First, I just want to say, breastfeeding is HARD! And breastfeeding is even harder without support. Getting help, especially in the early days, does not mean you are a bad mother. In fact, it’s the opposite! Asking for help is exactly what you should do if things aren’t going well because even though breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t come naturally. Breastfeeding is a skill learned by both the mother and the baby and it takes time to perfect. And probably just as soon as you have “perfected” it, everything will change and you will feel like you are back at square one! This happened to me numerous times but I was able to persevere because I wanted to and because I had support. Within the Tokyo English-speaking community, there are several places you can go for help with breastfeeding and here they are:
Tokyo-Based English-speaking Lactation Consultants
Stephanie Kawai is a doula based in Tokyo as well as a certified La Leche League leader. She is also the founder of Tokyo Pregnancy Group and Tokyo Mother’s Group, so we owe a lot of this community to her! Although she primarily works as a birth doula, she also helps lead the La Leche League chapter and has nursed three children of her won and is very knowledgable about breastfeeding. You can learn more about her on her website.
Celia Hughes is another doula and lactation consultant based in Tokyo. She also leads the local La Leche League chapter so you can find her there or on her website here. She works in both English and French. She also specializes in baby massage and teaches several courses per year.
Kazuko Nakamura is a Japanese lactation consultant based in Yutenji, Meguro. She’s a board certified LC and pediatrician who also speaks English. They have La Leche League meetings in Japanese every month at her clinic and she comes both recommended as an LC and pediatrician for being very thoughtful and kind in her approach. She also accepts Japanese National Health Insurance. Find out more on her clinic website.
Also, check with your caregiver to find out what type of aftercare they offer once you bring baby home from the hospital. Many places have midwifes who cam make home visits to help you with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Support Groups
La Leche League Tokyo Central: The above lactation consultants run the local LLL chapter which meets once a month(usually the second Friday of the month) in the Ropppongi area. This is an excellent place to come and receive free personalized advice for any breastfeeding issues, as well as get supports from other nursing mothers. Each meeting features a certain topic such as beginning solid foods or preparing your home for a new baby. You may attend while you are pregnant as well to start learning about breastfeeding. See their Facebook page here for the latest info.
Tokyo Nursing Circle: This Tokyo based online support group is a great place to ask questions and get advice from other nursing moms in the area. Definitely join it if you are living in Japan.
Evidenced-Based Breastfeeding Support: another online Facebook group created to help mothers connect and learn from one another. A great place to ask questions or just scroll through while nursing your little one in the middle of the night. International group, not Tokyo based.
Little Peach: Little Peach is an online breastfeeding support service for breastfeeding and pumping mamas. It is run by London based lactation consultant, Maria, and is completely free. She also runs an Instagram account (@littlepeachlondon) that has some amazing advice surrounding breastfeeding, milk supply, baby sleep, and more. Definitely check her out if you need some inspiration!
Are there any other resources I should know about? Comment below!