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breastfeeding counsellors for first time mum trying to breast feed post breast reduction

(26 Posts)
Thandeka Fri 21-Aug-09 20:25:27

Baby not due for a bit (feb) but doing some research in advance as I have a feeling I will struggle with breast feeding and will need additional support (I had a large breast reduction 9 years ago and there are no guarentees I will be able to bfeed- one nipple is not really functioning properly anymore). My hospital know this but the issue is we may be moving house and although I may still birth at my chosen hospital I would have to have my postatal care transferred and am worried I may slip through the net in terms of support as no continuity of care.

So how does it work with breastfeeding counsellors? Are they free attached to a hospital or do you have to pay them? Are there Bfeeding counsellors experienced with helping women bfeed after surgery?

Am a bit of a newbie to all this so apologies if these are stupid questions!

thisisyesterday Fri 21-Aug-09 20:28:51

have a look for a local bay cafe
many have lactation consultanta and/or bfc

and local LLL groups

MrsHappy Fri 21-Aug-09 20:38:32

Hi Thandeka
The first thing is that you should insist on staying in the hospital until you are happy with feeding. Even if it takes a few days and you could, for all other reasons, go home sooner.

The hospital may have a breastfeeding counsellor, or a MW with a particular interest in BF. I would raise this as an issue at your AN appointments and make sure they know you might want extra support. You could also ask them to make sure that your community midwives are made aware of your concerns before you are discharged from the hospital.

Also contact LLL and see if they can recommend someone in your area. At least get their number so that you can call them easily.

After you have gone home and have been discharged by the community midwives (2 weeks after birth) if you need ongoing advice your local HVs (who will hopefully come to see you on day 15) ought to know where there is a free local breastfeeding clinic. Surestart run a load and you may be able to get info from your local council.

Finally, as TIY suggests, try babycafe if there is one near you.

Where are you moving to? Are you leaving the area completely? (A bit nosy, but I know you are not far from me atm!).

Thandeka Fri 21-Aug-09 20:49:37

Thanks guys. great help there. Boo on staying in hospital though- although I totally get that is sensible- I was hoping for 6hour disharge! Want to be with DH not on crummy postnatal ward.

Thanks for all the links- will get storing them and emailing and make sure DH knows about them too so when I am hysterical in hormonal tears he knows what to do!

Waves at the fab MrsHappy the guru of all that is water . We are looking at moving to walthamstow as we can just about afford to buy a house there- can't afford a house anywhere else and fed up of flat living! Means swapping from Whittington to Homerton or Whipps Cross. Think I slightly favour Homerton but would prefer to birth at Whittington still although I imagine a drive along north circ in labour won't be too much fun!

MrsHappy Fri 21-Aug-09 20:53:46

Are you going in the birth centre? It looks lovely.
I know what you mean about staying in, but sometimes hospitals can be a bit discharge-happy and going home to find BF hard all on your own can be a bit much. I'd just make sure that I had a couple of feeds under my belt before I went home!

Thandeka Fri 21-Aug-09 21:01:07

hoping to do birth centre but quite prepared to demand epidural (and hence I think they kick me out to another place) if I need to.

Yeah at least a couple of feeds sounds like a good plan. I will raise it again with midwife at appointment next week and just try and keep raising it to keep in their consciousness (aka be a pain in the butt about it ) so I get the support I need.

MrsHappy Fri 21-Aug-09 21:10:10

Well, with any luck I will be in there in about 9-11 weeks, so will report back on it (assuming my VBAC happens!)

Oh and don't worry about the possibly non-functioning nipple. Very few of us are symmetrical and so my DD had a massive preference for one side over the other (different shaped nips). I know of one women who had constant thrush on one side and so fed solely on the other for months. She was lop-sided but who cares?!

Thandeka Fri 21-Aug-09 21:13:46

Good luck! Love to know how it goes.

Ta for all the advice.

BertieBotts Fri 21-Aug-09 21:14:32

Most breastfeeding counsellors are volunteers and work for one of the breastfeeding charities. In our area the only option is NCT (the NCT lady runs drop-ins) but there are also bfcs and peer supporters attached to the local children's centre - in fact I am doing the training to become a peer supporter next month. The children's centre are more likely to be involved with the health visitors and midwives.

I would contact LLL, NCT, any baby cafes and your local children's centre before the birth to find out what local support there is available.

Gingerbics Sat 22-Aug-09 20:58:28

Hi Thankdeka
First of all congratulations. I too had breast reduction about 4years before I had my first baby 2yrs ago.
I really didn't know what to expect but one of the infant feeding specialist midwives at the hospital devised me a plan to take into hospital with me.
She actually suggested I start expressing from 37weeks, I got very small amounts of colostrum (surprisingly) which i froze in little ice cube trays with seperate lids.She said this wouldn't make any difference to my milk supply but would mean if breastfeeding took a while to get going, I could feed my baby some colostrum in those first few days.

So... when I finally had my baby at 39weeks I arrived at the hospital with my little pots of milk (the midwives were quite surprised and obviously not used to this).
My baby was small for dates at 5.10 and very sleepy so from day 1 I gave breast (if she would actually suck, otherwise lots of skin to skin) and formula or expressed breast milk top ups.
To be honest i did need to continue doing breast and bottle as my supply wasn't enough, but to be honest I was so chuffed to be able to give any breastmilk as really thought I wouldn't be able to.
Good luck and feel free to ask any more questions.

Thandeka Sun 23-Aug-09 09:36:11

Gingerbics that is so helpful thankyou!

Sorry I have a zillion questions! (and will probably think of more!)

Did your boobs grow much when you were pregnant? As mine haven't really grown yet at all (but there is still plenty of time- have read horror stories of boobs returning to pre reduction size after pregnancy- nightmare!) and I read that may mean unable to breastfeed as the milk ducts aren't functioning properly.

How do you know if your supply isnt enough? Baby doesnt gain weight? seems hungry? or comes off boob coz there is no more left? That is something that worries me inadvertently starving bub coz I dont know what my supply is like!

Were you able to breastfeed at nightfeeds? (as I am a lazy bugger and really want to BF then so I dont have to get out of bed- but bottle feeding isnt as bad in the day I suppose!)

What breast pump did you use to express before bub was born and would you recommend it? Bit scared of spending a lot of money on a hi-tech one only to not be able to bfeed. So was thinking a cheapie handheld pump but then maybe that wont work on me!

I love the expressing from 37weeks idea- Did you take your little pots of milk in a freezer bag- did they need to be refrozen while in labour and then defrosted and warmed when needed? I have no clue about the ins and outs of dealing with frozen expressed breast milk! Or breast milk /formula milk in general- probably a good job I am starting this research now- by my due date I will probably have amassed enough knowledge for a post grad diploma in baby feeding!

Thanks so much for your help and sorry for the bombardment of questions!

Gingerbics Mon 24-Aug-09 20:18:05

Hi no worries re: questions, I'm happy to help.

My boobs hardly grew at all during pregnancy or after, mainly got slightly fuller looking it certainly wasn't a problem.

I guess the babies weight would be a good indicator that they're getting enough, also plenty of wet and dirty nappies. You may be advised to offer top ups from the start but have a chat with your midwife. I did as my baby was small and had low blood sugars so we had to be sure she was getting plenty. As time went on I did manage the odd feeds without topping up as she seemed really content after but I probably topped up 9 out of 10 feeds.

I'm trying to remember if I breastfed at night, I think I offered her the breast each feed but if she didn't seem interested(particularly at night) I gave her Aptamil first or any expressed milk I had.

Regrading which pump someone had lent me an old Medela electric pump, very noisy but quite effective, apparently the new Medela swing is really good. I then used just the Avent hand pump which was fine but with all that pumping I was getting RSI so ended up hiring a Medela double pump which was great and meant you could pump 2 boobs at once in half the time! As I was getting some milk it was worth hiring the pump. I did find it exhausting as most feeds I'd offer the boob, then top up, then pump so really time consuming and tiring so my advice is just take it a feed at a time and don't set yourself any unrealistic targets.

Yes I took little pots of milk into the hospital, took them out of the freezer on way to hospital and the staff put them in the fridge, by the time she was born there was enough to give her a little feed after I'd had her skin to skin and put her on the boob. I only had a bout 5-10mls in each pot, so really not big volumes but with the colostrum only small amounts are needed as its so rich and creamy with lots of nutrients and good stuff.

Feel free to ask any more questions, I don't always get on every day but I'll reply as soon as I can smile

elkiedee Wed 26-Aug-09 21:20:29

Hi Thandeka

Where are you? The Whittington is one of my local hospitals and where I had both my babies. If you're able to get to groups during the day our local breastfeeding groups at Woodlands Park, Stonecroft, Rowland Hill and I think there's another one, welcome pregnant women who want to prepare as well. You could contact the NCT breastfeeding counsellors, who work as volunteers, and there's a woman who works for Haringey PCT, and there are other people around in this area. All of these should be able to approach you for free. If you move before your baby is born, or even know that you're going to, then bf support groups will hopefully be available there and operate on the same basis, and the local NCT website will have details of their bf counsellors.

Thandeka Thu 27-Aug-09 08:43:27

Thanks Gingerbics that help is awesome- am sure I will come up with more questions shortly!

Elkiedee thankyou so much very helpful- I am wood green so already a bit of a trek to the Whittington and in meantime we just had an offer accepted on a house in Walthamstow so will hopefully be in by december (gulp!). So looks like will either transfer to Homerton (despite whipps cross being very close now- I just am a bit scared of that place from reading mumsnet!) or will transfer postnatal care there and have a mad dash round North Circ in labour. Yay!

Yikes! So will need to get all my Bfeeding support in place well in advance.

suwoo Thu 27-Aug-09 08:59:39

Quick post as bf. I had large reduction 14 years ago and am exclusively bf my DS2. Will be back on later.

pinkpeony Fri 28-Aug-09 17:02:58

Hi Thandeka, there are a couple of books you can find on Amazon by a lactation consultant called Diane West who specialises in breastfeeding after reduction surgery. One is called "Making More Milk" (the more recent one) and one called "Defining Your Own Success". There is also a website that gives a lot of information on the topic These should answer a lot of your questions on the subject. Good luck!

suwoo Mon 31-Aug-09 08:31:19

I've read defining your own success and it was excellent. I need to return it to its owner, was it you pinkpeony?

<<needs to check emails>>

suwoo Mon 31-Aug-09 08:43:39

Aah, it was 'you'. I've sent you an email you.

Your name is very confusing in posts wink

Good luck Thandeka.

Thandeka Mon 31-Aug-09 09:15:12

Yup I am borrowing after you Suwoo!

Managed to get a free breast pump and steriliser using my tesco vouchers the other day so am starting to get prepared.... Have midwife appointment on tuesday so will chat to her more then.

Am so glad for mumsnet and all this support!

suwoo Mon 31-Aug-09 09:34:18

Email me on and I can send it straight on to you then. I have just bought a Medela supplemental nursing system from Ebay, that may be useful for you- you can have mine as hopefully I can finish top ups soon.

you Mon 31-Aug-09 14:03:27

Oh that's a good idea, thanks Suwoo, you can send it straight on to thandeka if that's alright! Have been following your threads btw, you're doing wonderfully with your feeding, you must be so proud, well done you! grin

Thandeka- the 'making more milk' book is truly excellent as well- can post you that one too if you like? although there is a chapter in the bfar book that sums a lot of it up.

Well done for getting all this stuff sorted antenatally btw, if i could go back in time I would do exactly that.

Thandeka Tue 01-Sep-09 11:00:59

Suwoo - you have mail. (You are awesome BTW!)

You (are you also Pinkpeony? am confused now!) - borrowing "making more milk" would be awesome- did I email you my address? If not email me on thandekatotango at hotmail dot com.

suwoo Tue 01-Sep-09 11:07:29

Thanks Thandeka grin

Thandeka Tue 01-Sep-09 13:38:05

am now booked onto a breastfeeding class in december.

Thandeka is armed with knowledge and dangerous!

fishie Tue 01-Sep-09 13:47:27

Hello Thandeka. i am in east london and got fab support from a Breastfeeding Network bfc - helpline no is 0300 100 0210 and hopefully would go through to her.

I think it would be a good idea to contact someone before you give birth and it seems sensible to start with someone you know has had proper training (which your mw or hv may not neccessarily have, I had to get out of hospital to get bf help).

This was a few years ago, there weren't any NCT or LLL counsellors in the area then but of course it is a very transient population.

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