Who can help?
Breastfeeding experts in the UK
Many women breastfeed with no difficulties and enjoy every moment. Many face challenges at the start or later on. It’s your right to get all the help you need to breastfeed your baby. You deserve kind, well-informed support. Fortunately, it’s out there for you!
Have a look at our How Breastfeeding Works pages for some basic information. And find the people who will be your team and walk with you through your breastfeeding journey…..
Your Midwife, Maternity Care Assistant, Health Visitor or Nursery Nurse can be very helpful – if they’ve had the chance to get updated. The Baby Friendly Initiative provides training, and assesses standards. So if your local maternity hospital or community service is going Baby Friendly, you’ll get good support. GPs don’t usually get a lot of training in how breastfeeding works – some are better able to help than others. As ever, if the first person you ask can’t help with the difficulty you’re facing, ask somebody else.
Four charities in the UK provide help and information. Their Breastfeeding Counsellors go through a lengthy training – they can help with all the common breastfeeding difficulties. Their services are offered free of charge (donations welcome).
La Leche League (it means ‘the milk’ and comes from Spanish) is an international organisation founded in 1956. It provides mother-to-mother help, support and information for mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. They run groups and helplines, and offer online help forms. For help in many countries and languages, see La Leche League International
In the UK, it’s
This is the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers: www.abm.me.com
Here’s the Breastfeeding Network:
National Childbirth Trust (nct) is here:
The National Helpline
is answered by volunteer Breastfeeding Counsellors – those well-trained, highly-skilled experts:
National Helpline 0300 100 0212
How can a phone call help?
The Breastfeeding Counsellor who answers has had a baby too, and understands how important this is to you. She’ll listen to your whole story, ask some questions to make sure she understands, and listen more. She’ll share information about breastfeeding, maybe the missing piece of the puzzle. With her extensive training, and your knowledge of your baby and your body, you can work together to figure out what’s happening and why. If you’re talking through the details of how to help your baby latch on, you can be sure she’ll be living it through herself as you talk! Together you can make a step by step plan to get breastfeeding working better. She’ll give you links to read more or see video clips, to resolve many difficulties. There’s nearly always a breastfeeding solution to a breastfeeding problem. She can help you work out what to say if there are issues to discuss with your health care team, and point you to other sources of information if needed.
I’m referring to Breastfeeding Counsellors as ‘she’ because most are; there are some who identify as other genders. All have information to assist nursing parents of any gender, and welcome calls from all varieties of family.
If you need specialist one-to-one help and can pay a fee, you can find a local Lactation Consultant (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or IBCLC) at: Lactation Consultants Great Britain
or International Lactation Consultants Association ILCA
give mother-to-mother support for everyday difficulties, in groups where parents can chat. They have been trained by Lactation Consultants or Breastfeeding Counsellors or NHS staff, for a few weeks. They will refer you on to a Breastfeeding Counsellor or Lactation Consultant if you need more focused assistance.
Who are all these people? Which one do I need?
Find all the details here.
(This is a guinea pig with her babies. She is not a qualified breastfeeding helper, so far as I know.)