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Uneducated breastfeeding moms

Nashville, TN
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Uneducated breastfeeding moms

How do you approach the subject when a mom is just really misinformed or uneducated on breastfeeding? I’ve had several acquaintances remark that their milk hadn’t come in yet and baby was starving so they started supplementing with formula or that they started supplementing with formula for this reason or that (all reasons that I’ve done a lot of research on and they are just not valid). I feel like I can’t say anything because I don’t want to make them feel like I’m being judgmental, but I do know a lot about it, and I successfully breastfed my son for 14.5 months through my milk coming in a bit late (about 4.5 days after birth), extreme nipple pain, clogged ducts, etc. How do I tell someone that if they really want to breastfeed, they need to do a little more research and not resort to supplementing with formula for every setback?

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  1. I’ve been in this situation a lot- about breastfeeding, about vaccines, about discipline- you name it. I think whether you volunteer information depends on whether you feel the person really wants to be educated. As a parent, there are so many things I don’t know… and I’m thrilled when another parent teaches me something new, as long as it’s explained with kindness and not judgment. Because it sounds like you want to help, it doesn’t hurt to reach out and offer info and resources. It always helps to start the conversation with “I remember when I was so confused about that” or “I wish I would have known so I’m going to share with you.” Whatever you decide to do- I hope she listens to your wisdom. We all need seasoned mamas in our life to help! I wouldn’t have made it without mine.

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  2. It’s nice to give advice just be careful how u do because some people can take a simple tip offensive. If u think someone isn’t going to want your advice (even though your experienced) just let em know there’s hotlines they can call if that makes em feel better.

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    1. Good point, Kayla, that sometimes people are more embarrassed to take advice from people they know than from strangers or educational resources.

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  3. I agree with Stephanie! I have found in this situation women are generally in two camps: they truly are misinformed/have been given bad info by their family/friends/doctors, or this is their way of saying they don’t really want to breastfeed without saying that because they think they are going to be judged. In either case, sensitivity is key! I usually individualize my response and level of detail with how much I know the person, and just like Stephanie I try to ask open-ended questions and give a personal story: “I remember how scared I was when I was first nursing that I thought my baby needed more than my colostrum, too. How did you feel when they told you you needed to supplement?” Then often you can gauge how much of a discussion this mom does or does not want. Either way, it’s important not to come off judgmental like you said!

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  4. I opted not to say anything at all. I don’t really know the main mama in question very well, so I’m afraid it would come across as judgmental. If you don’t want to breastfeed, that’s fine, but I think women should do more research and trust their own bodies more. I definitely would have given up in the early days if I had not fully expected the troubles I had. And I think more doctors should discuss the benefits to breastfeeding (and potential setbacks and how to overcome them) with their patients in greater detail before birth. I knew what I wanted to do, but no one (other than my pediatrician who I met several weeks before I gave birth) even mentioned breastfeeding until I had given birth. I’m sure my OB probably asked what I planned on doing, but we didn’t discuss it in any detail at all.

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  5. In my opinion i think you should just bring up the topic and let em know if bf is your plan do a little research before you bring in the formula and don’t doubt yourself bc of a setback, just have to remember every mama and every baby is different.

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