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OBS Case Study - Hannah

I first came across OBS when a friend told me about their antenatal sessions at Grandpont. I waddled along to the session the week I was due, and met Charlotte and the Grandpont team for the first time. Right from the moment I entered the room, it was such a welcoming place to be, immediately putting me at ease.

We had been very anxious leaving hospital, worried how we would be able to feed her when I was barely getting any milk from pumping, and she was still barely latching on.

Three weeks later, I first attended a session with my daughter Jasmine, when she was 6 days old. We had spent 5 days in hospital as she had not latched on and was fed mainly with donor milk for the first week. We had been very anxious leaving hospital, worried how we would be able to feed her when I was barely getting any milk from pumping, and she was still barely latching on, so we attended OBS the day after being discharged. Charlotte recognised me and welcomed me, Jasmine and my husband straight away.  The advice we were given was so practical, and was calmly and sensitively given, but it was so much more than that. I felt so supported, by everyone there: from Charlotte’s expert advice on latch and reassurance that I’d get there, to peer supporters giving advice about pumping, honest chats with other mums at different stages of breastfeeding who were similarly finding it hard, and the cups of tea, baby holding and chats with Pat, one of the volunteers.

I went to sessions at least twice a week for about 2 months alongside being supported by the JR Infant feeding Team. It turned out Jasmine had a significant tongue tie, and because of the difficulties with feeding, my milk supply was very low and she was not putting on enough weight.  While we were under a  strict plan from the Infant Feeding team, (involving feeding, pumping to protect my supply between every feed and topping up with expressed milk) OBS were so helpful supporting us to follow this plan, as well as being kind and empathetic at times when it was really very tough, especially when the tongue tie reattached twice following divisions. I continued going to sessions every week or so until Jasmine was around 4 months old, and finally exclusively breast feeding and putting on weight.

Crucially, when it was becoming very tough, the facilitators didn’t pressurise me to keep breast feeding, but made it clear they would support me in whatever decision I made moving forward, whether combination feeding, moving to formula or continuing breastfeeding. This was not only reassuring, but also took away so much of the pressure I had felt piling on me.

I really don’t know what I would have done without OBS’s support – I certainly think I would have given up breastfeeding as many friends and family suggested! Crucially, when it was becoming very tough, the facilitators didn’t pressurise me to keep breast feeding, but made it clear they would support me in whatever decision I made moving forward, whether combination feeding, moving to formula or continuing breastfeeding. This was not only reassuring, but also took away so much of the pressure I had felt piling on me. I think without this supportive approach and feeling that I had a choice, the pressure would have made me give up, and I am so grateful that I didn’t.

I would recommend any new mum attend the OBS drop in sessions. It is not just the expert advice and support which is amazing, but equally as important is the supportiveness of the environment. I still bump into people at other classes and events who I met in those drop in sessions and have made some good friends as a result. Everyone I’ve spoken to about OBS have similarly said how helpful it was to them, whether for a few days, weeks or months. It helped me through one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced and without them I know I wouldn’t still be breastfeeding my daughter at five and a half months!

January 2020

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