The sad thing is, I keep hearing the same thing over and over again: What DVD about breastfeeding? What NHS antenatal guide? NHS cuts mean many new mums are going to lose out on some of the things that I found exceedingly helpful. So I thought would share what support I got and what I learnt later on with everyone.
From Bump to Breastfeeding: following real mothers' stories to find out how
|Me breastfeeding in first week|
That DVD about breastfeeding was given to me by my midwife and is made by the charity Best Beginnings (BB) founded to reduce the inequalities in child health across the UK. You can find their films here: http://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/breastfeeding
A word from an a breastfeeding veteran: I enjoy it much more now that I have been doing it for over a year. But the beginning was definitely fraught - and painful. And it didn't help that I passed out minutes after Plate was born so she didn't get a chance to latch on immediately. I was lucky that I was able to push through the pain and the initial desperate fumblings. Now it's really quite pleasant, and very comforting for both of us1.
The NHS Pregnancy Book
When I found out I was pregnant, I went into panic book-buying mode. But there are hundreds of pregnancy books out there and I found it really hard to choose which one to use as a reference. So when my midwife handed me a guide by the NHS (an institution that I know and trust with no commercial agenda), I was so relieved I nearly peed myself.
The Book became my bible, and served me well all the way through from my pregnancy to the first weeks after the Plate was born. But it seems the NHS do not give them out anymore and my dog-eared copy has mysteriously vanished2 . Thanks to my good friend Nev whose eagle eye spotted the URL on the back of my "Birth to Five" guide, here is the link to the NHS's own antenatal guide: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_107302
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Antenatal Classes
I cannot sing the praises of the NCT enough. They are a parenting charity that supports young families. It's run by parents for parents and have an excellent reputation. I had heard a lot about how intense and fast the NHS free antenatal classes were, so decided to spend the money on classes that will give FBB and I time to absorb everything. They are worth every penny. Not only will you get the time to take in all the amazing things that are happening and will happen to you, you will most likely make new friends who will become indispensable in the months following the birth. We certainly did and still hang out with our new friends. Find one near you here: http://www.nct.org.uk/courses
PS: Sign up to your local Children's Centre.They provide all sorts of services which are really handy for new parents: play groups, classes, drop-in sessions by the CAB, breastfeeding advice, etc. If you live in Cambs, this is the link: http://www.cambridgeshirechildrenscentres.org.uk/
1. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, happy hormones! So it's a very relaxing time for me. I tend to fall asleep. Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone as it's believed to be released when people touch and hug each other. It apparently makes one feel loved. A whole episode of Alphas was based around this. Oh and it starts labour!