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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you encourage your pregnant friends to breastfeed without loosing them as friends?

Ok, my DH and I are the first of a large group of similar aged friends to have kids and now the rest are starting to pop them out. Often we now get into parenting discussions and it is hard to advise good friends that they NEED to breastfeed without 'offending' them.

Quite frequently I've been hearing from moms-to-be things like "I'll be fine as long as my DH can take some of the night-time feedings". When I hear this I immediatley want to jump up on my soapbox and start the whole topic of exclusive breastfeeding/co-sleeping/AP, yadayada. At the same time I find myself holding back because they have already come of the decision that this is what they are going to do.

What would you do/say to encourage some of these people to make such a wonderful decision for their unborn children?

Thanks mamas, DH and I have been biting our tounges a lot recently
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I found myself saying "you know, we found out by accident that co-sleeping *really* helps with the baby eating at night. Then everyone gets more sleep!" If they mentioned dh helping, I would tell them (proudly and honestly) that dh always got up to change poopy/wet diapers during the night for me. That's a heck of a lot easier than getting up and fixing a bottle and sitting up to feed and then changing a diaper!

There is so much negative portrayal of "babies at night", that I think this must weigh heavily on the minds of new parents-to-be. One of the first questions anyone asks is how they're sleeping, and are they sleeping through the night yet?

Kristen
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks mama, great points. I always think it's funny when my DH looks at another new dada and dosen't understand how they are so tired because they have to get up at night to make bottles
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I just say something like "Man, am I glad I chose to breastfeed! I never had to get up in the middle of the night and make a bottle. After the first six weeks or so, he could latch himself on, so I just lifted my shirt and went back to sleep!"

I
cosleeping! I never had a problem with sleep deprivation, even after going back to work (except those two weeks they had me coming in at 5 am!) because I could doze through DS's feedings and he went right back to sleep afterwards. No making a bottle, feeding, burping, then soothing back to sleep. All done in one fell swoop!
 

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Maybe I'm a wimp, but I have a standard list of books I recommend:

Our Babies, Ourselves (Small) - I tell them both should read it.

The Baby Book (Sears)

The No Cry Sleep Solution (Pantley)

The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books (and strongly discourage the WTE books because they're so lousy, patronizing, and inaccurate about bf and other aspects of infancy too).

(I think the first three go a long way towards dispelling a lot of our cultural myths about babies, and CIO, and not cosleeping, and bf in general - and if mom wants a reference book on pregnancy/babies, I found the "Mother" books a lot better than WTE)

Then have a separate section of the list where I list bf books:
So That's What They're For
The Breastfeeding Book
(Sears)
Jack Newman's book
The Womanly Art (LLL)

(with a note saying not to hesitate to call me or an LC if she runs into trouble or concerns while bfing, that it takes some work but it's SO worth it ... if she'll be WOH, I also tell her to call if she needs advice about pumps, pumping at work, etc.)

In terms of "dh can do a night feeding," you can suggest that mom pump an extra bottle and have dh give breastmilk for that feeding (one of my sisters did this, I've never understood why it was so important to her but - she did bf beyond a year anyway).

For cosleeping, if they seem to me like they'll be more mainstream, I honestly push the convenience factor - that mom can just bf during the night and no one has to wake up, to do it safely and things will be fine. I tell them that parenting is hard enough, without doing the sleeping stuff the "hard way." I push the lower SIDS risk of cosleeping too. And hope that they will read the first two books on my list and come to their own, even more informed, conclusions on cosleeping. I try to use humor on the situation - tell them that we tried to fight cosleeping for a long time, but it's the only way I survived WOH with Ina, etc.

I think parents are often more receptive when it's approached from a "practical" perspective and less of a "research" mode (depending on the parents) -- although it's great to give them research to look at too, if/as they are investigating things.

ETA Pantley's book which I also think is good to recommend/give early in the pregnancy so that mom is given some actually accurate information about infant sleep patterns etc. so hopefully CIO doesn't hit their radar as hard.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by minkajane
I could doze through DS's feedings and he went right back to sleep afterwards. No making a bottle, feeding, burping, then soothing back to sleep. All done in one fell swoop!
: It's the same here. DS just wakes (and wakes GENTLY I might add), I crawl in bed with him (he sleeps on a mattress on the floor, I join him when he wakes and finish out the night with him), latch him on, fall back to sleep. He falls asleep eating. He doesn't need to burp. He doesn't spit up. And he's already soothed back to sleep. I usually wake up at some point and realize I fell asleep and my boob has fallen out of his mouth!

I usually just say something about how easy it is to not have to make bottles, never having to worry when we're out if we have enough formula, heating it, etc. If I feel the person might be receptive to it I might add that we co-sleep, but sometimes I purposely leave it out because unfortunately the idea of co-sleeping does turn a lot of people off (they still mistakenly think it's unsafe, or you never have time with your DH, or whatever) so I don't want them to think bf'ing is ONLY more convenient if you co-sleep (and I am sure many would think I'm crazy for letting my baby sleep on a mattress on the floor!). I nurse around just about everyone I see (baby goes where I go!), they can see he's happy and healthy. Many people ask if he's sleeping through the night but I usually say "sometimes yes, sometimes no, but either way it doesn't really matter to me" (not going to play into lamenting that he won't sleep). I guess the best way is to just be the example and keep it all positive.
 

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I agree that I tend to encourage co-sleeping with breastfeeding. I usually mention that half of all US families co-sleep (most unintentionally) most nights, so if you are going to do it anyway, you might as well plan on it. And I talk about for many families, breastfeeding and co-sleeping is the best way for the entire family to get sleep.

One thing I point out to moms who talk about one benefit of ff is dad or someone else feeding the baby:

"First off, you do realize that sleeping through the night is defined as 5 hours straight. " (usually I get looks of horror on the face of mom or dad).

"And babies tend to not even do that for the first 3 - 6 months. Even the sleep trainers don't recommend sleep training for babies younger than 4 months." (more looks of horror and worry)

"Secondly, babies NEED to eat at least 1 -2 x during the night until they are at least 6 months old. So your nighttime feeding plan has to work for at least half a year."

"I am sure your husband may be happy to get up at 3am for the first week. But I bet that by the time your husband has to go back to work, he will say -But honey, I have to sleep so that I can be functional at work but you get to sleep all day long. - " (usually, I get sage nods at that point).

"So who is going to be the one feeding the baby at 3am in the middle of the night? It ain't gonna be him. So you gotta come up with a system that works best for YOU."

A friend of mine said she was looking into a baby nurse for the first month - and I asked, "so how are you going to feed the baby after her month is up? "

She hadn't realized that babies don't sleep through the night until 3 months or later.

I often point out the logistics.

"What is easier:
* wake up, unsnap bra, stick nipple in mouth;

OR

* wake up, get bottle from fridge (assuming you have prepared bottles ahead of time, and that you are putting them in a fridge because they go off if left out), warm cold bottle while baby is screaming, hold baby while baby eats.

Repeat above 3 x per night.

If you are ff, god forbid the baby eats more than you have prepared or you spill a bottle, cuz then you are in your kitchen, frantically making a bottle while the baby screams.

Oh, and if you are co-sleeping, option one can be done without getting out of bed. I had two winter babies - I did NOT want to get out of my cozy bed at 2am to feed the babies."

I will definitely acknowledge that co-sleeping isn't for everyone and that co-sleeping doesn't magically fix things. I usually tell them about how for the first three weeks of my first son's life, I did have to wake up fully, use a pillow, turn on the light, to get a good latch. But that at around 3 weeks, he learned how to nurse lying down and the better we both got at it (and the older he got), the less awake I had to be to latch him on. And with my second child, he got it straight away (probably because he was older when he was born and because I knew more about what to do).

And then I leave it up to the family, usually saying "you do what works for you. You can try something out and when it stops working, do something else. But remember that you can always stop breastfeeding if it doesn't work for you - but it is damned hard to start with formula feeding and then decide to try to breastfeed."

Siobhna
 

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These are all excelents points. I try to shut my yap too because it aways comes off like you're trying to cram it down their throats even if you're not. I can just say "Boy, am I glad I co-sleep. If he's hungry he'll have a sip all on his own, and I get to just sleep right through it then he goes back to sleep on his own, too!" And they think it's saying "RAWR! Co-sleep, breastfeed!" I never know the best thing to say.
 

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I have one story I try to tell expecting mothers to try to encourage BF and Co-sleeping. When DS#2 was born I was exausted and apparently baby was hungry while I was sleeping. DH just took him over to me, pulled my shirt aside, and latched him on. It was such a loving thing to wake up to a newborn suckling away. I only woke up because DH thought he wanted to switch sides. So yes, dads can help with night feedings while BF
. I also try to tell most women that even if there DH is committed to doing the nightly feedings the mom may not be able to stay asleep. I tell them that I always woke up when they did due to our biological connection and I have heard many FF moms say they wake up no matter what. Motherly instinct. Plus all the extra washing and lugging a big diaper bag around with formula, water, diapers, extra cloths from the gross spitup. I tell them that I always went out with only a couple diapers and wipes and that was it. I try to sell the co-sleeping thing by just sharing my own experience of attending school full time and working and how great it was to have them next me during the night since I didn't get as much time with them as I would have liked.
 

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I emphasize the convenience, too. "Boy, after I got the hang of BF, it was just great to be able to stay in bed, nurse the babe for a few minutes, then fall asleep right away. And I never had to think ahead before going out. The 'snacks' were always right with me!"

I also tell as many pregnant people as possible about LLL. Lots of people don't know that anyone can phone a LLL leader, at almost any hour, and she'll come to where you are to offer help -- for free.
 

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Hmmm, if it's one of those friends who tries to one up you, a good way would be to talk about your breastfeeding and how great it was, but then just assume that they are formula feeding. Then if they express surprise, just pat your pregnant friend's arm in a paternalistic manner and say, "Oh, I don't think you could breastfeed, it's a lot of work!"



Yes, I'm joking. I did have one friend who claimed she breastfed because of what I said about it. I remember her asking me once why I chose to breastfeed, and I gave a kind of half mumbling answer about how it's good for the baby, the immunities, yada yada.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cuttiebearmom
How do you encourage your pregnant friends to breastfeed without loosing them as friends?

What would you do/say to encourage some of these people to make such a wonderful decision for their unborn children?

Uh, I always tell expectant moms that you can't fall asleep while holding a bottle in a baby's mouth. That to me alone is reason enough to BF rather than FF, not even considering all the benefits of BF.
 

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A while back, I got back in touch with a friend from high school. We were emailing one another for a while and during one of the emails BFing came up. My "friend" commented that I was "one of those mom, you know, those BFing moms" and she mentioned that when she got pregnant she had NO interest. I didn't persist at that time, she wasn't pregnant and I was hurt. Well, to make a long story short we lost touch again and a few months ago, I got an email that she was expecting. Perfect timing I thought to educate her. I emailed her a few of my favorite pro-breastfeeding sites and told her that I know she had said that she didn't want to BF but that now that she was pregnant, I'd like to share with her the reasons I chose too. Anyway, I got no email back about BFing. I heard from a mutual friend (that is VERY pro-breastfeeding) that my friend was pissed I tried to change her views. I didn't send her the info to make her mad, I just knew that she didn't have family or friends that would educate or support her with BFing. Well guess what?? She chose to formula feed. I didn't make a difference this time, but it does NOT discourage me. I know that I will make a difference even just once and it will make it worthwhile!!!
 

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Whenever I meet a first time mom-to-be, I ask politely if she plans on breastfeeding, and if she says yes/thinking about it/maybe, I ALWAYS tell her she can talk to me, ask any questions, I would love to help, and I sometimes suggest she contact LLL or start doing her own research on the benefits and importance of breastfeeding. With regard to nighttime issues, I simply state that everyone will get more sleep if baby sleeps with you. And I always recommend using a sling because frankly those bucket seats are a PIA to lug around.
 

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I usually just share my own stories about breastfeeding my 2 children. I emphasize the fact the neither of them had any ear infections and only had 1 cold their first year of life. I also usually tell people how much easier it was, especially when they would start crying, to just give them the breast rather than hunt for a clean pacifier or warm a bottle. I also love mentioning that I could breastfeed in public easily with my sling, even while shopping. And of course, I said I loved being able to just drift back off to sleep while nursing my son in bed.

I don't get overly pushy, I just usually give them enough info to get them thinking. My husband is just as pro-bfeeding as I am. He tells the same facts and stories I do to people he works with and what not. Some people actually react better when they see my husband supporting my point of view.
 

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look at all those UC smileys!

you think there's some sort of subliminal message going on in here


Me I just say "breastfeeding, work smarter not harder! My motto" Then go on about how much more effort goes into FFIng. Especially at night. Then I finish up with "Then I roll over pop my boob in her mouth and go to sleep"

usually works to convert people.
 
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