You do not have to do this parenting thing alone. There’s a reason you’ve heard that ‘it takes a village’. Nowadays the village looks a bit different. Sure, you might have had your actual neighbours dropping off one-pot dinners and family offering up on-tap babysitting, but here in the UK you also have access to a whole range of supportive services.
Whether you’re struggling to get your baby to latch or feel you (or someone close to you) is teetering into postnatal depression territory, there’s a ton of resources out there that can help. And because I don’t want you to end up 10-pages deep on a forum or chatting to an unregulated expert, I’ve rounded up a list of reliable, highly-recommended, charities and resources, that you can turn to for free, advice and guidance when you need it most.
Non-Emergency Medical Advice
Before we go any further, if you’ve stumbled on this article because you’re looking for medical advice – like a symptom post-birth that you’re concerned about – then I urge you to contact your GP and/or NHS 111.
The narrative around breastfeeding, that it’s natural and instinctive, needs to change. It can be hard, painful and not as effortless as you might have been led to believe back in your antenatal class when you were fondling a giant, knitted boob.
With helplines manned by volunteers (often fellow mothers who have breastfed) and websites full of helpful advice and local support groups, visit:
- Association Breastfeeding Mothers (0300 330 545)
- National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212)
- La Leche League (0345 120 2918)
- National Childbirth Trust – NCT (0300 330 0700)
Maternal Mental Health
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Postpartum ‘blues’ and postnatal depression (PND) isn’t always picked up by healthcare professionals or those closest to you. You might be feeling overwhelmed, in a fog, highly-emotional, or might be spending days trying to articulate your muddled thoughts – whatever it is that’s got you feeling lost in yourself since your baby arrived, please reach out for help.
- PANDAS Foundation (0808 1961 776)
- Association for Postnatal Illness (API) (020 7386 0868)
- Baby Buddy app
- Samaritans (116 123)
It shouldn’t be a taboo subject. It should be something that is spoken about, especially when the statistics are so glaringly heart-breaking. No one should feel silenced or unable to express their grief, which is why so many charities offer emotional support for bereaved families – to help them heal, process and share their story.
- Tommy’s (0800 014 7800)
- Miscarriage Association (01924 200799)
- Sands 0808 164 3332
- The Lullaby Trust 0808 802 6868
No two births are ever the same and every mother has her own story. If yours is one that is impacting your day-to-day life physically or mentally, that trauma shouldn’t stay hidden within the recesses of your brain. Find the advice you need from these supportive helplines.
- Action Against Medical Accidents – AvMA (0845 123 2352)
- Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services – AIMS (0300 365 0663)
- MASIC Foundation (0808 164 0833)
The heightened sense of anxiety, the intrusive thoughts, the compulsions. Often maternal OCD can be wrongly discounted as typical postpartum angst, but it can be treated and acknowledged with the right help at the end of the line.
- Dedicated Perinatal OCD Service, The Maudsley Hospital London, recommended by Maternal OCD (020 3228 3211)
- OCD Action (0845 3906232)
Want advice you can relate to as a parent of twins, triplets or more? Get advice from parents who have been in the same boat.
- Twins Trust (0800 138 0509
I urge you to speak up. You might not feel ready to confide in a friend or a relative, but please pick up the phone and talk to a trained, impartial, advisor. They will listen to you, without telling you what to do, and can help you access specialist services should you need them.
Bookmark this for now and for future you. Whether you’re currently juggling a newborn with older siblings or need emotional support navigating motherhood, help is at hand.
Remember, you’re not a burden, you’re not the first, and you’re not a failure if you’re struggling postpartum. Reaching out for help is always a step in the right direction.