During COVID-19 all the breastfeeding support available has been brought together onto one page
You can also read breastfeeding stories from local women below.
Shaleena shares with us her labour and birth story, along with how she prepared and was determined to breastfeed her second child.
"When I was pregnant with my first child I thought I was prepared but I wasn't, I was far off. I kept saying how hard can it be.. I've taken care of my younger cousins, it's easy. Little did I know. After a c section I tried to breastfeed for roughly 4 weeks, that's as far as I got to be honest, I was in pain and caught an infection and to be honest I had lost all will power by then. Although I would have loved to have had breastfed him I learnt to accept that I couldn't and it was what it was.
"Then... When I conceived my second child, the first thing that came to my mind was that I so badly wanted a natural delivery and second thing came to mind was that I had to breastfeed, it was just a natural strong feeling. So for the next 9 months that's all I prepared myself for. I read articles, I listened to videos I spoke to people, but I didn't stick to just one opinion I just kept my options open and any negativity I blanked out completely.
"Ultimately it's going to be your journey in this, not your mum's, not your mother-in-laws or next door neighbours, you will have your unique experience with your unique baby. So the big day came, and a week before the delivery I did some hypnobirthing, just a video off YouTube, and it was truly amazing, I felt something. I listened to it twice.
"Then the big day was arriving, my contractions started and I started checking up vids on breathing techniques and followed them all through right till the last stage. We got to hospital at 2am after 5 days of contracting just to be told that I still hadn't dilated (same situation I had with my first one, hence the reason it ended up in a c-section). The midwife I had was amaaazing, she looked me in the eye and said you can do this I believe in you. And I really believed what she said to me. I was so adamant to have a natural delivery, there's nothing wrong with a c section but I guess it was just a natural feeling within me and I followed it.
"Anyways I was a little disappointed that I hadn't dilated and thought okay so I might have to prepare myself for an op but my mind kept taking me towards a natural. So I was induced at this point. I contracted throughout the morning and into the afternoon, at around 1pm the nurse was off shift and I literally cried when she left, another nurse came who was also brilliant and around 3pm she did a further examination and to my astonishment I had fully dilated, the nurse was ecstatic, along with my hubby and aunt who were also with me. He was born at 4pm. So we had skin to skin and I fed him his first breastmilk. We were home 2 days later and I was super prepared I had a mini fridge in my room the pump all plugged in and set up with extra bottles, nipple cream the lot!
"The first 4 weeks were extremely difficult, but the midwives really helped out and I received a lot of help from the breastfeeding clinic. Not to mention I had stayed in hospital another night just so that I could ask any questions about breastfeeding, and it was worth it. So my journey began, I won't lie it wasn't easy I even caught mastitis but you have to put your mind to it, you have to keep telling yourself that you can do it and tomorrow is a new day and that you are progressing.
"My advice to all would be to research everything you can on breastfeeding, literally become an expert at it. Here I am almost 6 months later still breastfeeding. I had put him on formula as I kept getting the infection and it did drain me out, so you have to listen to you body as well. But keep following your instinct and be positive and strong."
Liliya's daughter was born just before lockdown and she tells us about the local help she had with breastfeeding. She tells us about her breastfeeding journey.
"My name is Liliya, I'm 43y.o now. My daughter Nadia was born just before the lockdown via c-section due to my health problems. Nadia is almost 3 months old. She is my first born, conceived through IVF at such a late stage in my life. Her full name, Nadezhda, means "hope" in Russian, and it seemed to us, her parents, to name her so. (We're a mixed cultured family but my English husband is very keen on Russian culture).
"After Nadia's birth, I had a lot of support with breastfeeding at Addenbrookes. Then later I had mastitis and abscess, all in the first months, during the lockdown. Breastfeeding was also painful but I wanted my little one to get the best start in life and persevered with breastfeeding. And now I'm happy that I did.
"Even though I don't live in Ely, I heard about Ely Milks breastfeeding support from my new friends, mums, just like myself. So, I signed up for the Facebook group and started attending their online sessions. I loved them right from the start! The lack of face-to-face support is hard on many mums right now, so we need to take advantage of any such resources. And I'm very grateful to Sarah and Caroline from Ely Milks for reassuring me and other mums online by responding to our concerns and giving such valuable advice on many and various troubling issues, including breastfeeding.
"I would really recommend any new mum to join any breastfeeding online groups and, if nothing else, you wouldn't feel alone in these challenging times. The help is there for you. And this is what I found.
"My advice - do not give up breastfeeding. Enjoy these lovely bonding times with your baby!"
Shellie gave birth to her daughter Mia via emergency c-section during the first week of lockdown. Here she shares her breastfeeding story with us
"My names Shellie and I am 30 years old. My daughter Mia was born via emergency c-section on the week of lockdown on the 14th March and is now 11 weeks old. I have exclusively breastfed Mia from day one, something I found very challenging, but I have managed to overcome most barriers. I still find some days harder then others, but continue to persevere on this breastfeeding journey.
"The Lady Mary ward at Addenbrookes helped and supported me through the first few days of breastfeeding. It took a while to get to grips with how to breastfed, there were times where I just wanted to give up. But I'm so glad I continued to work on the technique. Breastfeeding is not for everyone and I now understand why people give up. However, I feel I have bonded with Mia much more.
"Having a c-section, myself and Mia had to stay a few extra days in hospital as we were both being administered antibiotics. These days really helped with breastfeeding practice, and all the staff on the Lady Mary were willing to help, support and answer any burning questions I may of had. I feel without these extra few days on the ward I probably wouldn't of continued my breastfeeding journey.
"Once we were home, we had the visit from the midwife the day after we were home and the healthcare visitor a few weeks after. But because of covid and the lockdown situation, we were unable to see friends and family. Although, being at home with my husband and Mia was beautiful and we were able to bond as a family of three. We missed the support we would of got from our families.
"I'm glad I am continuing to breastfed Mia, I find these times extremely special and feel blessed I am able to fed my daughter this way. Times are very tough right now, but I count ourselves lucky we are safe and healthy through this pandemic."
Maisie gave birth to her son at home during lockdown. After having problems feeding her second child, she wanted to get support from the beginning.
"My name is Maisie, I’m 30 years old and on the 24th of April I had my third baby, Jacob Middleton, at home with 2 lovely midwives (well, one arrived slightly after baby was born as he was quick!).
"I have a 2 year old and almost 4 year old who I also breastfed. My oldest was a great feeder and I had very few problems, we stopped at 8 months. My daughter however was a different story! She latched on wrong from the beginning and it caused awful nipple trauma for the next 4 months. I persevered because breastfeeding is very important to me but every feed was agony until we could work past it. So this time I wanted to get support from the beginning to make sure Jacob latched correctly from the beginning.
"The lovely second midwife (whose name I’ve sadly forgotten!), watched as he latched and stayed with me for his whole feed to make sure. She also gave me some great tips from a breastfeeding magazine. On day 5 for the home visit a different midwife also made sure he was still latching well. And I’m pleased to say he’s now 5 weeks old and our breastfeeding journey is going really well!
"My advice would always be to ask for support from the beginning. Get a midwife to watch your baby latch as often as you can, it’s something both you and your baby need to learn to do properly despite people telling you it’s a natural thing. Something else people rarely tell you about breastfeeding is that cluster feeding is completely normal at the beginning, don’t panic they’re not getting enough milk, its also their comfort being close to you and a great way to help your milk come in! There are some great groups on Facebook that offer support and where people are awake whatever time you post a question!"