So you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby? Great choice Mama.
But I want to know, what support do you have in place?
I’m asking because support will pretty much make or break your breastfeeding.
We all know that breastfeeding is natural. But it’s also a skill you need to learn. And when you learn anything, having help, support, and advice makes you more successful.
If you don’t know where to get support, don’t worry. You are absolutely not alone. You don’t need to struggle and give up.
In this guide, I’m going to show you where you can get breastfeeding support.
If you are pregnant, use this to prepare for breastfeeding. That means doing a bit of research, so you have easy access once your baby arrives.
Remember to pin this guide, so you have it to hand and spread the love to other mamas.
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15 Ways To Get Breastfeeding Support
This part of the guide is geared towards how to educate yourself about breastfeeding. Yep, that means you need to arm yourself with the knowledge to support yourself.
If this is your first rodeo, breastfeeding education will help you know what to expect, what’s normal and what’s not.
That way you know when you can solve a simple breastfeeding issue by yourself at home, or when you turn to a professional for further support and advice. Having a little knowledge will save you unnecessary stress.
I remember calling my hospitals breastfeeding support worker for a little advice, only to find out she was on vacation.
Luckily it was a minor issue, and I was able to find the answer myself. But that little bit of advice stopped me desperately reaching for the formula when it got to 2 am and I was at my wit’s end.
Let’s look at where you can get breastfeeding education.
1. Breastfeeding Books
Books are a great way to educate yourself about all things breastfeeding. When you learn the basics, you have a better understanding of what’s happening to your or your baby.
I’d advise you to buy at least one breastfeeding book and read it. I mean it. Don’t just buy it and then say you’ll come back to it later.
At very least, learn the basics of breastfeeding. Then if you run into breastfeeding problems, you can refer back to the book.
Now, there are hundreds of breastfeeding books. Some are excellent, and others aren’t that great.
These are a few books I’d Recommend:
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Made Simple
- The Complete Book of Breastfeeding
You can’t really go wrong with any of these books. I find some of them a little frilly, but the advice is solid.
Just a word of warning for reading breastfeeding books. The authors are often very anti-bottle feeding and pro-attachment parenting. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t follow their advice to the letter.
With that, I will say our modern lifestyle are often the reason we struggle to breastfeed. Our whole body is designed to have our baby constantly beside us and feeding. And for most women that isn’t possible.
I advise you to take the basics regarding ‘supply and demand’ and work them around your lifestyle. You won’t fail at breastfeeding because you give your baby a pacifier, pump a bottle of milk, don’t co-sleep or baby wear. Educate yourself on how it all works and do what works for you, your baby and your family.
2. Online Breastfeeding course
An online breastfeeding course is a great way to learn the basics of breastfeeding. It’s similar to a prenatal class, but you are taught by video rather than in person.
That means you can learn at your own pace. Rather than be bombarded in one class.
Unlike learning in person, you can rewind the videos and watch as many times as you need to.
An online breastfeeding course is great if you learn better by watching someone else first. Sometimes it’s easier to watch a mom and baby breastfeed rather than follow pictures in a book.
Here are my recommendations for online Breastfeeding courses by lactation consultants:
- Simply Breastfeeding by Cindy and Jana
- Milkology Ultimate Breastfeeding Class
- Lactation Link Breastfeeding Course
Some classes will go more in-depth than other, and that’s usually reflected in the price. Although the more expensive courses usually have a free mini-course, you can try first. It’s a good way to find out if the teaching style is right for you before you part with your cash.
3. Breastfeeding Websites
You already know that the internet is full of information packed blogs, right?
Well, you can use that to your advantage when breastfeeding. There are supportive breastfeeding sites everywhere. You just have to know where to look.
It’s sometimes hard to find good quality breastfeeding advice. You know, one that you can trust by someone who knows what they are talking about.
You can check out my breastfeeding section on Stork Mama for regular breastfeeding guides.
Other websites I’d recommend for breastfeeding are:
If you’re on Pinterest create your breastfeeding board. That way you can save breastfeeding articles you find useful. You’ll also find some great blogs to follow (Hint Hint you can follow Stork Mama here).
4. Prenatal class
Are you planning on taking a prenatal class?
Well, most courses will have a class dedicated to breastfeeding. That means you can get hands-on advice on how it all works before your baby arrives.
Expect lots of role-playing with dolls so you can practice positions.
Some of your classmates may ask questions that you haven’t thought of. That means if you run into problems when your baby arrives you’ve got a head start on how to fix it.
Before you book your prenatal classes, check out what topics they cover.
5. Ask Alexa
Do you have an Amazon Echo?
Well, Amazon has teamed up with breastfeeding brands Medela to answer common questions. Just say “Alexa, ask Medela about breastfeeding.”
This is so handy when your hands are full, and you can’t get to your phone to ask a quick question.
The great news is it’s not just restricted to breastfeeding advice. You’ll also find answers for pumping milk too. That means it continues to be a great source to use as your baby grows.
6. Breastfeeding Helplines
If you need a listening hear, a breastfeeding helpline is a good option. Having someone to chat to may help you to solve your problem a lot quicker.
A helpline is useful because you don’t feel so vulnerable or judged like you might with group or online.
Helplines may vary a lot with the type of support you get. Some may have you chat with a professional or volunteer moms who have breastfed themselves (peer support).
Check out these two breastfeeding helplines (Both open 24/7):
- La Leche League USA Breastfeeding Helpline: 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324)
- National Office on Women’s Health Helpline: 1 – 800-994-9662 (TDD 888-220-5446)
If you have a breastfeeding center in your area, they may have a local support line you can call within office hours.
7. Breastfeeding Forums
Forums are great to get support or advice from moms in the same boat as you. The good thing is you can ask for advice incognito. This may help you to talk about things that would make you feel embarrassed in real life.
You do have to remember that any advice you get is peer support and not professional training. This may mean that other suggest things that are a load of bull.
You may even be able to search previous posts and find the answer without asking.
If you don’t know where to start, simple google ‘breastfeeding forum.’ Most big pregnancy and baby member sites will have one.
8. Breastfeeding Facebook groups
If you’re on Facebook, have a search for Breastfeeding Groups. You’ll find some amazing closed groups that with thousands of followers. That’s a huge amount of support right at your fingertips.
When you post a question in a group like that, you’re sure t get lots of responses very quickly.
Plus there will be lots of other moms available 24/7 when they are up at night feeding their babies.
In Person Breastfeeding Support
This part of the guide is geared towards where to get face-to-face breastfeeding support. That means you have someone to physically support you with your breastfeeding issues.
This approach is ideal if you want to be helped tailored to your situation. I’d highly recommend this route if you have ongoing breastfeeding problems or severe issues which need a hands on assessment.
Let’s look at where you can get hands-on breastfeeding support.
9. Family & friends
When you can turn to someone you know and trust for support, it makes a world of difference.
They’ve been there and got the bruised nipples. They’ll want to help you avoid feeling like that and can help in those difficult first weeks.
Whether that’s simply offering you a hug, or useful breastfeeding tips to keep going.
Breastfeeding support doesn’t need to come from women who have breastfed. Your partner can help you too.
Get them involved by including them in your learning. Men love learning new skills, and they can help you out with the information they’ve read too.
Having your partner on board is especially handy if you need to team up against any a-hole family members that don’t like your breastfeeding. Having someone who’s got your back during an emotional time will keep you going.
10. Lactation consultant
A lactation consultant is someone who is professionally trained in breastfeeding support. They may be available at the hospital you deliver in. But you can also hire one independently.
That means they’ll come to your home and give hands-on advice as you feed.
Did you know that you can even hire without it costing you an arm and a leg?
The Affordable Care Act has made it that lactation support is available through most insurance plans. Check your policy or get in touch with your insurance company and ask.
Lactation consultant have seen pretty much every problem and breastfeeding situation possible. If you’re determined to keep breastfeeding, it’s well worth the expense.
To find someone in your area, check the find a lactation consultant search.
Your nurse or midwife should be trained in breastfeeding support. That means they can help you as much as possible after birth and before you go home.
The downside is that you won’t have that help available when you go home.
Use their knowledge as much as possible when you have them available. Ask those questions you think are silly. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
If your baby is born premature, NICU nurses are an excellent source for breastfeeding your premmie. They know the difficulties it presents and how important breastfeeding is to your baby’s recovery.
Did you know that certain hospitals are better at breastfeeding support than others?
If you are still to pick your place of birth, you may want to look out for a ‘Baby Friendly’ hospital. That means Unicef approves them for being a gold standard of breastfeeding support.
Is your hospital is baby friendly approved? Check out this list here.
12. Breastfeeding groups
A drop in breastfeeding group is a great way to meet other breastfeeding moms in your area.
These are handy if you don’t have any close friends or family who has breastfed their baby’s.
These groups are often set up by in community centers and make it easy for you to access the support for free.
Look for listings in your community, or ask your caregiver if they know what’s available in your area.
There’s nothing quite like spending time with like-minded people to help keep you on track. The other moms will be full of advice and be a shoulder for you to cry on when it’s tough.
A great place to start is by searching for a La Leche League group in your area.
If you are hiring a Doula, ask what kind of breastfeeding training she has.
Not all Doulas are trained in breastfeeding, but usually are if they provide postpartum services.
If your doula offer breastfeeding support, make the most of it. Have them observe you during a feed. They can offer support, tips, and advice to improve your breastfeeding.
Doulas are there to meet your needs as a mom. That means they should be supportive of choices such as exclusive pumping or combination feeding. All of these options have their challenges.
14. Breastfeeding Peer supporters
The amazing thing about the breastfeeding community is that so many women are willing to provide help for free.
Many moms volunteer as peer supporters because they want women to experience the joys or breastfeeding. Or they want them to avoid problems they suffered themselves.
Although peer supporters don’t have professional training, the organizations they work with often have standards to qualify. They are all breastfeeding moms who have breastfed for a specified period. They should have gone through at least basic breastfeeding training.
That means you have a knowledgeable mom who can help you with various problems breastfeeding present as your baby grows.
Peer support can be found at breastfeeding groups (as mentioned above) or through local charities or organizations. Ask around to find out what’s available in your area. You’ll be surprised as to how much is available.
15. Breastfeeding Center
A breastfeeding center is a space dedicated to supporting breastfeeding problems. Run by professionals, it usually consists of phone and in-person system.
You’ll be encouraged to self-refer yourself for help. That means you call them with your issue and you’ll receive advice over the phone. The centre will give you a consultation appointment when you need seen in person.
Breastfeeding centers may run some of the support groups in your area. They may also have a breastfeeding store, and refer you to services such as prenatal classes or private lactation consultants.
They are a wealth of information for all things breastfeeding in your area. By the way, if you give birth in a baby friendly hospital, they should provide you with information on any breastfeeding centers in your area.
Breastfeeding is a time you need support to succeed.
Knowing where to look will make all the difference to your breastfeeding success.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and find out just what’s available in your area. You’ll be surprised where you can learn about breastfeeding and get advice.
And now you know how.
You’ve got this mama.