advice on preparation to BF(13 Posts)
I am in my second trimester and has just been laid off work. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a breastfeeding workshop while I am still mobile and feel well. What would be your advice to somebody like me? Is it too early? Should I do a workshop now or is it better to pay for help with it after I give birth? I don't think I can really rely on NHS with it.
Afraid I didn't do a course so can't advise on that (though bumping for someone who can!). I really studied the photos + instructions in the NCT Bumps & Babies magazine and any other pregnancy mags (I think Emma's Diary etc had some) and I also picked up a Practical Parenting guide to breastfeeding which I read through before DD arrived. I think having a look at positioning etc was really useful, though in the event DD proved to be a natural (and still a boob-monster at just over a year!).
If you have a local Surestart centre, could you go along to some of their breastfeeding groups maybe? Just may be useful to see bfing in practice and perhaps meet your local NHS counsellors. Or check out your local NCT group perhaps.
Yes a bf workshop before the birth is a good idea. I recommend NCT because they are usually run by bf counsellors who also have drop-in sessions and/or are available for phone or face to face support. I felt so much happier going to someone I'd met before for advice after the birth, and I think the course was really helpful. I actually did mine as part of NCT classes which I also found a really good preparation for birth in general, but they seem to vary a lot by area.
Please also consider La Leche League, for before and after
Good luck with the pregnancy and birth.
NCT and La Leche League are both good sources of info, but you have to pay for these. NCT does a good breastfeeding book as well, very clear and easy to read.
I found my NHS antenatal group v useful for bfeeding info.
Since having my boys, I have been attending a breastfeeding drop-in at my local Children's Centre. This has been a huge source of support and they are usually open to expectant mums to. You can ask your midwife or GP for details of your local one - there seem to be quite a few around.
Also speak to as many women who have or are breastfeeding as possible for their insights.
I think the more informed you are, the more you are able to deal with all the advice that gets thrown at you when your baby is just arrived - naturally everyone has an opinion as there is no right or wrong way to breastfeed, just your way, if that makes sense.
You may find it really challenging at first - I haven't yet spoken to a woman who hasn't - but I can promise you that, five months down the line with twins, I am very glad to be breastfeeding and it is totally worth it.
My local hospital had a weekly antenatal class and I found it really useful the week I went - I know NHS provision varies around the country but don't write it off completely!
Definitely best to do it beforehand, things I was told in the class came back to me, even dazed and confused as I was after labour. I went at about 36 weeks but I probably should have gone earlier to be on the safe side. The class also helped me pull together the reading I had been doing into something a bit more coherent.
This was then reinforced with the practical, hands on (sometimes very hands on!)help of the MWs on the ward and at home (special thanks must go to the MW on the night shift who taught me how to feed lying down on my side - a lifesaver in the middle of the night!)
Talk to your community midwife about what local help there is - be it a Baby Cafe or BF drop-in's or BF Counsellors employed by your NHS PCT - hands-on help is brilliant. I imagine they'd make you very welcome at Baby Cafe or BF drop-in whilst you're preggers and it wouldn't cost you a bean. I had NHS help and they were superb - they even loaned me a hospital grade breast pump for free for a month (would have cost me over £60 privately). May as well look at what free help you can get before you pay for an NCT workshop or similar.
I believe your community midwife ought to also give you a DVD called From Bump to Breastfeeding.
If you have a Mothercare nearby they probably have a nursing room - often there are leaflets and posters about all the local drop-ins and support groups in the nursing rooms.
Get your partner on-side. Research shows that partner support really makes a difference. I made DP promise not to let me give up, no matter what happened. Bless him he was brilliant. He bodily dragged me to the local drop-in to get help (on his birthday!) and learned how to help us with the latch and he would sit and feed me, whilst I was lying down feeding DD and he brought me a very small glass of red wine when it all got too much on day 5 and I was sobbing and overwhelmed - all-in-all he was bloody marvellous. He still is
Fill your freezer with casseroles and stuff you can easily just warm up so that you have something nice to eat when the baby comes. We lived on toast and cereal and it ain't good!
One thing that I found helpful, but is a bit controversial was to really limit visitors. I did spend probably 10 of the first 14 days with my knockers hanging out for at least 12 hours a day and I couldn't have done that with a myriad of folks trooping in and out of the house. And newborns need feeding a lot.
Thank you so much, everybody, for your advice. I don't really have a lot of friends with young babies and our families are far away so there isn't anybody overwhelming me with advice. I've signed up to an NCT group but it's not until January. I guess I can just read as much as possible until then. La leche league sounds good but I'd rather have a "show and tell" than talk over the phone so may be a bit later.
It's a good idea to think about it and find out what support there is locally before the birth - in my area actually the NHS is involved in a lot of the support but knowing who to contact as soon as I had difficulty would have made a huge difference to me with my first baby - it did help me a lot to breastfeed ds2 after not being able to with ds1, that I actually knew some names and faces and wasn't trying to find my way through phone numbers and answerphones.
If there's a breastfeeding group locally it will be open to pregnant women - might be good to go along and have a cup of tea and chat to people a bit and then you'll know the group if you feel you need it after baby's born.
NCT breastfeeding support eg from a bf counsellor is free. You can also contact the NCT in your area and see if there are local teas etc - these are open to pregnant women as well as ones with babies, and you don't have to have decided to join yet to go along and meet people and find out more about it - with my first baby I did a postnatal course and went to a couple of teas before I joined.
As well as any classes you can attend, I would recommend reading as much as you can about it.
kellymom has some good stuff on what to expect in the first days and weeks and also some hints and tips on troubleshooting. There are also books like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and this one by Sharon Trotter which can help as well. Also, finding out what local support is available before the baby is born and making sure you have those numbers to hand with you in hospital is key.
I failed miserably to feed my DS1 beyond six weeks due to a lack of support, and not knowing what was wrong. With my DD five years later, I had found MN, kellymom and a whole host of other information and although I was pragmatic when first pregnant about whether or not I would succeed, the more I read, the more I felt I could.
My main piece of advice though would be "forewarned is forearmed" as this will help you to recognise any problems before they get to crisis point.
Congratualtions and Good Luck
La Leche meetings are free to attend. GO along to a meeting. There will be women breastfeeding at the meeting. Might be useful to know about your local group before the birth
Like millimummy said La Leche League is free to attend. Some groups do antenatal sessions at their meetings (my local one does one every 8 weeks).
You can find your local group on here. PLus lots of really useful other stuff. Going along before you have your baby is helpful because it's alot easier to phone someone or walk ito a group needing help if you already know them rather than having to face a load of strangers days after you've given birth and are all hormonal.
Check whether your January NCT course has a breastfeeding workshop included in it already - mine did. You may already have one lined up...
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