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To think we shouldn't have to pay to receive basic support?

(48 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-May-14 19:34:45

I have a 6 week old baby who I'm exclusively breast feeding. It was very difficult from the off set and I spent about 2 weeks constantly crying and I always felt that something just wasn't right with my attachment and latch. I voiced my concerns to my ME and my HV, telling them about the problems I was having and despite observing me feeding they just kept telling me everything was fine so I carried on doing what I was doing.

Over the last 10 days things were gradually getting more difficult and so yesterday me and DH paid to have an appointment with a lactation consultant for advice because I just couldn't continue with what I was doing and BF was no longer enjoyable for me. She was absolutely brilliant and could see instantly where my problems lay (including a mild fongue tie in DS) and she taught me new feeding positions etc and I couldn't believe how easy my baby attached and that when he was feeding it was pain free for the first time in weeks. What she did was so, so simple that I can't believe the HV and MW weren't able to offer the same support, advice and practical help.

It cost us £100 for a 45 minute appointment and it angers me to think that BF support and knowledge from professionals is so dire that women are being forced to pay for such services just to get the help they need. It's drummed in to us how 'breast is best' and how poor the breastfeeding rate is etc but is it any wonder? Me and DH are fortunate that we could afford to pay for the advice and so it makes me feel frustrated that a lot of women who probably really want to breast feed are forced to give it up because they can't afford to pay for advice and help that should be given to women as a basic standard of feeding support!

It's just so wrong.

stargirl1701 Sun 04-May-14 19:35:21


wheresthelight Sun 04-May-14 19:38:04

Yanbu but did your hv not put you in touch with your local bf cafe/clinic or bf support worker?? I was offered all of that as a basic start but was unable to bf

Foodylicious Sun 04-May-14 19:39:46

YANBU but MWs & HVs cannot specialise in absolutely every aspect of ante and postnatal care.

Really glad you got the help you needed, I think this in an area that is being (slowly) improved/promoted in the NHS but like everything else, training costs time and money.

ikeaismylocal Sun 04-May-14 19:43:33

But if women give up breastfeeding they will have to pay for formula and bottles anyway. Breastfeeding is pretty much free, I dont think it's right to complain about paying for some advice/help.

MrsCakesPremonition Sun 04-May-14 19:43:35

I got help and support from NCT, La Leche League, my local BF Cafe at our Children's Centre. NCT BFing counsellors also visited baby groups and would do home visits if necessary. All for free. Have all these services been lost in the last couple of years?

MrsCakesPremonition Sun 04-May-14 19:44:23

I'm also surprised that your hospital didn't offer you support from a specialist BFing MW - they are fab in our area.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 04-May-14 19:44:39

I think every mother who says she will be/intends to BF should be given a consultation like you had OP before they leave hospital (or at home if home birth), i Know NHS is super stretched and this will never happen but i think it would make such a massive difference to women leaving hospital knowing they have had great advice and time spent with them to get it right from the start.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-May-14 19:45:48

The first time she met me was when DS was 10 days old and she did give me a leaflet with the Play Group sessions on but that was it. I next saw her when DS was 4 weeks old and I told her how frantic and how unhappy he was at the breast and that my nipples were cracked etc and she just said, "Ouch, that must be sore!" - and then the conversation moved on, she didn't ask me anything about my BF technique or acknowledge that cracked nipples aren't normal.

I went to a BF support group last week but the only reason I knew it existed was because a friend of mine works at the local children's centre and she told me about it.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 04-May-14 19:47:31

"But if women give up breastfeeding they will have to pay for formula and bottles anyway. Breastfeeding is pretty much free, I dont think it's right to complain about paying for some advice/help."


Many women BF precisely because they cant afford formula and bottles etc- why should they go without much needed support to feed their baby because they cant pay £100 for it?

FrontForward Sun 04-May-14 19:48:02

YANBU but MWs & HVs cannot specialise in absolutely every aspect of ante and postnatal care

Are we rally saying midwives and HV cannot specialise in giving breast feeding advice? To me that is an absolute basic part of their job?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-May-14 19:48:12

Mrscakes - the hospital did give me a whole list of numbers for BF help but unfortunately I live in a different county to the one I had the baby at. I rang the numbers the hospital gave me but because I was out of area they wouldn't travel to me, which is fair enough.

Sleeptimenow Sun 04-May-14 19:49:38

Yanbu. I'm really gad you managed to get things sorted in the end.

I struggled for over a week being told I just needed to persevere by the midwife and hv, despite me knowing something wasn't right. My baby scremed for hours when trying to feed, barely slept, wasn't swallowing and I had no feeling of let down or fullness, she became dehydrated (I ended up giving formula top ups at this point).
After a week I saw a different midwife who reluctantly agreed that something was wrong and rang a feeding consultant who gave her advice and ordered blood tests the next day which showed that my hormone levels weren't right- something I'd previously had problems with - and I wasn't making enough milk.

I ended up mix feeding and am still six months later so angry that I was made to feel like a moaning idiot and not listened to. They made me feel a failure for giving formula even though as a nurse I knew my baby was suffering and was in danger of becoming really ill. I haemorrhaged and was too ill and tired to get really angry and demand help earlier, but professionals should help women who are struggling not dismiss them.

ikeaismylocal Sun 04-May-14 19:50:00

Surely people having a baby just have some money put aside to feed their baby, what if you intend to breastfeed but the milk never comes in, there must be some sort offinacial backup plan, that is where the money for support should come from.

FrontForward Sun 04-May-14 19:50:05

I also agree that huge pressure is put on women to b/f. It's ridiculous to suggest that support should only be available to those who can afford it.

WooWooOwl Sun 04-May-14 19:50:24

There is free help available, maybe the problem is that it should be better publicised.

redexpat Sun 04-May-14 19:51:10

Did none of them give you the number for support services in your own county? YANBU BTW.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-May-14 19:51:42

Well said frontforward

I told my MW about issues I was having that indicated to me that hid attachment wasn't right but she just told me everything was fine. When I said the same thing to the L.C she just shook her head in exasperation and said they are all signs that indicate a problem.

And these weren't specialist issues I was having, just basic problems that MW and HV should be able to recognise and address.

MrsCakesPremonition Sun 04-May-14 19:54:05

So there was support available for free, but you couldn't access it because you were located out of area? It's a shame that the organisations involved couldn't signpost you to equivalent support in your area. Perhaps a letter to your HVs explaining the lack of information would be useful, especially if you feel that a lot of women might be in the same boat (giving birth in one area but trying to access support in another). The HVs should have picked up that you were falling through the gaps in information provision and support.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-May-14 19:55:09

redex - I doubt very much the hospital staff knew I lived in a different county as that would mean they'd have to read my notes smile The staff on the ward didn't even know that I had two medical conditions until I'd been on the ward for 2 days and they asked why I was taking tablets when they saw me doing so.....hmm

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 04-May-14 19:59:08

"Surely people having a baby just have some money put aside to feed their baby, what if you intend to breastfeed but the milk never comes in, there must be some sort offinacial backup plan, that is where the money for support should come from."

No. Not everyone can set aside money and depend very much on being able to feed their baby for free! Maybe £100 is easily set aside for you but for others that would take far too long, by which point BF could have totally failed. And what if more than one visit is required? £200? £300?? Just to get help to feed your baby sufficiently. Ridiculous.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 04-May-14 20:01:04

If those 45 minutes were dedicated to every BF mother at the very start of BFing there would be far fewer women struggling on with problems that are being overlooked by the professionals they see once out of hospital.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Sun 04-May-14 20:02:56

I have to agree with this. My oldest is six now but I was dismissed by my MW when telling her ds1 and I had thrush. She then insisted only he had thrush and I was sore because his mouth was sore and he wasn't latching properly.

She was utterly and completely ignorant of one of the major commonly occurring problems which makes breast feeding excrutiatingly painful. She also praised my latch when it was not correct, fortunately my sister is a breast feeding counsellor and helped me with my latch and she went to my HV with me and she treated ds1 and I for thrush right away.

I wasn't in a position to pay for advice and without it I wouldn't have been able to breastfeed.

ikeaismylocal Sun 04-May-14 20:05:33

If every woman was given 45 minutes of help it would be a huge waste as many women have no problems breastfeeding.

I'm shocked that people gave babies when they have no way of finding 100 pounds to help feed their child, do you think those woman who produce no milk or who have babies who can't suck should be given free bottles, formula and sterilisers? People should take some responsibility for the children they choose to bring into the world.

SueDoku Sun 04-May-14 20:07:20


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