Breastfeeding Norfolk Blog

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Update on West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre

Nikki Adlam

Good morning all. Jan here.  I said I’d give you the lowdown on our weekly West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre, so here are our latest figures for the period from New Year until 13/04/2017; 14 sessions of 2 hours.

The overall numbers of visiting mums  total 164, with 61 of those mums having been before, and wishing for more support. The overwhelming reason for mums coming is to get help for their sore nipples, and worries about their babies’ weight gain, so this involves the “bread and butter” support activity of positioning and attachment. We do a lot of this at the support centre, and I must thank Claire, breastfeeding peer supporter for her help during Nikki’s maternity leave here.

Some mums come to see me specifically, at the recommendation of their professional health care worker, especially if a second opinion about a baby being tongue-tied is sought. I must say here that although I can look in babies’ mouths at this very busy volunteer session, I cannot carry out the assessment needed and any subsequent referral to the clinic. So, yes, I can have a look, and may be able to see a frenulum, but I can’t give an opinion about the tongue movement, although I may have a suspicion! In these situations, I ask the mum to go back to their midwife or health visitor to ask for the assessment to be done.

I carry out tongue-tie / restrictive lingual frenulum assessments during private consultations when indicated and requested by mums, and make the referral to the clinic if requested. I hope you can understand why I can’t do this in the 2-hour group environment of West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre, where so many mums are seeking help. So much can be done in this session to help mums get to the place where they feel happier about breastfeeding their babies. Sometimes more one to one support is wished for. Therefore, continuing to offer my time as a volunteer, with the option of a private consultation gives mums choice of having the same professional support in the way they find most helpful.

See the website for more information.

You don’t even need to try to be amazing mummies; you just are. Think about what you do and know how awesome it is. x


All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities

Nikki Adlam

Hello – Jan here.

Some of you may know about the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities (APPG). This is an important group consisting of MPs who, after discussion are conducting an inquiry into the services and effectiveness on offer to support breastfeeding mothers and their families. This has been brought about by the knowledge that the UK as one of the lowest breastfeeding duration rates in the world, although the 5 yearly Office of National Statistics Infant Feeding Surveys consistently recorded that most mothers would have preferred to breastfeed for longer. The biggest drop in our figures are at approximately 2 weeks post-natal, and the most frequent reasons for stopping breastfeeding given were sore nipples and breasts. Regrettably; the government has said that it will not fund any more research into our infant feeding statistics.

The APPG wish for parents to be involved in this inquiry. If you’re interested in joining in the consultation process, or at least wish to learn more about the issues and process, please go to:

Thanks all. You can help to make a difference.

A Word or Two about Nipple Shields

Nikki Adlam

Hi – Jan here.

I’ve been meaning for a while to try to say a few lines about nipple shields; yes, I dared to speak the name! Over the years I’ve moved from being very anti - even purist in my thinking, to quite a pragmatist about said items. When I first starting supporting mums with breastfeeding, nipple shields (said it again) were thick old things and a very popular brand was an attractive dark orangey colour and known colloquially as Mexican Hats – and all on the market were ENORMOUS!! This was some time ago, and they have improved in the silicone material used and are pretty thin too, and although still not perfect come in different sizes.  Some even have cut away areas for the lower and upper lip to make contact with the mum to help get the best stimulation of oxytocin to encourage the milk ejection reflex (let-down reflex) via the mum’s areolae. Mums still should expect each breastfeed to take a bit longer than skin to skin breastfeeding, but nothing like as long as with those old shields. When mums are discharged after delivery already using shields either because her baby doesn’t seem to be able to attach, or because of her very sore nipples, this is not second class breastfeeding, and simpler than giving expressed breastmilk either in a cup or bottle which is like she’s feeding twice. Having said that; most mums wish to breastfeed without shields and try very hard to achieve this. Little wonder really when a lot of babies seem to do a combination of pulling them off, latching on very tightly, and getting cross at having to wait to feed while their mums’ get them in place.  Breastfeeding when out and about can seem really tricky too.  Shields have their uses, particularly as an interim measure to reassure a baby to breastfeed when there’s been a period of expressed breastmilk / formula bottle feeding. If you or anyone you know would like some help and ideas concerning shields, or any reason needing support then West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre is open each Thursday 10.00-12.00, Norwich, NR2 4BX. Private consultations are also available.  then West Pottergate Breastfeeding Support Centre is open each Thursday 10.00-12.00, NR2 4BX. Private consultations are also available.