BREASTFEEDING mums are being urged to help each other in Alcester.
Mum-of-three Jen Wyatt set-up Breast Friends Alcester on Facebook after she was determined to breastfeed son Jack but could not find the support and advice she needed.
The former teaching assistant said: “People just assume you know what you’re doing but all babies are different. My first son needed to be tube-fed after open heart surgery and so I had to express milk, and my daughter was not gaining enough weight through breastfeeding so I had to use formula.
“So when I was pregnant with Jack I was determined to be prepared. But there was just nobody around.”
Jen – who said there was an advisor just once a fortnight for two hours at the children’s centre in Alcester – ended up paying for a lactation consultant to help her with her youngest son.
She added: “I couldn’t keep paying for help so I turned to Facebook.
“It’s not the fault of the midwives or health visitors, the system just can’t manage the needs of new breastfeeding mums so what better way to get help than to seek out the advice of others in the same boat.”
Jen said the group – which has around 80 members – were in constant touch even during the early hours of the morning with queries from how long was normal to breastfeed and support for feeding their babies in public.
She described the moment when a women in a coffee shop made a ‘stroppy comment’ about her breastfeeding in public.
“I felt like I was going to cry. I wrote a quick message on Facebook and got about 20 messages in minutes from mums saying to make sure I knew my rights and showing solidarity with me. It really lovely to have backing even though they weren’t actually there.”
She said as a group they received a lot of positive comments especially from older people when the group met up along with their children.
She added: “You can feel so vulnerable on your own but when we’re together you do get a sense of empowerment.”
And now the mums have been offered a space at the children’s centre to hold meet ups once a month which Jen hopes will encourage those new to or planning to breastfeed, to join.
A number of the group will train as ‘breastfeeding peer supporters’ through the National Childbirth Trust – something members learned about since joining the group.
The group meet every fourth Thursday of the month at Alcester Children’s Centre between 1.30pm and 3pm. Children are welcome.
Search Breast Friends Alcester on Facebook to find out more.