Breastfeeding support in the UK during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation

Breastfeeding supporters in the UK – both voluntary and paid – are skilled and experienced in offering breastfeeding support over the phone and online.  Several helplines are available along with virtual support groups, and many have increased capacity:

  • National Breastfeeding Helpline (run by the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and the Breastfeeding Network) – 0300 100 0212 Open 9.30am-9.30pm, every day of the year.  This line also includes an option for Welsh and Polish language support.
  • Breastfeeding Network Bengali/Sylheti Helpline 0300 456 2421
  • The National Breastfeeding Helpline also provides support via web chat at www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk and via Facebook messenger www.facebook.com/nationalbreastfeedinghelpline
  • The Breastfeeding Network’s Drugs in Breastmilk Information service offers evidence based info on the safety of medications and treatments during breastfeeding.  A series of fact sheets covering a wide range of issues and medications can be found at: www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-factsheets Or you can message the BfN Drugs in Breastmilk Information page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BfNDrugsinBreastmilkinformation Or email druginformation@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk
  • Many Breastfeeding Network local services are running virtual groups for mothers to meet up for support with other families, staff and trained volunteers. or offering 1-1 support over the phone or via video calls. 
  • There are lots of local BfN Facebook pages and groups that you can join to chat to other mums and to get support from trained volunteers. Many local areas also have an email address so you can contact them directly
  • In a few areas with commissioned services, The Breastfeeding Network is offering some face to face support (clinic appointments, home visits and walking groups), where this can be provided in a secure way and with full permission of the health board/NHS Trust or local authority.  These services may change in accordance with local guidelines so check this page regularly for updates, More details on what is available in your area can be viewed here  https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/peersupportprojects/ 

La Leche League – 0345 120 2918 (8am-11pm) and visit https://www.laleche.org.uk/get-support/ for a range of online and telephone breastfeeding support options.

NCT – 0300 330 0700 Feeding line (8am-midnight) https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/feeding/early-days/breastfeeding-support-nct

You can also contact your local health visiting team or local infant feeding support team to see what other resources are available. An internet search using ‘breastfeeding’ and the name of your town or county will usually get you to the right teams. In many areas, there are increased levels of phone support and support available online and through video.

You can also visit lcgb.org to find a local lactation consultant: https://www.lcgb.org/find-an-ibclc/. Many are offering additional remote support options.

There are several reliable sources of online information about breastfeeding, talking about what’s normal and how to deal with problems, including:

https://www.laleche.org.uk/

www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

www.abm.me.uk        

https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/feeding

https://breastfeeding.support/

https://globalhealthmedia.org/videos/breastfeeding/

The national charity Best Beginnings has created Baby Buddy, the free NHS approved app for pregnant women and new parents includes supportive daily information about breastfeeding, maternal mental health and more. Also, within the app you can watch over 30 films about breastfeeding including practical films on positioning and attachment.

For anyone wanting to see the breastfeeding films via a website, you can click here: https://web.bestbeginnings.org.uk/web/videos/breastfeeding

For joint expert information from midwives and doctors on breastfeeding and caring for a baby during a COVID-19 infection or suspected infection, please visit this site and scroll down to find the later questions: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

UNICEF Baby Friendly also has some useful resources here: https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/COVID-19/

This information was prepared jointly by the breastfeeding support organisations.

29th September 2020