BREASTFEEDING

I contacted Amanda when I was due my second son because after my eldest son Jacob had been suffering with severe eczema and allergies since birth and was formula fed, i was keen to do everything I could to limit the chances of the newborn developing the same problems. Just to put it in context, Jacob has been diagnosed with allergies to cows milk protein, egg, peanuts, beans, peas and potatoes. I had breastfed him for only 3 weeks but had not had the confidence to continue and was regularly being told I needed to try a bottle to “fill him up”. It had not been an enjoyable 3 weeks of feeding and I was actually relieved when he took a bottle.

I knew breastfeeding wouldn’t necessarily prevent eczema and allergies for my newborn but the consultant for Jacob’s skin had recommended i exclusively breastfeed the newborn to give him the best chance to fight infections, allergies and give him a much better chance.

A few weeks before I was due I had a 2 hour pre-birth breastfeeding Skype consultation (I live in Leeds) with Amanda where we went through what I could expect after birth and in the first few days of the baby with breastfeeding.
We discussed everything from skin to skin and the latch. Amanda also gave some great tips to ensure I was as comfortable as possible when my milk did come in. As soon as Louie was born, I started following the advice Amanda had given me and luckily, Louie took very well to breastfeeding and barely dropped from his birth weight. Amanda was there for me day and night on Skype and Whatsapp in the early weeks, supporting me, letting me know things I was experiencing were always normal and giving me the confidence that my milk was more than sufficient and how nature intended. After 2 weeks we had another Skype consultation where we discussed how it was all going and the next stages to feeding and what to expect. Knowledge really is the key and Amanda has been a great source of knowledge from the moment we contacted her.

Six months later and Louie has been exclusively breastfed. In addition to feeding Louie I decided I wanted to donate milk to a milk bank as I knew that research had shown benefits of breast milk for poorly babies. Using the information Amanda had taught me I slowly increased my supply to allow for pumping a small amount of milk most days to eventually yield 3 litres to donate.

Breastfeeding is undoubtedly hard work but very much worth it. Amanda has always been there for us and I can’t recommend her more highly if you are wanting to breastfeed and are looking for some information and ongoing support.

Claire and Charlie Bartfield x

Amanda is a very passionate and personable lady who knows her stuff and is able to put it across in an articulate and persuasive manner. She is both reliable and flexible and when we met she was an absolute godsend in terms of feeding our new baby.

At the point when we first met Amanda, our four week old baby was having nine bottles a day and before each one we were trying (unsuccessfully) to breast feed. This was due to a combination of bad advice, infections and antibiotics. Our confidence was waning and although I did want to breastfeed I was on the point of giving up believing that there was not enough milk to sustain my baby. She turned things around for us in a matter of days and provided just the right level of support to meet our needs throughout this period. She was enthusiastic, positive and practical – showing us what to do and reassuring us that by putting in the effort and making it a priority it would all work itself out. After our first meeting, she rang twice over the next twelve hours and was happy to spend some considerable time on the telephone to talk through any further difficulties and once again reassure us that we were doing well. In fact she was there whenever we wanted and came over at very short notice to keep us on track or speak on the telephone irrespective of other conflicting demands on her time.

However, for all her qualities, the most important one as far as we were concerned was her ability to listen to exactly what we wanted and not try and persuade us to do anything we didn’t want to irrespective of her own views and preferences.

For all her help we are eternally grateful and would definitely recommend her to others with the same requirements.

Alex and Clive Freedman ( 9th June 2006 )

Amanda helped my husband and me with our son Jamie when he was 2 weeks old. In that time she showed an amazing passion and dedication to childcare. She was wonderful with Jamie and I truly trusted her with him. She was wonderful to talk to and taught me much about handling a newborn. But beyond caring for Jamie, Amanda was inspirational when it came to breast-feeding. I can say that a huge measure of my success with breast-feeding can be attributed to Amanda. She supported me the whole way and made me realise what a gift and joy it is to breast-feed well.

She was armed with all the information and literature and was a fabulous resource on the subject. Her encouragement made such a difference to me. I would heartily recommend Amanda to new mums.

Shantelle Schneider

Amanda came to help me with my daughter, Maia, who was at the time 13 weeks old.  Everyone was surprised when Maia weighed in a healthy 3.7kg because they had all expected a lighter baby, as both her father and I are quite petite.

In the first few days, Maia would cry whenever I tried to re-settle her into her cot after a feed & I would end up putting her back on the breast to soothe her. I would sit there for hours with Maia on my breast thinking that she was still hungry. I had doubts as to whether she was latching on correctly & turned to the hospital mid-wife for support: at first she advised that it was because my milk hadn’t come in yet and later, she told me that Maia was too big a baby for me to have enough milk to satisfy her through breast-feeding alone, and I needed to ‘top-up’ with formula.

Sadly, as a first time mum, I believed the hospital & began to offer Maia formula at every feed.

Inevitably I became sore & engorged.  On leaving the hospital, I met with a breast-feeding specialist. She confirmed that Mala was indeed latching on incorrectly & showed me how to help her into the correct position. This immediately made feeding more comfortable. The soreness & engorgement passed quickly.

However, as my attempts to express were not very fruitful she advised that this would suggest that I had low milk supply especially as I was still finding it difficult to settle Maia to sleep, and I should therefore continue to offer Maia formula at every feed.

At around week 8, I suddenly found that Maia was happy to go without her usual top-up bottle of formula. She literally batted the bottle away with her hand! Up until this point Maia had suffered from terrible windy cramps & would shout & strain to pass any bowel movement. She would wake up from her sleep as if full of rage. Maia also had an angry rash that covered her face. I was convinced that her symptoms were caused by the formula & hated having to give it to her. Consequently, I found every feed-time terribly upsetting because I felt that I was feeding my child poison. It made me feel guilty and inadequate as a mother because I was unable to satisfy my child’s basic need to feed.

I was therefore delighted when I no longer needed to give Maia formula. She was a changed baby overnight. She became calm & content; the rash cleared & so did the explosive nappies. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

At 13 weeks old, Maia was settling easily for her day-time naps but would still wake two, sometimes three times through the night & I would always re-settle her by putting her on the breast. I suspected that these wakenings were now out of habit. However as I continued to be paranoid that Maia was never getting quite enough milk from me, I didn’t feel confident to try to re-settle her without offering her a feed.

I was exhausted. The last 13 weeks had been relentless & I felt on the point of a complete meltdown. Even so, I was apprehensive when my husband suggested that we should arrange for someone to help. Having a stranger in the house is not easy at the best of times and I was worried that I would just have all my parenting faults catalogued for me. To be honest, I was pessimistic & did not actually believe that help was possible, & this was just the way things were meant to be. Amanda came to stay for 8 nights (spread over 2 weeks). In that time, she never once criticized me. Instead, Amanda was tremendously encouraging & supportive. She complimented & congratulated me for battling on with breast-feeding Maia when many would have given up. She made me realise that it was normal to find breastfeeding a huge challenge, not to feel guilty feelings of frustration & that on the contrary to how I felt, I was in fact doing very well & deserved to feel a great sense of achievement!

By helping me to express successfully & showing me that I was still able to give Maia a satisfying breastfeed, even after expressing a full 70z(!), she boosted my morale & confidence in my milk supply.

The next challenge for Amanda was to re-introduce Maia to the bottle. It took just two nights! This gave me back a sense of self as it meant that I could now venture out of the house independent of Maia without being limited to the periods between feeds. It also meant that I was able to share the job of giving the dream-feed with my husband & therefore have the occasional early night.

Thankfully, Amanda does not believe in leaving a child to cry. Instead, her methods reflect that she is a parent herself. She is kind, gentle & caring. When Maia woke on the first night that Amanda was with us I was worried that she would be distressed when Amanda went to settle her instead of myself. However, Amanda was wonderful with Maia & spoke to her with a very loving tone to her voice that I found enchanting. This completely won my confidence in Amanda. I would trust her with Maia at anytime. Within the first two nights, Amanda quickly established that Maia was able to comfortably go at least 6 hours through the night without a feed.

As a bonus, Amanda gave me my first sleep of 6 consecutive hours in 3 months. Unfortunately, Amanda is such good company and wonderful to talk to, that I would sit up talking with her, tapping into her font of knowledge & forget to get to bed early!

Since this visit, Amanda calls & emails whenever she has the chance just to check up on things and make sure that everything is going well. She always makes time for you in her hectic schedule, to answer any question that you may have.  Amanda is passionate & inspirational about breastfeeding. She is a mine of information and is helpful with many practical parenting tips. I would not hesitate to recommend Amanda to other parents.

I feel every parent can benefit from her knowledge & expertise.

Coco and Joe Roman

I am writing to say a bit THANK YOU for all your advice and support over the past four months.  I can honestly say that without you I wouldn’t be breastfeeding now.

As you know, I was keen to breastfeed Noah, my first child, but had no idea just how challenging it would be.  Noah was a hungry baby and feeding sessions for the first few months would last anything from 1 hour to several hours.  Friends and relatives advised me to top him up or move completely to formula, and I worried that I had insufficient milk to feed him – even my maternity nurse advised me to in the first week to start him on formula.  Lucky for me (and Noah) you were constantly encouraging me to continue and explaining that what I was experiencing was normal.  So I kept going, taking one week at a time.  Now, at nearly four months old, feeding times have been dramatically cut to fifteen to twenty minutes (I would NEVER have believe it would happen, even though you promised me it would!) and Noah is a happy and healthy boy.

Within the first five or six weeks, Noah’s weight started to increase in leaps and bounds, and he moved up from the 9th to the 50th percentile within his first four months.

His weight continues to rise above average scale and my health visitors are always delighted at his progress and extremely pleased that he has done so well being a breast fed baby, when so many other mothers have given up long ago.

Breast feeding really isn’t easy at first – I found it to be more challenging than pregnancy and child birth, but I’m really happy to have stuck with it.  It really DOES get much easier and it great to know I’ve done the best for my child and given him a good start in life.   Perhaps the best thing for me about breast feeding is the ability to offer immediate comfort and pain relief to my baby whenever so wherever he needs it – at the doctors after his jabs – or when he had a recent bump to the head.  Knowing I would immediately give him comfort and see that he was well and happy to feed was incredibly reassuring for me as a mother.

Thank you so much for your constant support and advice and your always being there to help whatever time of the day or night.  With so much conflicting advice out there, I could not have done it without you – so big thanks from me – and from Noah – a very happy, smiley (and chubby!) little man!

Alison, Steven and Noah Deitch

They say enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. This is certainly the case with Amanda. I must be honest when I first got pregnant I was very keen on the idea of breastfeeding but had my doubts about  whether I would be able to do it. Everyone I asked seemed to say formula was easier and gave me bad feedback on breastfeeding.

When Annabelle was born I put her straight on the breast straight away. I instantly fell in love with her and the feeling that came over me from feeding my own baby, my own milk.

However, due to her being premature, jaundice, underweight, losing more weight Annabelle was sent to Special Care Baby Unit.

It all felt very “business like” when a midwife came to see me to explain how to hand express and to stimulate my milk. I was very confused and needed someone to just give me a hug.

My head was spinning but Amanda contacted me, even though that night she was flying out on holiday with her sons she spent over an hour on the phone to me and really helped. She gave me the “hug” I needed over the phone.

Something about this lady is very calming, nurturing and the tonic you need at your most vulnerable.

Amanda kept in contact with me everyday and night and every question I had I got the answer. My milk came in and everything that she said would happen happened so there were no nasty surprises. For example, I was ready for the baby blues on day 3!

13 days later Annabelle was allowed home. She’d put enough weight on and was feeding beautifully.

I owe so much of the successful journey as a breastfeeding mother to Amanda. I want the world to know about her and hope many more parents will benefit from her wonderful advice and care.

Renée, Michael and Annabelle Singh xx

Amanda first came to my house to assist me with breastfeeding, when my daughter, Maia, was13 weeks.  She then returned to guide me through weaning, and finally sleep-training.

Maia is now 9 months. She chomps through 3 solid meals a day and drinks from a cup. Maia is asleep in her own bed by 7.30pm and except when ill will sleep through 11 hours, sometimes more!

When I first met Amanda, I was feeling very low and lacking any confidence as a parent. Amanda’s support and encouragement has made such a difference to me. I am still breastfeeding Mala and I realise now, how very special it is to be able to breastfeed well. I am sure that things will continue to change but Amanda has given me belief in my parenting skills and the tools to be able to cope.

I am so very grateful.

Coco and Joe Roman

I initially saw Amanda in my eighth month of pregnancy for a pre birth consultation. We discussed at length my expectations and desired outcomes in relation to life with a baby and breastfeeding. Amanda went into great detail on what to expect in the minutes and hours after birth; the early days and beyond. She also outlined what was healthy and normal; what challenges may lie ahead and how to address them.

On my daughter’s arrival, I felt well prepared and equipped with the tools I would need to tackle motherhood and particularly breastfeeding. Amanda provided ongoing support covering everything from achieving a good latch and positioning to frequency of feeds, nappies and sleep. With this support we very quickly established feeding and my daughter regained her birth weight and has gained consistently since.

As a new mum there were often times that I had questions or needed reassurance and having Amanda just a text or phonecall away allowed me to quickly get the answers and support I needed.

Amanda’s guidance during more challenging times has been invaluable too. When my little girl showed signs of jaundice in her early days, Amanda advised me on how best to overcome it through breastfeeding alone and without intervention. Oral and breast thrush also posed some difficulties but early support and advice enabled me to overcome this too and to continue breastfeeding.

The journey from pregnancy to motherhood is a wonderful one. It is however also challenging, with many firsts, unknowns and hurdles along the way. Having Amanda’s support has made the transition a smooth one and has enabled me to be the confident, relaxed and happy new mum that I wanted to be; doing the very best for my baby and getting to enjoy the contented and happy daughter that she is today.