Saturday, 2 August 2008

What does it all mean?

Welcome to the land of No Regrets. I spend a lot of time talking with new, and not-so-new mothers, and a lot of the time I hear people say one of two things; "If only I'd known" or "When you know better, you do better."Statistically, breastfeeding rates are increasing, particularly where I live in the UK, but I talk to far too many people who have at best, mixed feelings about their breastfeeding relationship with their children. Admittedly, a lot of people give up well before the WHO recommended severage age of 2 years, but to me, it seems to go much deeper than that. A lot of women give up breastfeeding before they are ready to, and the primary reason for this appears to be lack of support.
I hope that the stories shared here can support and reassure women who are there, doing that, that there is a huge range of normal breastfeeding experiences. There are babies who eat on a four-hour schedule, and babies who eat constantly and never stop screaming. There are babies who love to comfort nurse, those who are exclusively breastfed through pumps and bottles, and babies who have allergies or physical disabilities and are breastfed. There are those who latch immediately, and those who spend weeks, or sometimes even months trying to learn this crucial skill. All of this is OK. Sometimes the breastfeeding relationship draws to a close early for various reasons, only some of which are avoidable. I want those stories too. Please share your breastfeeding story with us, by emailing it to and I'll get it added to the blog as quickly as possible.
In addition to supporting each other, perhaps in a small way this blog can serve to educate and inform health care professionals and others just how important the breastfeeding relationship can be to a new mother, and how critical the right support at the right time can be. I hope so.

The reason for the title is the No Regrets manifesto:
Each mother and baby pair should be supported by society to breastfeed for as long as mutually desired. Education and social and practical support should be available to bring this about, so that each and every mother can look back on her breastfeeding days with a range of emotions, but knowing that she did the best she could.

I am a trained peer supporter with Swindon Breastmates and a branch volunteer with the National Childbirth Trust, but I am not a qualified breastfeeding counsellor and cannot offer advice on any breastfeeding problems. Please see the links for contact details for the major breastfeeding support organisations- if I've missed one, please let me know.