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As breastfeeding advocates/educators/LCs/etc., how do you deal with "failure?" When a mom you've been working with weans early, particularly when it's due to poor advice, not really putting in the effort, etc.?<br><br>
It still hurts me and I feel like I let the baby down. Sometimes I know mom tried extremely hard and it's not so bad, but it's when they weaned due to poor advice from others, not really trying or just point blank not listening to any of my advice (because their doctor must know better) that I get extremely frustrated and often blame myself, even though my mind tells me it's not necessarily my fault. How do you cope and move past it?
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> That's hard, isn't it? I was much happier when I learned to accept that I couldn't be responsible for other people's circumstances. Breastfeeding can be such a complicated dance--mamas, babies, other family members,society in general. You do what you can and try not to take it too personally, I guess. And you're sure to give the mama a huge hug and let her know that every little bit of milk she got into that baby was a precious gift.
 

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I remind myself that it's not my baby, not my body, and not my life. I try to keep in mind that my goal in helping mothers breastfeed is not to ensure they nurse as long as I want them to but rather to help them feel empowered and supported as they work towards their own goals and make their own decisions.<br><br>
One thing that helps me remember all this is staying conscious of the fact that when breastfeeding isn't working well, it can be agony for everyone involved. Compassion for the very real suffering that mothers experience when breastfeeding hurts, when their babies are unhappy, when there are concerns about their baby's well-being, helps me look at the situation first and foremost from their perspective.<br><br>
When I feel a mother's decision to wean is driven primarily by poor advice, misinformation, or sabotage from others (family members, healthcare providers, work environment, etc.) -- I turn my anger to its appropriate source, which is a society that is hostile to breastfeeding, and redouble my lactivist efforts. In this respect, I find it immensely helpful to distinguish between my lactivist work and my breastfeeding support work.
 

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It is very hard, but I guess over time I found a way to separate my emotions somewhat. This is for (relative) strangers I've helped, not for family or close friends. That would hit me much harder. If I fell apart when someone did not continue to bf, I wouldn't be able to do my job effectively. And I try to look on the bright side that maybe that mom would bf longer next time, or recommend bf to someone else based on receiving good support from me (even if she didn't continue).<br><br>
Even someone trying to bf and not continuing can sometimes send a good message if that person received caring support. I still remember my mom having an LC come to the house to help her bf my younger sister. Even though my mother didn't solve the issue and discontinued bf, it made the impression on me that bf was important and something worth doing and getting help with.
 

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It is hard. At my church we have been popping out babies left and right for the past fours years. Other than me, only two other moms have breastfed for the full 12 months. One only lasted 11 days before she was deemed as not making enough milk. Unfortunately none of these moms have even asked for my help.<br>
What is also hard for me is that not a single mom that has me for help, nursed much longer. Either they didn't come to me during a problem or did not make it through the problem I helped them with. Well unless you count my SIL.
 
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