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what's going on with the bf counsellors??

(14 Posts)
morocco Mon 18-Jun-07 20:21:05

just wondering really. quite a few of my friends have had first babies recently and had problems with bf, so I've always suggested speaking to a bf counsellor. when they tell me the advice they've been given, i sometimes wish I hadn't bothered and had just told them to check out mn or kellymom. are there a lot more untrained/part trained bf counsellors out there or is it just bad luck? the problem is that once they've been to a bf workshop/drop in and been told something, eg that they have a low milk supply or that the latch is good so there's no reason for her to be having problems, end of, then it's really hard to suggest other things that could be causing the problem. I suspect there are a lot of untrained/badly trained counsellors out there - am I just imagining it??
I think it's great the way people volunteer for this but part of me wonders whether poor advice is worse than no advice.

wulfricsmummy Mon 18-Jun-07 20:24:27

Message withdrawn

DominiConnor Mon 18-Jun-07 20:36:02

The nurses at the hospital were great.
The NCT counsellor was utterly useless, as a bloke at age 13 I could have done it better.

She harped on about it being "natural", a fact that we'd kind of worked out by ourselves.
We also "learned" that people BF all over the world. We had to do it. Yes we did, and we'd be failures if we failed.

I asked for technical advice, what if milk didn't come, kid didn't suck sort of thing, since I knew those to be issues, but had no idea what to do.
"Don't worry, it will be fine".

If she'd been an employee, I would have sacked her on the spot.

terramum Mon 18-Jun-07 20:51:26

Yes there are good & bad BFCs...but its not a protected title so I would personnaly be very inquisitive about who a "BFC" has trained with & for how long. Ive heard of people who have only had basic peer support level training (usually around 12 hours iirc) calling themselves a BFC & that means that they were never meant to support women without a health professional or qualified BFC present.

terramum Mon 18-Jun-07 20:52:36

Oh & defo complain about any crap advice otherwise they will carry on doing so

morocco Mon 18-Jun-07 21:04:36

ahah!! I thought as much terramum. I strongly suspect that this is what has happened to a few of my friends but as it is their first and they are less sceptical about people's qualifications they think that cos they've spoken to a bfcounsellor, then they've got the best advice going - which seems to include regularly topping up with formula after feeds and other stuff I was a bit about

tiktok Mon 18-Jun-07 21:29:43

Breatsfeeding counsellors should not be badly trained - all breastfeeding counsellors in the UK trained with one of the four training organisations will have spent at least 2 years and often 3-4 in training. They all have supervisors and all have to undergo in service training in some form every year.

If there is a problem with one of these, then you must complain to their organisation if you can, and action will be taken. This would mean asking permission from the person who got the poor information, of course.

On the other hand, if it is a peer supporter or someone who calls themself a breastfeeding counsellor but isn't one, then it is more difficult - but if they are working in a support group there will still be supervision of some sort. You need to get details and complain.

DominoConnor, if you are not happy with what the NCT bfc told you, then complain. But I have to say, if this was an antenatal class where you asked these questions, there may not have been time to go into detail - milk not coming in and baby not sucking are quite detailed questions, and are best dealt with if and when they happen, and not in the antenatal class when the aim is to get a whole bunch of people, men and women, from a point of knowing not very much to being confident in the process. Personally, when I do classes, I don't ever cover 'what if the milk doesn't come in?' and 'what if the baby doesn't suck?' - and if someone asks about this antenatally I will be brief. There is just not enough time to do any more.

tiktok Mon 18-Jun-07 21:31:16

DominiConnor, if she said you would be failures if you didn't breastfeed, then you must complain loudly!

moondog Mon 18-Jun-07 21:31:51

Morocco, a midwife is not necessarily one trained in the art of breastfeeding.Neither is a doctor or an HV.I was staggered to learn this and I know that hundreds of thousands of women trot off to the above seeking advice and being told utter crap.

Occasionally they may have also trained as breastfeeding counsellors but that is definintely not the norm.

The training offered by Assoc. of Breastfeeding Mothers, NCT and La Leche can be relied on generally so worth asking this.

Bloody shocking isn't it??

theUrbanDryad Tue 19-Jun-07 08:38:36

wulfric - i was given the same advice by my HV, and followed it religiously till i posted about it on here and Tiktok said "Nonsense"! i've since drank orange juice with glee.

i have to say, all the advice i've had from LLL bfc has been spot on, and far more accurate than the HV, who doesn't have a clue. or, well, she might have a clue, but she doesn't have time to give proper advice, which meant that her throwaway comment of "Give him formula" when she was halfway out my front door was pretty devastating!!

IlanaK Tue 19-Jun-07 08:54:58

Tiktok is so right. I often get calls on our helpline (ABM) from new mums who say they have seen a BFC in hostpital who has told them XYZ. But I also know the hospitals they are talking about and know they do not employ BFC. When I question the mum about it further, it is clear that the person concerned was NOT a BFC. But the assumption is that anyone who is giving BF adice in hospital is one. Often these helpers have only done a basic one or two days course and are NOT qualified to give BF support beyond the very basic.

Our helpline (ABM) is only manned by fully trained and qualified BFC, and I am sure the other 3 organisations are the same (someone listed them but left of BFN - don't forget them!). If in doubt, call one of the helplines.

tiktok Tue 19-Jun-07 10:14:36

Ilana - a little while ago someone on mumsnet gave some peculiarly unhelpful suggestions to a mother having problems with her breastfeeding, and announced that she could give this advice because she was a 'breastfeeding counsellor'.

I challenged her, much to her chagrin.

It turned out that she had done a *2 day* course in lactation...a perfectly respectable UNICEF course but absolutely not the equivalent of being a 'breastfeeding counsellor' whatever she thought she could call herself.

Answering calls from breastfeeding mothers - which can mean mothers at any stage of breastfeeding, from pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, immediately after birth, right the way through to feeding beyond the toddler stage - is very skilled work and it needs a lot of knowledge as well as a capacity to listen, and a high degree of self-insight too. You also need to know your boundaries and where you cannot help (apart from supporting and listening).

I have real issues with people commandeering the title 'breastfeeding counsellor' and either working from a position of 'not knowing what they don't know', or working where there is no 'quality control' in what they do or say. I am proud that NCT (and the other vol. orgs) ensures we have procedures for this - I would be delighted if mothers who feel we have fallen short take the plunge and complain (and they shd complain about midwives and health visitors, too, of course).

I think lots and lots of people can help and support breastfeeding - you don't always need to go through a lengthy training course to do it. But when people have problems, you need more than this, and you need people whose skills come up to the job.

theUrbanDryad Tue 19-Jun-07 18:28:28

i saw a mw in hospital wearing a badge which said her name, then "Senior Midwife, Breastfeeding Counsellor." This was the lady who thrust ds at me and said "He needs feeding."



would be amazed if she was fully qualified bf-ing counsellor.

moondog Wed 20-Jun-07 18:00:31

What was wrong with that then Urban???

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