Breastfeeding isn’t always straightforward, but there is lots of information and help to support you - wherever you are in your feeding journey.
Many mums struggle with breastfeeding in the early weeks, but support can make all the difference. Watch this video as two mums share their experiences.
Feeding support from NCT
Our breastfeeding counsellors are here to help you on your feeding journey. They'll offer relevant information and suggestions - whether you're breastfeeding, formula feeding or mixed feeding. You can access their support in the following ways:
Call our support line
If you have any questions, concerns or need support - however you're feeding your baby - you can speak to our friendly breastfeeding counsellors free of charge by calling our support line on 0300 330 0700. The line is open every day from 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.
Online breastfeeding support – chat/social media
It’s always helpful to talk to other women who are breastfeeding for support, tips and company. Although breastfeeding drop-ins are now closed to limit the spread of coronavirus, peer support can be found on most social media platforms online, like this one.
- Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend Chatbot on Facebook – If you have any breastfeeding questions you can get 24/7 information and advice from Start4Life’s Breastfeeding Friend chatbot (via Facebook Messenger) (Facebook, 2019).
- A webchat service is available from the Breastfeeding Network.
As well as support from our breastfeeding counsellors and your health care providers, our breastfeeding commissioned services are offering virtual breastfeeding support via zoom groups, text messaging and one- to-one calls.
If you live in any of these areas and would like some support from a breastfeeding peer supporter, please get in touch:
- Bradford - Bradford Breastfeeding Buddies
- Glasgow - Glasgow Breastfeeding Buddies
- Lothian - Lothian Breastfeeding Buddies
- Peterborough - Peterborough and Fenland Breastfeeding Support
- Southampton - Baby Cafe Southampton
Many of our local NCT branches are also providing online breastfeeding peer support via closed Facebook groups. Get in touch to find out more - search on your postcode and message your closest branch to see if they have any online peer support.
Visit a local breastfeeding support group
Breastfeeding support groups are run by trained professionals, such as NCT breastfeeding counsellors, lactation consultants or midwives. They sometimes also involve peer supporters and volunteers. Most breastfeeding support groups are free of charge and some ask for a small donation.
These groups provide mums with access to breastfeeding support in an informal environment. You don't need to make an appointment and they are open to everyone - wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey. You don't need to be an NCT member or have done an NCT antenatal course to go along to one.
Some groups operate under the Baby Cafe brand. This is a network of community-based breastfeeding support services that runs across the UK.
Put your postcode in our local activity finder to see if there's a breastfeeding support group near you.
Free one-to-one support from a volunteer
Some NCT breastfeeding counsellors are able to provide one-to-one support on a voluntary basis. This could be over the phone, by text, in their home or in yours. The type of support they can offer and the time they have available will vary according to their personal circumstances.
Call our support line on 0300 330 0700 to find out if this support is available in your area. We can put you in touch with your friendly local breastfeeding counsellor if there is one offering voluntary support near you.
Book a private home visit
With our new paid service, you can book an hour and a half of dedicated support from an NCT breastfeeding counsellor in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Find out which areas offer this service.
All of our courses are led by specially trained and experienced practitioners who understand what matters to you. Choose from our range of classes whether you're preparing for birth or need support postnatally.
What can you expect from NCT support?
Our Breastfeeding Counsellors are here to support you on your feeding journey. They have undertaken an extensive two-year university accredited training course in counselling, listening skills and research-based breastfeeding knowledge.
You will be offered the opportunity to be listened to without judgement and without being pushed in any one direction. Our Breastfeeding Counsellors will discuss your options and explore what would work for you, alongside offering relevant information for you to achieve your feeding goals.
They will continue to support you however you feed your baby. Breastfeeding Counsellors attend regular continuous professional development days to update knowledge and skills. They are also supported by receiving supervision to explore and reflect upon their counselling practice.
Breastfeeding Peer Supporter
Our Breastfeeding Peer Supporters are mothers who are trained to support other mothers in their feeding journeys. Their six-week training course includes listening skills and straightforward breastfeeding knowledge.
They support mothers in the community both in breastfeeding support groups and by phone or social media contact. They will also signpost mothers to information and specialist support if this exceeds the limit of their knowledge or skills.
All NCT Breastfeeding Peer Supporters receive ongoing training and support from specialist breastfeeding counsellors, helping them to reflect and learn from their experiences and maintain the boundaries of their role.
All of our Breastfeeding Counsellors and Breastfeeding Peer Supporters are mothers who have the lived experience of breastfeeding their own babies.
Practical and emotional support
Your breastfeeding counsellor will make use of person-centred counselling skills, bringing thoughtful and empathetic support to you and your family. This includes listening to you without judging or criticising and offering information and suggestions. She will provide relevant information to help you make informed decisions about feeding your baby.