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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had this situation come up a few times lately, and I'm never sure what to say. I hear mothers - often first-time mothers will poor social support who got bad advice from medical practitioners - saying that they want to quit breastfeeding but that they want reassurance that they're not doing something bad for their child. They want to be told "it's ok to quit." Often they get support from formula-feeding moms who tell them that formula is "just fine" and that their child was never sick, is so smart, etc etc etc. People seem to focus on how stressed the mom is *right now* and how she needs to eliminate that stress (by switching to formula), rather than realizing that just a little bit more struggle might result in a very positive and healthy experience for mom and baby.<br><br>
I want to support these moms, give them a hug, and encourage them to make good choices. I don't want to actively promote quitting breastfeeding. I'm sure there is some situation in which it might actually be a good idea, but usually what I see is that breastfeeding got off to a rocky start and this new mother is overwhelmed. I want to help un-whelm (?) her and encourage her to stick it out.<br><br>
How do I do that respectfully when she has specifically asked for support for quitting?<br><br>
And how do I give a hug to somebody who needs one without saying things that I don't believe, like "formula is just fine" or "it won't hurt your baby to quit"??<br><br>
Does anybody have a really good way of phrasing these sentiments?
 

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I usually talk about how hard it was for me to breastfeed my oldest DD. I tell them how she was physically unable to nurse, how I had to pump breastmilk for her all day and all night, every day, every night. How hard it was, and how heartbreaking it was when people advised me to just give it up. I tell them how I've never worked harder than when I was trying to get DD to nurse. And then I tell them that it was all worth it! I tell them how much happier and more alert my baby was when she was getting breastmilk, how colicky and dopey (for lack of a better word) formula made her.... and on and on and on, as long as they'll listen to me.
 

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I usually try to figure out what the problem is and offer advice to solve the problem while still continuing breastfeeding. But I'm not always nice....<br><br>
-Angela
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe my problem is that I'm too nice? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
I don't have a personal BFing struggle story, or at least not much of one, and ds never had any formula, so I can't bring that to the table.<br><br>
I don't like getting militant because I feel that it hurts things more than it helps.<br><br>
It's a lot easier to give "keep at it!!!" advice in person. Today I'm facing a situation on a mainstream board. I sooooo wanted this mom to succeed and right from the start she got bad advice and medical staff at the hospital where she gave birth did things that I feel undermined/sabotaged her BFing. I'm encouraging her to continue but it's hard to do that when it's on a public forum, because what I've seen in the past is when somebody says they want support to quit BFing, any "you can do it!!" statement is seen as BFers pushing their "agenda" and being rude and unsupportive.
 

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Good for you for trying. I don't even bother in those kinds of cases any more...<br><br>
good luck!<br><br>
-Angela
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The frequency of those cases is what makes me stick around the mainstream boards. I feel like if all the voices of AP/NFL leave, how will people ever hear about BFing, babywearing, cosleeping, etc etc etc? And if all the people who post on those boards are saying "just quit, switch to formula" and the moms having a rocky start to BFing never hear a single voice of support, that's just awful.<br><br>
A friend told me the other day that I can't save everybody. I'm not trying to save everybody. Just one or two a year would be nice. It makes a big difference to those families. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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If they have been nursing for at least 6 months, I congratulate them on a job well done. If they are looking for help to keep going, I'll offer advice. If not, I'll just offer support as best I can.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">The frequency of those cases is what makes me stick around the mainstream boards.</div>
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My DP and I were on a local mainstream parenting board to try to do exactly what you are trying to achieve. After a few months of battling the "formula is fine" attitude however, we gave up (we actually gave up because the moderator was very biased and allowed people to personally attack us etc.). It became very stressful for us -- personally I started to become more unhappy and even depressed. I was sad to leave because there was so much knowledge to impart but facing up to the hostility was hardly worth it. Anyway this was simply my experience and I am a very emotional person too so I got very presonally effected by the sad stories.<br><br>
Thanks for voicing this concern though. I look forward to more responses.
 

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Depends on the person <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
One friend tried *really* hard. She pumped incessantly, took fenugreek, dranks teas, got prescriptions for domperidone, etc. Nothing helped, she simply couldn't get her supply going. Her first baby had had a hard time nursing too but her husband was not at all supportive <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> so for the second baby she went all out. Still, to no avail. I suggested some things, but she was also seeing a LC and getting good advice there. So when she told me she had stopped I said hey, you tried, he got some breastmilk and that is what matters, his health will be so much better for what he did get, etc.<br><br>
Another friend "gave it a shot." Her husband was again, not supportive, and demanded from the get go that he be involved in feeding the baby. She seemed very committed when she was pregnant and asked me tons of questions. I lent her my Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and gave her as much info as possible. When the baby was born she complained constantly that it hurt, wasn't convenient, prevented her from going anywhere, that he wanted to eat all the time (2 hours was not reasonable to her), etc. She kept saying "I have to get this baby on a schedule" After 2 months of part formula and part breastmilk she saw a lactation consultant who recommended a slow wean. So she dropped a feeding every few days. By the time he was three months the baby was totally formula fed. She told me her plan after she saw the LC and all I said was "oh" because I really couldn't think of anything nice to say. I felt from what she told me that her reasons were shallow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: About 2 months later I saw her for lunch, and she watched me nurse my daughter and sighed and said that she really missed nursing - when she was down to the last feeding she felt that it was getting easier and that she talked to her husband about sticking with it but he said why would you do that? You'll be traveling soon (they were visiting relatives across the country) and it will be more convenient to bottlefeed. So she listened to him and quit. All I said was "what a shame" because I really couldn't go into it without telling her that her husband was a jackass.<br><br>
I guess I feel sorry for the women that receive misinformation and quit but I feel sorrier for the women who don't bother to do the research and commit to what is important. It blows that there are plenty of healthy women out there who can make enough milk but choose not to do so.
 

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well I have two approaches. First one is the same one I use as a doula when clients want an epidural. I say "if you want to switch compleletly to formula that is your choice. It will not mean that you are a bad mother or that you didn't try hard enough. We all have our struggles and have to pick our battles. That said here are the reasons that you wanted to bf in the first place ________________. If you would like it, I can help you come up with a game plan to continue to nurse." I also encourage women to not look at nurse/formula as 100% either way. Is it low milk supply? Supplement. Is it returning to work without being able to pump? Do combo feedings. Is it lack of support from a parter? Get out your big boots. Is it pain? lets look at the latch/refer to IBCLC. Is it NIP? Let's make a list of every place in town with a nursing room. Is it wanting to drink/smoke/go to dinner with partner alone? Let's examine the evidence and see if you can combine them.<br><br>
With my dd I stopped nursing at 5 days and quit pumping at 2 weeks. I REALLY wanted someone to tell me to continue, to give me hope. Everyone just said that I did my best and not to punish myself. I am still mourning quiting 6 years later. I don't want to be the one to cause that pain to others so I give mama's *permission* to continue as long as they want.<br><br>
V.
 
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