Being a new parent is amazing but it’s also one of the hardest times of our lives: it can feel very isolating and mothers tend to have very high expectations of themselves. Breastfriends is a lovely place to come and share your experiences with other mums; where it’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed and to feel you’re not alone.
“I really wasn’t sure what to expect from a breastfeeding group, so I was a bit apprehensive about going,” says Emily about her first time at the group. “As soon as I walked through the door, I realised there were people from all walks of life. It’s a lovely place to go every week.”
To Claire, the group has been an invaluable source of comfort: “Breastfeeding support was incredible. They were beyond encouraging. Without them I’d be a crumbling mess and pile of goo. Feeding is so different for every baby, and it’s been wonderful to be able to share stories.”
Every week is different: it may be a new mum who needs to talk or have a peer supporter observe how their baby feeds – sometimes small adjustments can make feeding a lot more effective. Often mums who feel that their previous breastfeeding experience didn’t go to plan talk with peer supporters who offer a ‘debrief’: a sensitive, non-judgemental chance to reflect on the issues they faced. Parents might have a particular question, just need a good old moan or simply to get out the house. They also encourage expectant and future mums to come along to meet the team and learn about breastfeeding basics. Partners and siblings are more than welcome too.
The peer supporters are all volunteer mums who have breastfed their babies. Between them, they’ve come across most challenges that parenting has to offer! They have first-hand experience of overcoming shallow latch, tongue tie, mastitis, expressing and pumping, weight gain issues, premature babies, tandem feeding, nursing toddlers, thrush, combination bottle feeding, returning to exclusive breastfeeding, and healing sore nipples.
They are all expertly trained by Real Baby Milk and undergo DBS checks and annual update training in line with the UNICEF Baby-friendly Initiative. In fact, one of the founders of the group is now a trainer for Real Baby Milk. Among their ranks is also a GP with a specialism in breastcare, a babywearing expert, a mother of five, hospital peer supporters, a birth-doula and a rocket scientist (not really, but they could be!)
Breastfriends Hayle has just launched a new Facebook group where mums can ask questions, connect with each other and peer supporters share information so that mums are supported 7 days a week.
There are other breastfeeding support groups across the county – see our clubs & classes pages or visit the Real Baby Milk website.