Feeding can be hard, but you are not alone.
In Devon, about 74% of mothers start off breastfeeding their baby. This number will drop by 6-8 weeks; only an average of 61% of mothers are offering any form of breastmilk to their baby at this stage. We support every parent in their choice as to how they feed their baby, however many of those mothers that do stop breastfeeding do so because of issues like sore or cracked nipples, sore breasts, or not enough breastmilk. These issues can be eased or eliminated if you know where to get support.
Resources are available for mums, partners, and family members – please reach out if you need some help.
Feeding Helplines and Digital Advice Tools
If you or someone you know is struggling with feeding a baby, please have a look through the resources below to see what Devon resources are available to you and how you can get in touch with them.
- The Breastfeeding Network – Peer support and information for women who are breastfeeding, parents and families. This helpline is open every day from 9.30am – 9.30pm: 0300 100 0210 or 0300 100 0212. Bengali/Sylheti Supporter line: 0300 456 2421
- La Lech League – Friendly breastfeeding support from pregnancy onwards; for all families at every stage of their breastfeeding relationship and in ways that work best for them. This helpline is open 24-hours every day: 0845 120 2918.
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) – Counselling with a highly trained volunteer who can provide up-to-date, accurate and evidence-based information to mums, partners, families – anyone who has a question or concern about breastfeeding. This helpline is open every day from 9.30am – 10.30pm daily: 0300 330 5453.
- Breast Feeding Friend – A digital tool from Start for Life that has lots of useful information and expert advise to share with you. It is available on Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Facebook Messenger.
- DadPad – A guide developed with the NHS has lots of useful feeding information on it specifically for Dads and partners.
Peer Support Groups
Mother-to-mother support, otherwise known as ‘peer support’, is recognised as a valued part of breastfeeding by many women. Breastfeeding groups allow mums to come together within their community, supporting normal breastfeeding as well as when breastfeeding feels a little challenging. Breastfeeding peer support groups local to your area can be found on the Devon Positive about Breastfeeding website – Support groups – Positive about Breastfeeding Scheme (devon.gov.uk). A trained breastfeeding practitioner or peer supporter is present at these groups, and they are free to attend. You can also access community mother-to-mother peer support through the service finder on the website.
Your Local Health Visiting Team
Devon Health Visiting service offers support for parents who are breastfeeding, formula feeding or partial breastfeeding. You can access this enhanced level of support for feeding your baby once they are ten days or older by contacting your local Health Visitor Hub. If your baby is still within the care of your midwife, please talk to your midwife. Contact details for your Health Visitor Hub will be in your child’s personal health record (Red Book). We have appointments every week, and these are easily bookable by contacting your area hub (telephone numbers listed below at the bottom of the page) or texting our ChatHealth service on: 07520631721.
Latch & Attach Appointments
If you are struggling with getting your baby to attach to your breast for a feed or experiencing pain in your breast or nipples whilst breastfeeding, please contact your local Health Visitor Hub. A Health Visitor or Public Health Nurse will be able to provide you with first line advice. They can also refer you into the Infant Feeding Team Latch & Attach service – we offer face-to-face appointments in a clinic setting in set locations across Devon or alternatively a teleconference (video) call to help you overcome any issues with getting your baby to feed and/or pain. We have appointments every week, and these are easily bookable by contacting your area hub (telephone numbers listed below at the bottom of the page) or texting our ChatHealth service on: 07520631721.
Infant Feeding Clinics
Sometimes feeding issues can be a bit more challenging and you may benefit from an appointment with our specialist interest (infant feeding) Health Visitors to help with this. Please contact your local Health Visitor Hub. A Health Visitor or Public Health Nurse will be able to provide you with first line advice. They can also refer you into the Infant Feeding Team Specialist Clinic service – we offer-face to-face appointments in a clinic setting in set locations across Devon or alternatively a teleconference (video) call to help you overcome these challenges. We have appointments every week, and these are easily bookable by contacting your area hub (telephone numbers listed below at the bottom of the page) or texting our ChatHealth service on: 07520631721.
Partner and Extended Family Support
In addition to accessing any of the above, ask your partner and wider family to support you. This can boost a mother’s confidence and provide encouragement to continue with breastfeeding. For more information about the 2022 Breastfeeding Week key focus of the difference that can be made if everyone supports breastfeeding, have a look at the blog: Breastfeeding Week Blog | DCC Public Health.
Young babies are not capable of learning a routine. When their needs for love and comfort are met, they will be calmer and grow up to be more confident. However you choose to feed your baby, responding to their cues for feeding and comfort makes babies feel secure, so they cry less, which makes your life easier too. Responding to your baby’s needs for food and comfort will also help support their brain development. To find out more information please see Building a Happy Baby (unicef.org.uk).
For those parents who choose to formula feed, responsively feeding your baby – meaning you feed your baby whilst being aware of their feeding cues and their feeding behaviour – is one way that you can really help to support your baby’s brain development as well as to build a close, loving relationship. The Responsive Feeding Infosheet – Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk) can help you to get started.
See below some further resources from UNICEF:
Video of the importance of relationship building UNICEF BFI
BFI support for common breastfeeding challenges: Support for parents – Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk)
BFI guest blog “Is this Normal”: Guest blog: “Is this normal?” The first week with a breastfeeding newborn – Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk)
Have your say
Help us improve the local information on this website and give us feedback about any contacts you have had with our service by completing the Devon Public Health Nursing feedback form.