I breastfed my little one for the first 8 months of her life. I’m not one of those Breastfeeding Nazi Mum’s (at least I hope I’m not!) but I wanted to try to do what I thought was the best for my baby. She wasn’t exclusively breastfed as we had several complications. The first 9 weeks of feeding were hellish. However, without the support of the the staff at North Hants Hospital and the Basingstoke Breastfeeding Counsellors we wouldn’t have managed more than a day.
I would have liked to have gone on beyond 8 months but I was forced to return to work when my little one was 5 1/2 months old. By the time she was 8 months old I was so exhausted from having to get up at 6am to express. Nobody mentioned to me that I didn’t need to stop breastfeeding completely, that I could have carried on doing the last feed of the day.
If you are hoping to breastfeed your baby I recommend checking some of the links below in advance of giving birth. I also recommend touching base with one of the breastfeeding counsellors in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, if only so you have a face you recognise if you need to see a counsellor. The counsellors at North Hants Hospital will only allow you to visit them up to your babies 28th day. I know this because I needed an appointment and they wouldn’t make one for me because my baby would have been 29 days old.
So I went to see Rachel at the Baby clinic at Chineham Christchurch. She is lovely and incredibly knowledgable. She picked up on feeding problems that many in the medical profession had missed. I had been to see Rachel in my first few weeks of maternity leave, before my baby was born and I was so glad I had met her before “needing” her support in those first few weeks. I also saw Sarah who was at the Nest, Basingstoke Baptist Church, Brighton Hill. She was so lovely when I collapsed in a heap of tears at about week four when things were just awful.
These ladies and their colleagues do an absolutely fantastic job. I cannot thank them enough for their support during one of the most intense periods of my life. If you are finding breastfeeding a struggle I urge you to reach out to these wonderful ladies.
Another recommendation I would make is that you find out in advance who can take you to the breastfeeding clinics if your partner cannot get time off work and/or you need support after the first two weeks. You never know if you will be able to drive after giving birth (emergency caesarean’s). The Health visitors are great but they cannot come and see you every day. I wish I’d had that list of people I could have called who were able, or prepared, to take me to the clinic when I needed them too. Even a list of taxi numbers would have been a start. Those first few weeks are challenging enough!
Remember though, if you cannot or choose not to breastfeed it DOESN’T make you a bad Mum. I lost sight of this at the beginning and I wish someone had said this to me at the time. Best of luck and if you need help, PLEASE reach out.
A Map of Breastfeeding support in Hampshire: http://www.breastfeedingcommunity.co.uk/interactivemap/south.htm
The Breast Feeding network – Basingstoke on Facebook is also a great resource and I wish I’d known of it beforehand.
The official Basingstoke Breastfeeding Network web page. Another great resource.
Several of the Children’s Centres in Basingstoke also provide breastfeeding support, e.g. Octopus and Pebbles. Click here for details on Children Centres in Basingstoke
Please also see the great comment from Fumblina below about the NCT breastfeeding support in Basingstoke. My bad for not including the NCT in the original post!