Over the past year or so, more and more mums have been contacting me asking if they can pay for support - but on a National level things are still sadly lacking (as the comments on many of my articles here will testify!) and so we hope Milk Matters can help with this.
We are independent - which means parents can pay for a range of services depending upon their situation. Mums who want can take a full bump to breast 1 2 1 package, but we also offer this as a group option to reduce costs. We offer a second time mum "debrief" to help establish why breastfeeding didn't work with a previous child, stand alone antenatal sessions, plus a "need help now" emergency option!
We have launched in North & West Yorkshire, but we hope to extend this to other parts of the country over coming months. Only those who are qualified as a breastfeeding counsellor with one of the main organisations or IBCLC lactation consultant will be able to offer this service; ensuring quality of care.
We are also in the process of becoming a social enterprise, as we plan to donate any profits back in to the voluntary organisations that are training counsellors (proportional to which organisations our specialists are trained by) and back to those working to develop support, resources and research.
There will of course be strict ethics and guidelines in place, to ensure mums who take a voluntary call do not self refer for payment - which is why we call ourselves "breastfeeding specialists" to try and separate the two roles. But we hope our services can help to go some way to filling the gap that currently exists in the system - where Health Visitors are referring to volunteers, no continuity of care is offered, and as per one mum I spoke to today - left paying £70 for a breastpump (for the last 6 weeks!) because they can't find anyone to help transition baby back to the breast. Mum had NO support and couldn't find anyone - hence why she ended up expressing and supplementing.
There's lots more information on our website, and I will also of course be happy to answer any questions anyone has :)
A word from Annalisa
“Breastmilk provides the very cornerstones on which a human’s health is built. There are too many myths surrounding breastfeeding, myths that sometimes stop women continuing, even though they want to.
When I had my first child, I got so much conflicting advice from people, my head was spinning. Some of that advice I later found out was factually incorrect and hugely damaging. One friend told me her GP had told her that there was “no benefit to breastfeeding past seven weeks”. Well! This is just codswollop. Luckily I got proper help just in time and was able to salvage my breastfeeding relationship which had got into a right old mess: I gave formula within 24 hours of my daughter’s birth, I stopped breastfeeding for a while, I was mix feeding, pumping, I re-lactated…With the launch of Milk Matters, we hope that with qualified, specialist support the women who want to breastfeed will get the best help possible. Jamie Oliver has campaigned very effectively to raise awareness regarding wholesome school dinners, but good child nutrition starts way before solids are even introduced.”