Monday, 11 October 2010

Latching and attaching

We are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting this Wed 13 Oct at 10.15am at 39 Hamilton Rd, Southville. We'll be talking about all the different ways that a baby can latch on and feed. Hopefully we'll hear about some brand new ways mums and babies have worked it out!

With love from Charlie, Vicky and Floredia


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Venue change for 22 Sept

The coffee morning on 22 September will be at Charlie's house (39 Hamilton Rd, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1PA) and not Jenny's this month. Please spread the word. Thanks.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Meeting today

Thanks so much for those of you who came to the meeting today, it was lovely to see you all and to hear your comments.

Here is a link to lots of more detailed information on the ways in which breastfeeding supports the normal and healthy development of both babies and mothers:

If you are interested in finding out more about the new edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding you can download a chapter here:


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Meeting on 8 Sept

We are looking forward to seeing you lovely people this coming Wednesday 8 Sept at 39 Hamilton Rd. We'll be talking about 'How important is breastfeeding' but there will be plenty of time for your questions and other topics.

With love from Charlie and Vicky.


Saturday, 4 September 2010


We would very much like to hear from you if you have been supported on your breastfeeding journey by Bristol Leader Floredia. Floredia is currently taking a break from La Leche League activities but she has been a long-standing presence in the Bristol LLL group. She was running the group with Janet Griffiths when April arrived 11 years ago and had previously worked with other LLL groups. Her wonderful warm personality has been a godsend to many a mother and baby so do get in touch if you have a memory to share. I personally remember ringing Floredia as early in the morning as I thought was decent (I think it was 7am) after having been up all night with Theo (my second) on his first night failing to get him to feed. She was absolutely amazing and immediately focused completely on me and my worries and listened with such empathy and kindness and respect. She then managed to make me laugh and reassured me with just a few words and gave me renewed confidence. I can’t remember exactly what she said but her words worked magic and I relaxed enough to be able to almost immediately sit down and Theo latched on and fed. Oh the relief and joy, it makes me cry to think about it now! Email me at


Guest post: Who says we need support?

Who said we need support? Written by Catherine, an ex-Bristol Leader currently in Perth, Australia. Cath writes about the kindness and friendship she found at LLL meetings. Taken from LLL Bristol's recent newsletter.

I am always stuck for words when a mum comes to me not seeing how a breastfeeding support group could help her, not seeing that a LLL meeting is much more than just listening to a theoretical talk on ‘how to’. Why should she need such a group? She had no problem at all breastfeeding, it was all very natural to her. However often as the discussion unfolds I realise she would have loved to know more about natural weaning or breastfeeding through pregnancy, or just hearing another experienced mum reassuring her on a specific behavior of her son. Is that not all that you can find at a LLL meeting?

Being quite a strong headed and self confident person, one would assume I am not the kind of influence-able person who would easily change her mind or attitude because of others. However I have come to realise how invaluable my network in Bristol was and how it helped me and supported me in my journey into parenting. Not just for breastfeeding or night time parenting, no, it helped me in much more ways than one could imagine and on so many different levels.

Today I want to write to all those women I met in Bristol, to let them know how invaluable their input, their sharing, their teaching, their softness and their smile has meant to me, today I want to tell them that I keep them in my mind everyday, when I feel challenged, when I see my girls happy, when I see how they are blossoming through gentle parenting.

Today I want to thank them.

I feel so grateful I came across LLL at the start of my journey. So blessed I have met women and mums like April, Floredia and Kate who were all LLL leaders when my first one was born. They were such a role modeling for me, such an inspiration in gentle parenting. There was also all the mums, some of them who became my best friends who always had the right words or funny attitude that would lift my hearts on those challenging days. I could make a long list of all those beautiful moments, those special times when we were all in awe of our new babies and completely exhausted from the broken-broken-broken nights. This has created such a strong bond between us, such a treasurable unique smile in my heart. Naively I thought that sort of network was available everywhere, in any city with mums and babes. How wrong was I! This is such an amazing network, such a beautiful group, and even if I know the mums are probably not the same, there is that core group and the leaders who are just so precious. Make the most of it, use it, observe, listen, share, welcome others ways of doing without judging. Just appreciate the difference, enjoy the companionship, embrace the different ways of mothering. Patience is just such a quality I admire. A quality I have truly discovered through other mums going to the meetings in Bristol.

After more than 10 years in Bristol we have decided to move on to different shores (less muddy, more sunny ;-) Everything here is different to UK. Birth, much more medicalised, breastfeeding more discreet, mums groups being very few and mainly organised via the hospital. All our parenting choices which I felt very supported through in Bristol suddenly sound very extreme and slightly coming from another planet. Thankfully I had gained confidence before moving here, thankfully I am very supported by my partner!

Now we have settled down here I so much want to recreate that sort of group, a place where mothers with their babes and their toddlers will find a supportive group to share and chat, to be and to sit back, may be even to learn something new or just be reminded of something gentle. I so wish to give that back as it has been such a major part of my journey, something I would always be grateful for.

To all of you beautiful inspiring mamas: Thank you!


The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - new edition

Here is a review of the latest edition taken from LLL Bristol's latest newsletter.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League International, 8th edition, 2010. Diane Wiessinger, Diana West & Teresa Pitman

This new edition is a complete reworking of the LLL classic breastfeeding book. It has been written by three great women who between them have many years experience of both breastfeeding their own children and helping women to breastfeed their babies.

The book is funny and easy to read and contains practical information on every aspect of breastfeeding with some lovely clear illustrations. There is an extra chapter about the new approaches to positioning with simple descriptions of ‘laid back’ breastfeeding and tips to get mum and baby working together, as well as help with the more traditional positions. The book covers what you need to know when pregnant, has a chapter on birth and implications for breastfeeding, through to concerns in the early weeks and what to expect feeding an older baby and toddler. Sections on sleep and starting solids are packed with up to date research and myth busting facts.

There are a couple of great sections in the back of the book. One is called Tech Support and gives you concise information on common difficulties that can occur such as colic, jaundice and blocked ducts. The other is called Tear-sheet Toolkit and has a key tips on a subject on one page that you can tear off (or print from the website) and stick on the fridge and refer to until you get the hang of it or that phase has passed, eg Feeding Cues, Waking a Sleepy Newborn, Mastitis, Milk Storage etc.

Each section has mother’s stories in it and internet references for further details including LLL forums. Every LLL Leader relies on this book when helping mothers to breastfeed and leading meetings and it is a source of comfort and reliable information that would be of invaluable support to every breastfeeding woman.

Have a look at it here:


Thursday, 19 August 2010

Library books online

Vicky has put all the group's library books on to a Google Document so that you can have a look at all the great books available and email Vicky at if you would like to borrow a particular book or if you would like to talk about returning a book that you have.

Vicky has also included a list of all the fantastic information tear off sheets and booklets that LLL publish.

Click here to access the spreadsheet.


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Further info on starting solids

At the most recent meeting we talked about introducing solids and some facts and myths surrounding this. For more information you can take a look at the following:

Starting Solid Foods leaflet published by La Leche League GB

Online information from LLL can be found here:

Great facts from the Kellymom website about why wait until 6 months:

More info on Baby Led Weaning:

All this information and a whole lot more is also in the revised edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which has been completely updated by its authors Diane Wiessinger, Diana West and Teresa Pitman who each have masses of experience of helping mums and babies to breastfeed. The book is really easy to read with great illustrations and photos and full of practical information and mother's stories. As Vicky said at the meeting, it is what LLL Leaders refer to all the time. It is bang up to date with all the research on breastfeeding and explains the new approaches to attachment and positioning, and it also talks about the emotional side to breastfeeding and its significance for mother and child. You can get it here:


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

New breastmilk finds

Here is an interesting article from the NY Times talking about how breastmilk protects the baby's gut lining and some new findings


Monday, 9 August 2010

can anyone give a lift from Clifton?

If someone is coming to the meeting from the Clifton area and could give a lift to a mum and her little one, please could they call Charlie on 939 3028. Thank you!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Myths and facts about starting solids

We're looking forward to seeing you at the next meeting on Wednesday 11 August at 39 Hamilton Rd in Southville. We'll be discussing solids and how to tease out the facts from the wealth of information and advice that surrounds starting them. There will be plenty of time for other questions and shared experiences too so do come even if this topic is not what you are dealing with at the moment.

We have a couple of copies of the much coveted My Child Won't Eat in the library, although as these are now out of print (and apparently £60 second hand on Amazon) there will need to be a deposit for borrowing it! Happily we have other information available too, on this and many other subjects.

Bristol Facebook page

We are now on Facebook! Vicky has set up a page where you can seek us out, become friends, follow what we are up to and keep us informed. Search for Bristol La Leche League or follow this link. Another good page is Bristol Breastfeeding Mummies.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

change in tack from nhs

Thanks to Jenny for bringing this article from the BBC to my attention. It describes a change in approach in talking about breastfeeding to new mothers, from the 'breast is best' campaign that seems to suggest that breastfeeding is something outside the norm and an added extra, to describing breastfeeding as the normal and simple way to feed a baby. This is something we've discussed in meetings before.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Thank you to all of you who came to the lovely picnic in the park last Wednesday to celebrate National Breastfeeding Week. We had beautiful weather and a great turnout with over 20 mums and many more babies and children playing under the trees and snacking on strawberries. It was gorgeous to see so many good friends and some new faces too.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Picnic in the park

Come to a picnic in Greville Smythe Park from 10.30am until after the picnic on Wednesday 23 June to celebrate breastfeeding!

All breastfeeding mums, their family and friends are invited to this picnic to highlight National Breastfeeding Week and the general fabulousness of breastfeeding women.

Bring food to share if you can. We will be under the trees by the play equipment. Nearest entrance is the main one off Ashton Rd. Buses 24 and 25 to North St.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Library Book Amnesty

We are having a library book amnesty! Don’t worry if the book you meant to return many moons ago is still sitting in your living room, or if it has perhaps received some over-enthusiastic reading from a toddler – we have all been there – just return them if you possibly can. Even if you are absolutely sure you don’t have a La Leche League book on your shelf, please could you just double check. Ways to return: you can bring them to a meeting, pass on to a friend who is coming, drop them round to your nearest Leader, post them to me (or Vicky) or otherwise do just ring us and let us know where the book is and we’ll try to think of a way of getting it back.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

It's official - Bristol is breastfeeding friendly!

Great news for Bristol in that UNICEF have accredited us as the first Baby Friendly City in England and Wales.

NHS Bristol and NBT Child Health Partnership have achieved this UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Community Initiative accreditation. Voluntary organisations in Bristol such as La Leche League are recognised has having set the scene for helping this to happen with our presence over many years. Congratulations to all involved!

April Coffee Morning

We're looking forward to catching up with folks at the Coffee Morning at Jenny's lovely house on 28 April. This informal meeting is open to everyone to talk about anything they like. We will be focusing a bit on toddlers and nighttime parenting ideas, but do come along if you have a younger baby too or just want to hang out and have a chat over a cup of tea with other mums.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Coffee morning on 24 March

Vicky, one of the Bristol Leaders, has unfortunately broken her arm recently and is unable to drive. Vicky was going to lead the next Coffee Morning on 24 March on the subject of Nighttime Parenting for toddlers, but this will now be postponed until the next Coffee Morning on Wed 28 April. There will not be a Leader present at this Coffee Morning, but it is still going ahead at Jenny's house and you are more than welcome to share experiences and ideas on this topic anyway.

If you'd like to contact a Leader to talk about this (or any other) subject in the meantime, then do call us up (our numbers are in the left hand column). Vicky would prefer to be emailed at the moment on

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Ups and downs meeting

It was lovely to see new faces as well as familiar ones at the last meeting at Lorraine's house. We covered lots of ground on the subject of breastfeeding challenges.

Thrush was one of the areas we talked about. This can occur at any time during breastfeeding and if undiagnosed can be a source of soreness and even shooting pains in the breast. It also can cause babies to be fussy at the breast and sometimes refuse to feed because their mouths are sore. There is a leaflet written by LLL on thrush which you can get from the website, (Quickfind number 2806) or you can ring a Leader if you want to find out more.

Another source of difficulties in latching on a young baby that we talked about is tongue-tie. This is not always spotted at birth and it can vary in its severity. Tongue-tie is when the skin attaching the tongue to the base of the mouth is too tight for the tongue to stretch out far enough to cover the lower gums and therefore to draw enough breast tissue in to the mouth. Less commonly it can affect the skin between the upper lip and the gum. Babies with tongue-tie can struggle to latch on, coming off and on the breast repeatedly. In young babies it can be treated simply and it is worth checking out if you have had help with positioning your baby and still struggle to latch them on.

Which brings us to positioning! This seemingly simple act of positioning your baby at the breast to enable them to feed effectively can be straightforward for some mums and newborns, and a struggle for some babies for weeks. Many of the mums at the meeting talked about ways in which they had managed to find positions that worked for them, and how they had needed help in the beginning to learn the art of breastfeeding. Seeing other babies feeding is a good start, but also getting skilled help when you need it can make all the difference. It is very possible to talk through getting a good latch on the phone, so if you are having difficulties, do ring a Leader for help. Some good leaflets are 'Nipple Know-How for Breastfeeding Mothers', 'Beginning Breastfeeding' and 'Positioning Your Baby at the Breast', or alternatively a 'New Mum's Pack', all from the La Leche website above.

Several mums talked about how they worked hard to identify their baby's early feeding cues such as rooting, putting a fist to the mouth and nuzzling in to mum, so that they could get a feed started before their baby became upset, when it became more of a struggle.

Many mums talked about the vital importance of getting the support needed to see them through the difficult times. Friends, family and other breastfeeding mothers can offer help, encouragement and ideas that can make a huge difference when everything seems a struggle. Seeing how other babies latch on, getting tips on various ways to hold and carry your baby and building up confidence to feed in public without a mountain of pillows can make a big impact on the life a woman with a newborn. This support can be found at La Leche meetings, through the website (especially the forums) and telephone helpline. If you want to meet up with local mums outside the meetings, then add your comment to the post about 'Connecting with other mothers' and go for it!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Meeting at Lorraine's house

Vicky, April and I are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow - Wed 10 March - at Lorraine's house in Cotham. Ring one of us for directions if you are unsure. Meeting details and our phone numbers are in left hand column of this website.

Do come along if you are new to the group, or if your baby is feeling fussy tomorrow - they seem to like the company of the other babies!

Love Charlie

Monday, 1 March 2010

Connecting with other mothers & internet forums

I have had a few calls from mothers who would like to meet up with other breastfeeding mums but who can't make the meetings for various reasons.

If you are looking to connect up in this way, perhaps because you have recently become a mother, or your friends are starting to wean, or you are back at work etc, then perhaps you could use this blog to make contact. If you want you could leave a comment below with some way of contacting you and hopefully other mothers in a similar situation will read it and get in touch.

You can always access La Leche friends online at the forums: At this Mother-to-Mother Forum users can post messages and receive instant responses from other users who are online. Once logged in a user can start new discussion topics, or "threads" and respond to other users' threads. The forum is organised into general categories and offers suport and discussion on a wide range of topics - from general breastfeeding support for mothers feeding newborns, infants or toddlers, to special situations like breastfeeding premature babies or multiples, along with a variety of other mothering topics such as nutrition, starting solids, gentle discipline, pregnancy and childbirth, and combining work and breastfeeding.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Ooops the Bristol mum on the bus apparently made the story up! Nice to know that Bristolians have common sense after all!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Breastfeeding in public

You may have seen the front page of the Evening Post today with an article about a mother who was ordered off a bus for breastfeeding her 6 week old baby ( ). The mother, Amy, was feeding her baby, Emily, on a crowded bus when the bus driver said there had been a complaint of indecent exposure and that she needed to leave the bus. When she refused he threatened to call the police and she was left in the rain.

It is unbelievable that anyone could view breastfeeding as indecent exposure, but it is a sad reminder that some people do hold such confused opinions.

Babies have a right to receive human milk when they need it. Human milk is a drink, food and vital comfort rolled in to one. Mothers who respond to their baby's needs in this way should be congratulated rather than made to feel an outcast.

In fact, it has been illegal to ask a mother to stop breastfeeding a baby of any age in public for more than 30 years, and a while ago Barbara Follett, Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, wrote to La Leche League to clarify a woman's right to breastfeed in public. In her letter she said:

‘Like most people, the Government believes that breast is best for babies. That is why we are doing everything we can to encourage mothers to breastfeed and to make sure that they are aware of its benefits.
But, for many mothers, the uncertainty surrounding where they can breastfeed is a real deterrent. Babies do not get hungry to order and mothers have to be confident that they can feed their infants in a café, restaurant or shop without the embarrassment of having the owner ask them to stop. In fact, this type of discrimination has been unlawful for women with babies of any age for more than thirty years, and the mother could challenge the owner under the Sex Discrimination Act. We strengthened this Act with extra 'maternity' protection, which means that if the baby is less than six months old the mother could also challenge the owner on the grounds of her maternity. Some people also think that women can be charged with indecency for breastfeeding in a public place. This is, I am glad to say, utter nonsense and completely wrong.
But, as you can see from the above, the law is not as clear as it could be. People are unsure of their rights and their responsibilities in this area. That is why the Government will be using its forthcoming Equality Bill to make it crystal clear that it is simply not acceptable to shoo breastfeeding mothers and their babies out of places like coffee shops, public galleries and restaurants. We hope that this will give women complete confidence that the law is on their side when they are breastfeeding their babies.’

I hope this has cleared any doubts anyone may have had about breastfeeding in public. Remember that the vast majority of people see it as the wonderful, life giving thing that it is and fully support us breastfeeding mums.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Beginning breastfeeding

Thanks to those who came to the last meeting and shared their ideas for getting breastfeeding started off well. It was lovely to hear your experiences and plans for the forthcoming births. We discussed skin-to-skin contact and 'biological nurturing'. More information can be found at

There are great tear off sheets and leaflets available to buy from the La Leche League GB website covering many topics including positioning your baby at the breast, avoiding sore nipples and adjusting to motherhood. There is a great 'New Mum's' pack of leaflets that is highly recommended. Don't forget the Frequently Asked Questions section of which covers everything you might need to know in the middle of the night!

love Charlie

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Next meeting and food

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the next meeting at my house on Wednesday and hearing your thoughts on getting breastfeeding off to a good start.

Bring some food to share, if you can. But I have a request too: as some of you already know, my baby Theo has lots of allergies, so I would really appreciate it if you could avoid bringing peanuts or humous along, though, as they are potentially dangerous to him. He is allergic to many other things too, so if you could watch little ones while they eat and clear up and spills or crumbs afterwards, this would be really helpful.

Many thanks!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Food Of Love

I recently attended a talk and slide show by author and cartoonist Kate Evans on her book 'The Food Of Love'. It was hilarious and heartening and the cartoons cover every possible eventuality for the breastfeeding mother. Here is a link to her cartoon on co-sleeping

'The Food of Love' is a new addition to our library too, so you can borrow it if you would like to see more. I also like her 'Mama Sutra' ...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


CHANGE IN MEETING LOCATION - the meeting tomorrow, Wed 13 Jan, will now be held at Charlie's house:

39 Hamilton Rd, Southville, BS2 1PA

because Lorraine's house is so difficult to reach in the icy conditions. Ring 0117 939 3028 for directions. Same timings: 10.15am to 12pm. See you there! Charlie

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Full term breastfeeding

There was an article in the Guardian yesterday (09.10.10) about breastfeeding beyond babyhood. The article was based on an interview with Ann Sinnott on her new book Breastfeeding Older Children and you can read it here

I felt that the article just focused on a very few extreme cases and perpetuated the usual view in our culture of breastfeeding as an out of control impulse by children that must be quashed by the adults in their lives. It also trotted out the usual myths of women breastfeeding to 'satisfy their own needs' and views of it being distasteful and weird. The author stated that breastfeeding is a biological imperative to feed as often - and as long - as possible. She didn't mention what happens in the vast majority of cases in the normal course of breastfeeding, so I thought I would fill in some of the missing facts. Here is what The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding says on the subject:

'Why do mothers begin worrying about ending breastfeeding almost as soon as they've started? No doubt there are many reasons, but we suspect that not the least among them is the fact that society often expects babies to be weaned early. Mothers and uneasy about the thought that their babies might still be nursing after everyone expects them to be weaned from the breast.

We don't agree with society's attitudes about early weaning. We believe that ideally the breastfeeding relationship should continue until the baby outgrows the need.

One mother who had weaned because of criticsm from others, had this to say about her decision: "I let pressure from people prematurely end one of the most meaningful experiences I have had with my son...I wish I had it to do all over again now that I am more sure of myself." '

The facts are that human milk continues to provide special benefits for a baby as long as he is breastfed. The immunological benefits are matched by the unique way that breastfeeding can satisfy emotional needs. The breastfeeding relationship changes as the child gets older and the role of responding to the child's need for love and affection takes over from a baby's need for food. At some point, usually gradually, the baby's dependence on mother lessens and he takes steps out in to the world. When a baby does not wean by around a year a mother may worry that this means he is too dependent on her and fear that she is stopping him from growing independent. The Womanly Art again:

'But weaning is a step toward growing up and, like walking or talking, a child takes these steps according to his own timetable. All children stop nursing sooner or later. Some have the need to continue the nursing relationship longer than others - but they do grow out of it eventually. And still they do not become overly dependent. We have been reassured on this point many times over because we have observed first hand hundreds of babies who were considered "late weaners".'

The article shows up the prejudices in society that still surround breastfeeding, but hearteningly it also quotes very supportive comments from husbands and partners of the breastfeeding mothers. Also, the comments added to the article online have been overwhelmingly positive and enlightened.

For research on natural weaning age see this article by Katherine Dettwyler: Her research is detailed in the book 'Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives' which you can borrow from our library.

To read about the situation from a mother's own persective, see this article written by Annalisa Barbieri about breastfeeding her 4 year old, which was sent to me by Lorraine:

My favourite term is 'full term breastfeeding' which seems more approprate than 'extended' or 'long term'. What do you think?

If you are breastfeeding a toddler then come along to our toddler coffee mornings (see Meetings for dates and venues) and share your experiences and views with other mums in the same situation.

Breastfeeding in the snow

Hope you are enjoying the cold snap. Lucas has been sliding down the road outside our house on baking trays and loving it! Lots of the neighbours are out and all the children are playing together. It would be great if they could always play together outside this way. I am thinking of ways of reclaiming the streets for the important job of playing, let me know what you think...

The feeling of being snowed in can be fun for a bit, but there are plenty of scary tales around of friends being stuck in cars with their babies for ages (9hrs in one case). The breastfeeding mums have such an advantage in this case and don't have to deal with the awful situation of a hungry baby. Here is a link to La Leche's advice on breastfeeding in an emergency