This is a special post dedicated to my local breastfeeding drop in groups – the Milk Spot service which helps mums across Lambeth, South London and is run by the very fantastic Beverley Radley (check out the award she won here, much deserved!) I wanted to write a post about how fab this service is, because it’s such an amazing service and yet funding is always an issue. If you’re based in Lambeth, click here to find your nearest Milk Spot. Here is also a helpful NCT link with BFing support in SW London.
There is very much a need for this service and, instead of just me banging on about how fabulous it is, you’ve got the words of lots of other mums who use the service. And, I thought, why stop there – why not gather the words of women across the country who use their local BFing drop-ins and how crucial that support is to breastfeeding mums. So here you go!
Milk Spot Testimonials:
“I can safely say that without Milk Spot I would not be breastfeeding Baby Thor. It saddens me to think that there are women around the country who can’t access wonderful BFing support because there isn’t the funding, knowledge or training support available. It is a vital part of post-natal support in my opinion. There are too few health visitors and midwives and GPs – and mums – who really understand issues affecting breastfeeding mothers and the tricky early days. After Baby Thor was in SCBU with weightloss and other health issues – and had to have EBM by nose tube/bottle – it was thanks to Beverley and Sally that I managed to learn to breastfeed and wean him off the bottle. We have now been BFing for over 6months. I still attend my milk spot though, at Hitherfield, so I can chat to other mums and perhaps just provide a listening ear and a bit of cheerleading for new mums learning to breastfeed. I hope to train as a peer supporter so I can give back some of the support I received. Milk Spot has also been good for Baby Thor, I am sure he is such a sociable baby because he has been socialising and meeting other mums and babies since he was 2 weeks old!” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“Milk Spot provided me with invaluable support in the first few weeks and months of breastfeeding. My breastfeeding experience has been very difficult and if it was not for the wonderful, patient and knowledgeable midwifes at the Milk Spot I would have given up. They offer not only practical advice but also emotional support and most importantly encouragement. When I was unable to breastfeed my son at the hospital after he was born I was judged and made to feel like a failure by some staff there. I lost a lot of confidence because of this. Beverly and Sally always made the point of telling me how well I was doing. In addition Milk Spot offers a relaxed and non-judgmental environment to get more confident about breastfeeding in public, meet other mums and share our stories. I would recommend going to a Milk Spot to every new mum whether they struggle with breastfeeding or not.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“I found Breastfeeding each of my babies unexpectedly challenging and the milk spot groups have been a hugely invaluable support. Without them i would never have achieved successful breastfeeding as my problems were varied and i needed ongoing support to unravel them. The milk spot groups were there when I really needed them and I have not found similar support anywhere else. I’ve been to a group almost every week for the last 2 years and am still learning loads as my needs change and I have questions about things like weaning and going back to work. Its brilliant to talk to the specialist midwives, and also to other mums with shared experiences in an environment where no one is shy about Breastfeeding. I have been to lots of different groups at different times and days, and they all have different atmospheres and strengths. The midwives there have given me huge support and specialist advice that I would never have got from my doctor, nurse, health visitor, NCT group or other local mums – all of whom seemed to know very little about how to tackle common Breastfeeding questions which has disappointed and alarmed me. In my experience most advice was to simply go on to formula rather than identify and work through problems – so having the milk spots to help me to help myself was the big deciding factor in my successful establishment and achievement of comfortable and happy ongoing Breastfeeding for both of my daughters.
My eldest is now 2 years old and I feel confident to still Breastfeed her when she wants to. The midwifes spotted that I was enjoying supporting other new mums by sharing my new found knowledge and experiences so they offered me some free training to help me be a more formal volunteer helper at the groups. The training has been fascinating and made me feel like I can give some of the support I’ve received back to others. Even with everything I know now, i still found establishing Breastfeeding my second child a real challenge, and it took 3 months to get into the swing of it. Just another thing that shows me how invaluable the groups are to help mums who really want to Breastfeed – no matter what our experience or background, we all need a common space to support each other as we grow a healthy next generation.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
The Milk Spot service is an absolutely essential provision for all breast feeding mums in Lambeth. Breastfeeding is not easy and the advice my partner and I were given by the experts was crucial to me being able to breastfeed my daughter instead of bottle feeding. The support and the advice that Milk Spot offers is an extremely important service. I have numerous friends who live elsewhere who bottle fed because they were not able to access good breast feeding support despite having every intention of making it work. Considering the WHO guidance for all children to be breast fed up to the age of 2, and the countless health benefits of breastfeeding, a decision to cut funding to this service would be short sighted and have ramifications on the health of our borough’s new generation.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“I’ve used the Hitherfield milk spot and had telephone support and a couple of home visits from Beverley, the amazing midwife. Without her support and that of a private lactation consultant I also saw (due to my own hospital giving virtually no support whatsoever) in my early weeks I don’t know how I would have managed to breast-feed. It would be a disaster if funding gets cut, especially given that many other mums I know, also received no support from the hospitals where they gave birth.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“When I was desperate I was told by a GP to give up breast feeding and go to formula. This was not my wishes and I knew formula would not help the breastfeeding problem as it was caused by severe reflux. Attending Milk Spot has given me hope, informed support and the courage to go back to my GP and demand medical treatment for my daughter. We have been successfully breast feeding for nearly 5 months now thanks to the sensitive support of milk spot. ” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“I also used the Hitherfield milk spot and I found it prevented problems arising. I was able to get a lot of sound information on breast feeding and carry on longer than if the service was not available. I know of a few mums who also found the service invaluable when suffering from mastitis.“ Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“I really don’t think I would be breastfeeding now if it had not been for the availability of local milk spots in the early days. I’d had to give up completely on breast due to shredded nipples on day 4, just as the milk came in, and was convinced (and v upset) I’d never be able to get back onto breast – I saw two fantastic midwives in two different milk spots that I went to that week who both gave me so much encouragement and practical tips that within two weeks we were fully back onto breast. I really would not have felt able to persevere with the breastfeeding without access to those drop-in milk spots in the crucial early days.” Stockwell + Herne Hill MilkSpot Mum
“I attend the Woodmansterne Children’s Centre Milkspot on Wednesdays and have done since my little one was 3 weeks old (now 10 months). I found the support from Beverley invaluable while I was breastfeeding. My little one had tongue tie snipped at 3 weeks and had to learn to latch on all over again and BF had always been very painful. Beverley watched her latching on and advised me on a different position to try which made it lots more comfortable. I’d like to say that BF was a breeze after that, but baby then developed reflux at 6 weeks and it was very stressful. Beverley gave me advice and support and even phoned and text to see how things were going. Eventually things settled down, and I continued to go to Milkspot because I’d made such good friends with other mums there, and it’s great to be able to be an encouragement to other mums going through the same difficulties… I still go now even though I’m not breastfeeding since I returned to work, and I don’t feel judged and have continued to get great advice about weaning, sleep issues, etc from Beverley and from the other mums.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“My local milkspot was an absolute lifesaver. After 3 weeks with a premature baby who couldn’t breastfeed I had almost given up. But Bev & Sally gave me invaluable support – and motivation – to carry on, and we cracked it some weeks later. Even now with a 7 month old I regularly drop into milkspot to get advice on feeding – and it’s a great network to meet and share experiences with other mums.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“With both my babies I’ve found the Milk Spot atWoodmansterne Children’s Centre invaluable. It’s been great to go somewhere and be able to get help with feeding and talk to other mums about their experiences. Certainly helped me stick with it and breast feed for longer than I ever thought I would. Both kids had their own feeding challenges especially with latching on and without the guys at the Milk Spot I wouldn’t have succeeded. I have recommended it to every mum I know with a newborn. Really helped not only feeding but to cope generally with those very demanding early months.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
“I visited the Milk Spot at Rosendale children’s centre when my won was very small and when he got to about 3 months for help witjh specific problems. The advice and support they gave was invaluable, both with my specific problem and with general issues around things like expressing and storing milk. I also visited the Milk Spot at Crown Dale Children’s centre regularly more for social reasons, as a friendly and supportive place where I could breastfeed my son and meet other mums. I had some problems with feeding my son at the beginning both serious (readmitted to hospital on day 4 due to not feeding) and less serious but still difficult at the time (positioning, sore nipples, curious and easily distracted 3 month old). It is partly due to the help and support from Milk Spots that I am still breastfeeding my 18 month old son and he has never had formula.” Streatham MilkSpot Mum
Breastfeeding Groups Nationally:
“I hated breast feeding for the first couple of months, it was so painful, I regularly used the local BfN clinic and they gave me good advice and also sorted me on my way to getting my son’s tongue tie sorted! I’m glad I stuck with it, 6 months now and still feeding though I am mix feeding, I wouldn’t have stuck with it without the support.” Mum in Cambridge
“If it wasn’t for Breast Friends in Bottisham I wouldn’t have survived BFing my son, they were able to help diagnose his 90% TT that MWs in hospital didn’t spot. The local Feeding Matters made me realise it was ok to mix-feed him and not to be ashamed.” Mum in Cambridge
“I used mine as we had problems with oversupply and latching. Previously I hadn’t known any other bfing mums and it felt quite isolating but going to weekly groups has really helped me. Without the help I got I wouldn’t have been able to continue bfing.”
“I met some of my best Mummy friends through my local BF support group.” Mum in Whitley Bay, NE England
As a peer supporter I see so many mothers who begin breastfeeding with a bit of a struggle but with support from group & other mums they carry on & all these mums tell me it’s because of the group, as health visitors & other professionals can be so quick to say ‘give them a bottle’ if mum is struggling! Breastfeeding drop ins are crucial to not only help mums in early days but also to continue supporting mums for as long as they choose to breastfeed. Before I did my training I went to drop in, I didn’t have any real issues but was so good to meet so many other breastfeeding mums & just support each other & it got me more confident at feeding in public too.” Mum in West Sussex, SE England
“I use my BF Group and it’s brilliant. Without a daily moan to my peer supporter I would have quit ages ago!“ Mum in Ayrshire
“I love my local breastfeeding cafe. We first attended when my daughter was 3 days old and it has kept me sane through the last year of breastfeeding. It has a great mix of mums with babies and toddlers of all ages. As we are now into the second year of breastfeeding it is great to see older babies and toddlers still feeding. Caroline the breastfeeding councillor who runs it is a saint. She always speaks to everyone during a session and is very very supportive/helpful of any problems no matter how small. The peer supporters are also amazing particularly Sharon who makes Booby and The Bead nursing necklaces.” Mum from Selby, North Yorks
“I’ve found the breastfeeding support attached to our local bumps and babies group invaluable. It makes it so easy to get advice and all the mums I’ve spoken to have found the advice really helpful.” Mum in South Yorkshire
“My local BF groups were invaluable. I had huge problems at the beginning with tongue tie causing damage then thrush getting hold but it was thanks to my local groups that i’m still nursing at 25 months. Funnily enough once of my best experiences was when I turned up at a group after a really fraught weekend of not being able to latch at all on my left hand side and my daughter latched no problem (typical eh?!) I helped me realise that it was the seat that was causing/exacerbating the problem. I swapped to a dining chair at home and things were 100% better!“ Mum in Reading, Berkshire.
“Without my local bf group I would not still be breastfeeding my 6 month old. I struggled at the start due to latch issues. I felt so alone, and such a failure. My group were so lovely, full of good advice and support and reassurance. Despite knowing the 2006 legislation I was still very scared to bf in public: my group meet in a number of local cafes and seeing them happily feed their babies with no hassle or drama made me feel like it was possible. I was amazed too about how lovely the cafe culture can be- thanks to this group I found out about so many other baby groups and classes that I would be ignorant of otherwise. So my healthy, bf baby (still going with 3 teeth and counting!) and I are very, very grateful for any and all breastfeeding support.” Mum in Dundee, Scotland
“I used the clinic at my local hospital as the breastfeeding group near me is unavailable at the moment! I had one to one advice and support from the consultant and she spent about 1.5 hours with me looking at attachment and going through possible techniques to help us breastfeed better. It was there that it was noticed I had thrush so again she gave excellent advice in how to resolve it x excellent service and I know I could go back anytime for reassurance or more support!” Mum in Kirkcaldy, Scotland
“Can I also mention that ely milks is not funded as it was decided somewhere that people of ely don’t need bf support. People going is what keeps it going, it’s fully run by volunteers and the room is paid for by donations – most people give £1 and some weeks there are only 5-6 people there, so equally important that people use these services to keep them going.” Mum in Cambridgeshire
And here’s what the twitterati had to say….
“I had such positive experience at St George’s Hospital (Sue is amazing) & @ClaphamNCT BF cafe”
“I had a fab experience at a drop in group near Bradford, so supportive,their fb group was a great help in the wee hours!”
“.. the bloke (yes) who runs the BF clinic at Fransiscan School CC is absolutely brilliant and v laidback.”
And now for some information….
To find breastfeeding support outside these Lambeth, click here to go to the relevant part of the BfN website. If you love your local breastfeeding support group/drop in/ cafe, please share in the comments below – and share this blogpost on your Facebook, Twitter and by email to any mums or mums-to-be to encourage them to use the groups and show how important these services are.
Becky + Baby Thor