For many foreigners in Japan, having our own mothers or sisters or extended family around to help after the birth is unfortunately not an option. Add to that how isolating having a newborn can be it is all the more important for mothers to have opportunities to meet one another and build a support network for themselves. Here are some organizations to get you started.
La Leche League is made up of a network of volunteers around the world with the goal of helping mothers breastfeed successfully. With English-speaking groups meeting in Tokyo Central, Tokyo West, Okinawa, Wakkanai, and Yokosuka, and telephone support to the rest of Japan, LLL is an excellent resource if you want to learn more about breastfeeding, you need support, or you just want to meet other breastfeeding mums.
LLL Tokyo Central: Regular meetings held on the 2nd Friday of the month in Shibuya, Toddler meetings (address unique needs of mums nursing toddlers) held on the 4th Tuesday of the month in Shibuya.
Please see the website for details on meetings in other places.
An offshoot of the Tokyo Pregnancy Group, TMG was established in 2006 and provides new mothers the chance to meet, socialise, and learn via various information sessions they run. For those new to Tokyo and/or motherhood, they also have a Mentor Program which can be personalized to your needs and help you get adjusted to your new life.
Blue Sky offers online breastfeeding and parenting consultations via Skype with Iona Macnab, a former resident of Japan for 20 years who is currently residing in Melbourne, Australia. She is a certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and has helped many foreign women in Japan have success breastfeeding. You should also check out the video clip on her site which gives some excellent information on breastfeeding the newborn, positioning, and conditions such a tongue-tie which can make breastfeeding difficult but can be resolved very easily. Blue Sky also orgaizes CPR/AED and First Aid workshops in Tokyo in conjunction with the Tokyo Fire Department. Check the site for upcoming dates or email to register your interest.