Getting breastfeeding support when you need it is important. Here we go through the types of support available, including NCT groups, drop-ins and more.
Breastfeeding isn’t always straightforward. It can be tough both physically and emotionally. It can also take time to feel confident about breastfeeding. The great news is that there is lots of support available to help you on your feeding journey. You can get support in person through local drop-in groups, over the phone or online.
Here are the types of breastfeeding support available and how to find out what’s available in your area…
Feeding support from NCT
Our breastfeeding counsellors are here to help you and your family on your feeding journey. They've had extensive training and will listen to you without judging or criticising. They'll offer relevant information and suggestions however you're feeding your baby. You can access their support in different ways. Read more here.
Before you have your baby
It can be useful to find out what feeding might be like before you have your baby. We have lots of information about feeding on our website. If you attend an NCT antenatal course, topics such as breastfeeding, responding to your baby’s feeding cues and the value of skin-to-skin cuddles, will be covered.
You could also contact your local NCT branch to find out what support is available, such as breastfeeding drop-ins.
Before you leave hospital
If you have your baby in hospital, you might be offered breastfeeding support. This could be from midwives, NHS breastfeeding support workers or independent breastfeeding peer supporters (NHS, 2016).
If you’re concerned about how your baby is feeding or would like more breastfeeding support, do talk to a health professional while you are still in hospital. You can ask for a visit from a breastfeeding supporter or infant feeding specialist while you’re still there (NHS, 2016).
You can also call our feeding support line on 0300 330 0700 (option 1) to talk to a breastfeeding counsellor about your questions or concerns, however you're feeding your baby. The line is open every day from 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.
Make sure you are happy to be discharged before going home. If you would like further breastfeeding support once you are home, contact your local NCT branch. They may have a regular breastfeeding support group in your area, as well as breastfeeding counsellors who could visit you at home.
Family and friends
You could ask friends and family, or your partner if you have one, for their support. Practical support like help with cooking, washing up and laundry can be really handy. It can help you focus on feeding your baby or simply have a chance to rest. Emotional support is super important too (NHS, 2016).
Read more in our how can dads and partners help support breastfeeding article.
Online breastfeeding support videos
- NCT video – How do I know I’m feeding my baby in the right way?
- NCT video – How often should I breastfeed and long should a breastfeed last?
- NCT video – How do I know I’m holding my baby in the right position to breastfeed?
- NCT video – How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
- NCT video – How do I express breastmilk?
- NHS video – How do I know if my baby is properly latched?
- NHS video – How to breastfeed twins.
- Best Beginnings – From bump to breastfeeding videos.
- Start4life – breastfeeding help with latching on animation.
- UNICEF – UK mother’s talking about their breastfeeding experiences.
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.
Breastfeeding information websites
- Our website has lots of information about breastfeeding, including the benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding problems and solutions and breastfeeding and return to work.
- Best Beginnings: their vision is to give every child in the UK the best start.
- Bliss is a special care baby charity that provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK.
- Cleft Lip and Palate Association has information on breastfeeding babies with a cleft lip or a cleft palate.
- Start4Life online guide to baby breastfeeding positions.
- The Breastfeeding Networks Drugs in breastmilk service provides advice and information about the use of drugs and medication when breastfeeding.
- The Lactation Consultants of Great Britain has a search facility to help you find a lactation consultant local to you.
- NHS Choices has detailed information about how to breastfeed, positioning and attachment and breastfeeding problems.
- The Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) has information about feeding twins and triplets.
- UNICEF – The Baby friendly initiative. Transforming healthcare for babies, their mothers and families in the UK. Also has information about Tongue-tie and breastfeeding.
- The UK Association for Milk Banking has information about using donated breast milk if your baby is premature or ill and how to donate breast milk.
Breastfeeding support phone lines
- NCT’s support line: 0300 330 0700 is open every day, 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 330 5453 is open 9.30am to 10.30pm.
- Breastfeeding Network supporter line: 0300 100 0210.
- Breastfeeding Network Supporter line in Bengali/Sylheti: 0300 456 2421 is open 9.30am to 9.30pm, 7 days a week.
- La Leche League: 0345 120 2918.
- National Breastfeeding Helpline: 0300 100 0212 is open 9.30am to 9.30pm, daily.
- National Breastfeeding Helpline in Welsh and Polish: 0300 100 0212 and press 1 for Welsh and 2 for Polish.
Research has shown that peer support can increase the numbers of women who are breastfeeding. Peer breastfeeding support can help you adapt to life as a new parent. It can also give you the chance to make new friends and feel less isolated, stressed and down (NHS, 2016; NCT, 2019a).
Check your local NCT branch to find out more about local breastfeeding drop-in groups – see below for details of it and other groups. Groups mean you will be able to meet other mums who breastfeed their babies.
One-to-one breastfeeding support
You can contact your local NCT branch for this because many will have a local, trained breastfeeding counsellor who can offer you one-to-one breastfeeding support.
As we mentioned earlier, you may be offered breastfeeding support in hospital. But if you’ve already left hospital, remember that you can speak to your midwife or health visitor between appointments. Their contact details will be in your baby's red book.
You could also drop into your local baby clinic to talk with a health visitor face to face.
Local breastfeeding support groups, centres and drop-ins
- Check with your local NCT branch about the breastfeeding support services they provide locally. These may be listed online, or you might need to ring and speak to someone from the branch. Most NCT branches have trained breastfeeding counsellors who can offer advice and support at a local group. They might also be able to visit you at home.
- Ask your midwife, health visitor or GP about local breastfeeding support services.
- Contact your local Children's Centre or Family Information Service, as they often have information about local breastfeeding support groups.
- Use the NHS Breastfeeding Support services search to find a breastfeeding drop-in group near you.
- Baby Café is a network of breastfeeding drop-ins. You can find your nearest drop-in on the website by entering your postcode (NCT, 2019b).
- La Leche League offers mother-to-mother support with breastfeeding (La Leche League, 2019).
- The Breastfeeding Network provides breastfeeding support and information and has some local drop-in groups.
This page was last reviewed in April 2018.
We support all parents, however you feed your baby. You can call our feeding support line on 0300 330 0700 (option 1) to talk to a breastfeeding counsellor about your questions or concerns, whether you’re breastfeeding, using formula milk or introducing solids. They have had extensive training, will listen without judging or criticising, and will offer relevant information and suggestions. The line is open everyday from 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.
A Baby on Board. (2012) How to travel by public transport in London, with a baby. Available at: https://www.ababyonboard.com/how-to-travel-by-public-transport-in-london-with-a-baby/ [Accessed 18th June 2018]
Facebook. (2019) Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend. Available from: https://www.facebook.com/Start4LifeBreastfeedingFriend/ [Accessed 23rd June 2019]
La Leche League. (2019) Get support. Available from: https://www.laleche.org.uk/get-support/ [Accessed 23rd June 2019]
NCT. (2019a) Breastfeeding peer support training. Available from: https://www.nct.org.uk/professional/breastfeeding-services/breastfeeding-peer-support [Accessed 23rd June 2019]
NCT. (2019b) Baby Café. Available from: https://www.nct.org.uk/about-us/commissioned-services/baby-cafe [Accessed 23rd June 2019]
NHS. (2016) Breast feeding help and support. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/breastfeeding-help-support/ [Accessed 23rd June 2019]