A FORMER nanny has opened a breastfeeding clinic in Twickenham, to help mums overcome common problems.
Geraldine Miskin set up the Let's Breastfeed practice in Lincoln Avenue, aiming to banish feelings of guilt and inadequacy among mothers who struggle to breastfeed.
"Many women experience pain while breastfeeding and are often told it is just par for the course and to hang in there," she said.
"It's important for mums to know the many benefits of breastfeeding, but more importantly, they should be taught the practical aspects of how to nurse without developing avoidable problems."
Geraldine originally worked as a nanny. She decided to become a breastfeeding consultant after seeing how mums experienced problems which she felt were not being addressed.
According to the Infant Feeding Study, which was conducted by the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care, a third of nursing mothers have experienced some kind of breastfeeding problem, either in hospital or in their baby's early weeks.
Government guidelines recommend babies are breastfed for at least six months but, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, only three per cent of mothers are exclusively breastfeeding their babies after five months.
ALISON Spencer works in advertising and has two children, Olivia, three, and Freya, one month. The 36-year-old, of Kings Road, East Sheen, said she was given conflicting advice when she had problems breastfeeding Olivia.
"She was born tongue-tied, meaning the piece of skin which joins her tongue to her mouth was too far forward and she couldn't breastfeed at all," said Alison.
"My health visitor didn't pick up on the problem for weeks, and it was extremely distressing. I was given conflicting advice and ended up confused and stressed.
"When Freya was born with the same condition, I knew to look out for it. Luckily, she had an operation to correct it within days."
Disillusioned with previous advice, Alison went to Geraldine for help, which she said had made a huge difference.
"All you hear at ante-natal class is 'breast is best', but it's not true for everyone," she said. "Breastfeeding is really hard, and no one explains what's best for you and your baby. Geraldine tailored her advice to suit me and Freya, and she gave me a plan to refer to at home."