How to deal with conflicting opinions from a health professional...not sure what to do(7 Posts)
When I had DS a couple of years ago I went along to our local bf group more to meet some mums than for advice - in my head everything was going really well (and in reality it was).
My first and only visit there and I left in tears. The HV who ran the group had told me that either something must be wrong with my latch/milk supply or I was feeding when he wasnt hungry as DS fed every 2 hours. He was only 6 weeks old at the time. I knew deep down this was rubbish (he was putting on loads of weight, happy, no pain etc) and after picking myself up ignored her and never went back. She still made me feel like crap though and exacerbated the pnd that was already taking hold. And I missed out on a great chance to meet other bf mums.
So this time around with DD I decide Im going back and if shes still there I will ignore her - I want to meet new mums. Turns out the group has expanded and its lovely. But she is still there. I have had a brief chat with her - she doesnt remember me - and havent shared any information with her about DD's feeding pattern. I have however told her I am a trainee bf counsellor, doing a phd on breastfeeding and teach this topic and she has been very positive...and left me alone lol.
I've met a lovely first time mum there though who is going through all the normal first time mum issues. Her DS is 10 weeks old and when chatting to the HV the HV pretty much said the same thing to her. Her DS feeds 2 hourly in the day but sleeps for up to 5 hours at night. The HV started talking about milk supply (and were her breasts full enough), how comfort sucking was a bad idea, how she should distract him etc etc. At the time I wasnt sure what to do but just had a friendly conversation with the mum afterwards about what my babies and other friends babies have done and how common it is for them to feed like this at first etc etc.
But what do I do? Do I just leave well alone? I am not there in a peer support or trainee role, I am there as a mum. If she offers me advice I will argue politely against it - she lectured me against feeding DD to sleep and I told her where to go (nicely!) but I would hate for her to make other mums feel like I did. I could see this mum wilting whilst she talked to her and worrying.
Do I leave well alone or what? I want to keep going as its a lovely group just feel uncomfortable seeing others being given bad advice. I also dont want to assume that other mums feel the way I do over getting told they are feeding to often but I could see she was upset.
Intervene. If poor advice filled you with doubt and anxiety, then step in and offer your more recent experience.
Good for you, BTW, on becoming a BF counsellor. Am sure your new friend will be relieved to have some advice from a peer and more experienced BFer.
Tell her. It's made me feel much better to read that feeding frequently and to sleep are okay, so will probably make her feel better too
I would point out to the mum that every baby is different and feeds different and as long as both baby and mum are happy and baby is thriving then it doesnt really matter how or how long they feed. I would encourage her to trust her own instincts, in most cases mums know better than those quailified, you cant beat instinct. If she feels her baby is happy she should go of that.
I do symphasize, I remember being told conflicting advice about bf everytime a different midwife came round, it is such a confusing time
Good for you. YOu sound a huge asset to the group! Well done!
So in a situation where I am part of the conversation would you think it would be ok to politely offer my experience...such as if she tells her you are feeding him too often I could join in and give my positive experiences, bit of positive research etc or would you wait til the HV was out of ear shot?
I dont want to make enemies of this woman but she is older and does seem to have the old fashioned attitude that babies should feed less frequently.
I just hate to see these myths exacerbated that babies should be feeding to routine, sleeping through etc. I know when I was upset by her and naively told some friends (who werent breastfeeding) about her they all agreed with her advice as of course babies should feed 4 hourly. And when the advice comes from a professional people are so much more likely to believe it.
Sigh - why did she still have to be the one running it?
I'd tell her when the HV was out of earshot.
But, when the HV is on her own, I would very politely go and see her and say 'oh, you know when you were talking to so and so you said blah blah, well, you might be interested to know that research shows that removing milk more frequently boosts supply/ theres no relationship between diet and milk quality etc. If you like, I can dig out the papers and bring them in for you. Its just so hard to keep up with all these things isn't it !'
That way you are telling her the correct things, approaching her as a professional, but not putting her down about it.
Of course, if she continued to give bad advice, I'd be very tempted to find out who her boss is and talk to her about a breastfeeding update course.
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