As a Medela Mum I was very happy to take part in #TheBigBreastfeedingCafe, a nationwide campaign, which is all about mum-to-mum breastfeeding support. My café wasn’t very big, in fact it was just myself and a befriended mum-to-be. I’ve been on a look out for breastfeeding or expectant mums on local playgroups and playgrounds, hoping to invite them, but unfortunately most new mums ended up giving formula to their babies for various reasons.
In a way it was quite nice to have just the one mum to talk to and offer her advice on breastfeeding – based on my modest experience of feeding two kids and Medela’s lactation consultant’s tips. It was also very handy that she had her antenatal breastfeeding class just a couple of hours before we met up.
My guest’s biggest concern was whether she will be able to breastfeed at all. The uptake of breastfeeding is so low in UK that many women are convinced that they won’t be able to feed. Which I think is sad. In theory NHS provides lots of support, but sadly it’s often not easy to get help – I wrote about it last week and many of you shared your experiences in comments. It seems like sometimes you have to fight the staff to be able to breastfeed, as they suggest the formula as the preferred option. The best advice I was able to offer was to make sure that baby is latching on before they leave the hospital. Once you are out of the hospital help is likely to be harder to reach.
Apologies for the quality of the picture, but sadly Daddy is not a photo buff!
Her second concern was how to continue breastfeeding once she is back at work, she will have to go back after just 4 months. Here is an excellent guide on what the employer is obliged to do by law when it comes to breastfeeding mothers (I only found it now and so I wasn’t able to give this information to my friend). It turns out that the employer is not required by law to offer extra breaks for breastfeeding or expressing, but he is supposed to provide a safe and hygienic place to express (not a toilet!).
I think the challenge my friend is facing is trying to feed at night and then getting up for a long day at work. She has agreed with her employer that she will work 4 long days a week – 7.30 am to 5.30 pm – and have 3 days off with her family. I am worried for her, as broken sleep and long days at work will leave her tired, which can affect her milk production, as well as her mood and enjoyment of the new family member.
I was lucky to be able to feed Big F for nearly a year, before I went back to work, so I didn’t have to face the problem of expressing milk at work. And being a full time mum and blogger expressing is not a challenge I have to include in my daily life with Little S. I only have the need to express if I want to have a (much welcomed and needed!) break.
Apart from the advice I was very happy to offer my friend some Medela breastfeeding goodies, which will hopefully help her have a good start with breastfeeding. Gurgle parenting magazine was also involved in supporting #TheBigBreastfeedingCafe, so my guest now has the latest issue of the magazine to read during the long feeding sessions.
It was a lovely afternoon, and I hope I was able to offer some help and reassurance to my friend. We were chatting so much we forgot to eat lovely strawberry muffins Big F helped me prepare!
PS. This post was written as a part of my ambassadorial role with Medela. We have been sent Medela breastfeeding pumps and paraphernalia in exchange for reviews and taking part in events like this. All the opinions are my own and honest.