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what is the best way to encourage someone to BF (someone who is expressing an interest)?

(28 Posts)
MamaG Thu 10-Jul-08 12:59:24

Newish mate is pregnant with her second baby. Her first has just turned 1. I am pg with DC3 (first two aged almost 9 and 4) and we were chatting about baby equipment. I mentioned that I was going to BF again and she was very interested - said she didn't even try to BF her first baby as her Mum and DP had discouraged her, saying it was much easier if they cuold help out with bottle feeding.

Obviously I haven't criticised her choice of feeding for her first baby, but she was asking lots of questions about my BF experiences with my other two which I answered truthfully.

I'm seeing her tomorrow and wonder if I should
go armed with some facts for her, or whether I should shut up and only go into it if she brings it up again? I was thinking along the lines of "You seemed really interested in BF when we cahtted last, so here are some website addresses" type thing

I don't want to come across as preachy but as her Mum and DP don't seem to support her, I would like to

MamaG Thu 10-Jul-08 13:00:24

I've just re-read OP

I sound really holier-than-thou and I don't mean to be blush

scorpio1 Thu 10-Jul-08 13:04:14

Well, i never BF before Millie. I asked lots of questions here, and read hunker's blog.

I was told to just try after birth to see what it was like. I thought, uugghh, no way will i carry on. I tried it and am still ex bf 12 weeks on.

Answer her questions however small or strange (i had loads!!), let her know how easy it is convinence(sp?) wise.

I would wait until she asked; i used to think people who talked about it all the time were a little odd. Now i am a little odd grin

MamaG Thu 10-Jul-08 13:10:46

Well done scorpio, sounds like you're really enjoying it with Millie

MamaG Thu 10-Jul-08 13:18:26

(i wonder if it would be weird to have Hunker's blog address scribbled on a bit of paper to hand to her should she bring it up...?!)

scorpio1 Thu 10-Jul-08 13:23:01

maybe in a diary would look less planned!!

fymandbean Thu 10-Jul-08 13:26:25

maybe suggest breast with a bit of bottle? That way it's something she's familiar with and new - I recommended to a friend that she bottle fed at the 10 o'clock night feed and breast all the rest (I had exclusively bf) and she found it superb as she could go to bed early and let DH do the last feed.

MamaG Thu 10-Jul-08 13:30:44

yes good idea abou the diary scorpio grin

it woudl be freaky if I said "oh well I just so happen to have..." and pulled out a binder of information grin

Yes, thats not a bad idea at all about suggesting a bit of bottle

thanks both

anastaisia Thu 10-Jul-08 13:59:56

I wouldn't be sure about 'suggesting' mixed feeding. Partly because it can sometimes impact negatively on breastfeeding, but more so because if she was feeling sensitive about having bottle fed before she might take it differently to the way you're suggesting it (to be helpful and encouraging).

I can easily imagine someone not entirely happy about their previous choices wondering if you really mean things like 'well you'll need to mix feed because.. (not committed enough, used to bottles, can't manage without the extra help, fill in whatever reason you like...) Wondering if you mean that YOU must be better than they are because you could exclusively breastfeed and you don't think they can manage it.

Of course not everyone would think like that, but I'd personally want to be really careful about not suggesting anything to her at all but just being there to talk to and to give info if she has something she doesn't know.

Now if she brought up wanting to mix feed that would be completely different and it would be great if you had information to give her about making it work.

2point4kids Thu 10-Jul-08 14:05:54

I have been in her position before.
I would say please dont go in all gung ho with lots of information as you may overwhelm her and put her off!
If her family are putting some pressure on her to bottle feed then she will not want to feel any pressure the other way as well (not saying you will pressure her, just that she may feel it!)
If it was me, I would apprceiate it if you said 'I noticed you were interested in bf'ing the other day. Dont want to overwhelm you, but I've got lots of info on bf'ing you can look through and am happy to asnwer any questions you think of, just ask if and when you want to' then change the subject and leave it up to her to ask.
smile

I wouldn't push any info her direction TBH, but I would jokingly reel off some benefits (avoiding guilt-trippy health-related ones, except maternal benefits maybe) - things like easiness, no sterilising, mother's weight loss, oxtocin=better sleep etc.

Let her know that if she wants some web addresses for resources you've found helpful as a BFing mother you would be happy to pass them on. And maybe say that you would have found it easier with support early on so she is welcome to call on you for help any time or something.

I wouldn't advise mix feeding.

VictorianSqualor Thu 10-Jul-08 14:29:12

Surely you can remember hunkers blog address off the top of your head. I mean www.howbreastfeedingworks.com is really simplegrin
<<sly link there wink>>

Just bring Bfing up in conversation, and see what she says. Ask her if she has thought about trying it. Then, as Scorpio says, if she says she might do just leave it at that, tell her there is no harm in trying, and who knows she might really like it, plus just one day of colostrum is great for them. Let her know you're there if there is anything she wants to know and support whichever decision she decides to make.

VictorianSqualor Thu 10-Jul-08 14:31:07

D not suggest mix feeding unless you are willing to tell her all about how she will possibly feel if her milk supply is damaged because of it, nipple confusion, virgin gut etc etc.

FrannyandZooey Thu 10-Jul-08 14:33:49

I think you have done the most important bit probably
just brought it up in an ordinary way and told her about your experiences
you could ask her to come to a bf support meeting with you maybe? say you are feeling shy and would like the company if you feel it would go down well

LLL are keen to welcome pg women to their meetings and can give advice as well as the experience of just sitting with other women who are bfing all ages of children

loler Thu 10-Jul-08 16:33:47

I bf only no 3. The thing that encouraged me was that fact that if it all got too much I could give a bottle. No-one had ever told me that this was possible before, I had thought it was an all or nothing thing. I have hardly ever given a bottle but it was reassuring that I could.

I would leave it for your friend to ask for advice as I think that lots of people can come over a bit preachy. If she doesn't raise it again maybe just mention a local group/adviser before she's due.

taliac Thu 10-Jul-08 16:41:08

When a pg acquaintance told me how skinny I was looking after 2 babies I said "Oh, well thats the BFing" She looked thoughtful..

I'm not btw, it was just a good outfit that day!

fymandbean Thu 10-Jul-08 19:38:33

the mix feeding would solve the protests from the MIL and DH though who clearly want to be involved in feeding....

slim22 Thu 10-Jul-08 20:07:08

Good news is she can BF AND allow MIL/DH to help with EXPRESSED milk (obviously not immediately though). Maybe she did not contemplate that option?

Also, starting by BF is a win win because even if she does not keep it up, baby will have benefitted from collostrum.

I'd wait until she brings it up. Get your diary out casually and redirect here to MN & Kellymom & hunker's blog.

Also very good idea telling here it's the best slimming tool. That usually hits home.

If she goes for BF be prepared to offer lots of support as DH/MIL do not seem reliable for that.

tillystar Thu 10-Jul-08 21:07:51

I would definately go gently, I had terrible trouble breastfeeding and was scared to ask for help as all the sources I went to were so militant and I was scared of being seen a failure if I couldn't do it.

Still I wish I had been warned how hard it was going to be by having had looked into it a little bit and not just thinkig it would come naturally!

So go gently I would say. Maybe just mention that at first it can be tough and se might want to look into it to prepare herself beforehand. And agree about suggesting mixed feeding but explaining only to do that once her supply is well established.

MamaG Fri 11-Jul-08 06:48:30

Great advice here, thank you

If I do refer her to MN I'll have to get this thread deleted won't I!

tiktok Fri 11-Jul-08 09:30:45

tillystar - really sorry you felt unable to ask for help. What made you think the approach of bf support organisations was 'militant'- is it something they say or do, or an experience you have had with them?

tillystar Fri 11-Jul-08 11:11:25

Ah it was just unfortunately the people I met who talked as though formula feeders were evil and if anyone failed at breastfeeding there was something wrong with them... I found it very scary and stopped me asking for help! Later when I was done epressing and no milk left I met some people who were very nice and who next time I would go to early for support.

sabire Fri 11-Jul-08 12:40:46

"who talked as though formula feeders were evil"

What exactly did they say?

I've met load of bf advocates and supporters and I've never met someone who has been dismissive and rude about ff.

"And agree about suggesting mixed feeding"

What - if someone has managed to establish breastfeeding and is doing well, it's supportive to say 'now you can give your baby formula?'

Can you imagine going up to someone who was exclusively ff a 2 week old and saying 'you could probably give breastfeeding a go too - it's not too late. Why not see if you can get your baby latched on? People wouldn't dream of it. So why do women who're exclusively breastfeeding need reminding that they can give formula as well?

tillystar Fri 11-Jul-08 14:14:39

Sorry I am not trying to cause an argument. Why are you being so agressive? I had really bad problems breastfeeding because my baby was fed through a tube for the first 2 weeks of her life and all I was saying was the people I went to for help when I left hospital were not helpful at all. The people I met certainly WERE dismissive and rude and they made me feel very bad that I had done something wrong by giving my baby a bottle even though the hospital was not going to let me home until she had fed from either me or a bottle and she wouldn't feed from me. In fact they made me feel so bad I didn't leave the house for a long time in case I had to bottle feed in public as I felt so judged. So if you have never met someone dismissive and rude involved in bf support you are very lucky or maybe I was just very unlucky.

Plenty of other people suggested mixed feeding and I was simply agreeing it would be better for the baby to be established on the breast than from the start as it can cause problems. Why aren't you attacking the other people who suggested mixed feeding?

In fact what is your problem?

tiktok Fri 11-Jul-08 14:24:18

tilly - I think some bf supporters can be heard as being critical, even if they don't intend to be so, and it must be uncomfortable in the extreme to be on the end of that experience. I have also come across supporters who actually do intend to be critical, which is really unforgiveable.

I think they are in the minority, they tend not to come from a thorough training background (though there must be a few who do - no organisation is perfect), and some people even claim to be trained and they are not.

When a mother has had a difficult start in hospital and an anxious time with her baby's health, it's even more important than usual to be kind and sensitive, and I guess some supporters do this better than others

If someone said something specific to you, or behaved in a way you could accurately describe as critical, then you could complain to their organisation or if they were NHS, to their manager. Is this something you would feel able to do now?

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