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Breastfeeding a baby with Down's Syndrome

Two updates in one week; you can tell I'm 'resting' at the moment as I wait for a client whose baby is due any day to signal that she's ready for postnatal support!

Today I joined the first lunchtime webinar hosted by Positive about Downs Syndrome [PADS] for perinatal practitioners. Their presentation about breastfeeding a baby with Down's Syndrome reflected my own experiences of supporting new parents and highlighted the fact that whilst there may be some challenges specific to the baby's health or physiology, two of the main barriers to establishing breastfeeding for these mother & baby dyads are either low or unrealistic expectations.

PADS' own research indicates that 40% of families were advised they wouldn't be able to breastfeed because their baby had Down's Syndrome, even if there were no additional complications. It was also noted that when there was a difficulty with feeding, this was commonly attributed to the fact the baby had Down's Syndrome rather than being explored as a feeding issue in its own right.

Plenty for the many Breastfeeding Counsellors, Doulas, IBCLCs and health professionals there to take away. For me, it was useful to learn that many people find there is a lack of support with transitioning from feeding tube and/or bottle to breast as this is something I can offer in the community as well as via the NCT Enfield Breastfeeding Drop-in Facebook group and the NCT Infant Feeding Line.

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