (the being kicked out when your baby starts crawling applies to peer supporters too).

Hopeforever Tue 22-Jan-13 13:37:13

I can understand why you would ask OP, sadly we mums get very heated about BFing so sme of the replies have been too harsh

Personally I found the first 10 days of BFing absolute hell and only the support of the BFing counsellor and my DH got me through. After the first month I was so glad I could BF my DS and it was so easy.

I didn't have the strength to go to the BF group until DS was much older. It was great to talk to others who understood about BFing in public, about baby led weaning (this was before it was discussed by many) etc.

It also gave me the confidence not to wean at 4 months but wait till 6 months. To me that was important and m not sure I could have been so honest at other baby groups

ReallyTired Tue 22-Jan-13 13:38:03

If you don't want to go to a breastfeeding group then its not complusory.

The group I went to was run by a health visitor with extra training in breastfeeding and a nursery nurse.

"I'd love to go with DC4 but they've changed it so that you get kicked out when your baby starts crawling, older siblings aren't allowed anymore and there aren't any peer supporters because the NHS can't afford to train new ones every 4-6 months (the being kicked out when your baby starts crawling applies to peer supporters too). "

That is stupid. I have never been to a breastfeeding group where older sibblings were not allowed.

EspressoMonkey Tue 22-Jan-13 13:38:33

I'm abroad and go to an English speaking BFG and also a French speaking BFG where we live. The English one to make friends and the French speaking one to practice my French and drink wine. And yes i did type that correctly.

It is fun, i can meet new people, BF DCs in comfort and it is a bit like MN but in real life.

Thewhingingdefective Tue 22-Jan-13 13:40:18

The group I go to is like a toddler group where trained peer supporters are there to talk to if you have any BF issues and in the whole it's pretty good.

Not everyone falls into one of two categories of 'BFing is easy/impossible'. Many women have obstacles to overcome and a support group is somewhere to go where more than likely there will be someone else going through the same or BTDT.

For me, I also liked being able to go to a baby and toddler group where I didn't get stared at like I was a freak or a show off for BFing my twins.

limon Tue 22-Jan-13 13:42:10

Oh they're fab! It's just like any other group but lots of advice on hand if you want it.

And people to talk to!

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