What to say to friend?

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orange sunhat
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What to say to friend?

Post by orange sunhat » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:42 pm

Hi All,

A friend has to start bottle-feeding her DD (nearly 4 months old) because bub is dropping thru percentiles on the graph, extremely low weight gains over 2+months etc. I have offered on numerous occasions to put her in touch with ABA counsellors (even gave her a bulletin with ph #s) and it just doesn't seem to be her thing as she always politely says she has something else on that day or things were going well that week or whatever. Anyway there's a whole complex story and my friend has followed all of the advice she received from Drs, nurses, Paed etc to continue bf but it just seems like its not gonna happen for her, mainly because bub has not had a good attachment from day one, her nipples were bleeding so much that she was the talk of the maternity dept, then using shields ever since and it was put down to bub not drawing nipple far enough into the mouth etc etc. Point is, I don't want to tell her how to continue or what else she should do because I think she might have just accepted that it isn't going to work. And I think she has been bombarded by so much advice and in a way it could make her feel like it is her fault if she does what everyone says and it still isn't working (IYKWIM??). So I don't want to tell her any more ideas she should try.

Now I just want to know what to say and how to say it that isn't going to make her feel patronised or give her an anti-ABA perception. I have said that ABA can help her with expressing to bottle-feed some EBM, how to avoid mastitis and blocked ducts if she is weaning altogether, even the feelings of disappointment about not being able to feed as long as she wanted (bub is nearly 4 months).

Want to help but don't want to be seen as one of those people who forces things on others...... or make my friend feel like I think she has given up too early or anything. She has tried so hard... I guess I want to validate the efforts she has put in, say that iot isn't her fault, and let her know that its ok to either feel happy or feel sad or feel both or feel nothing. But how?

Thanks wonderful and sympathetic forumites!

Cheers,
Lisa
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
- M. Mead

DS Luke 5/2/06
DD Sophie 5/10/07

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Andrew's Mum
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Post by Andrew's Mum » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:59 pm

Lisa, one of the counselling tricks that we use is to ask "how do you feel about..?" That way, you can then empathise and validate her experience (eg it wasn't going to work out, I worked so hard for this to happen..) with what she is feeling, but without needing to "guess" and so hopefully not patronise or force an issue. If she's persisted for this long, and now decided to wean you could also probably be fairly safe with "it sucks that this didn't work out".
HTH

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eilis
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Post by eilis » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:27 pm

She is lucky to have a friend like you! I think like AM's said, start by asking how she feels.
2nd time round I wanted to know why it wasnt working and how to make things work. But when I look back at my 1st time round when BF dd, I think I know how she's feeling.
Its silly when I think back, but our community midwfie had rubbed me the wrong way and on one of her visits she said feed, feed, feed, the more you feed the more milk you make. I know about this now! but back then i thought she was a nutter :? I thought how can I possibly feed anymore and I could hardly express 5mls!
I wish she had explained things a liitle better and I wish id listened!!!!! It took me ages to get over our failed BF relationship (3mths)

Having someone ask, how I felt and was there anything I can do would have been wonderful!
Definately say well done on making it thus far with so many problems and let her know she's not alone.
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance” Socrates
Mama to 4

meme
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Post by meme » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:24 am

I think she might have just accepted that it isn't going to work
does she still want to breastfeed? it sounds like she has been through a really rough experience of bresatfeeding and she prolly doesn't want to keep going if it's got such negative connotations for her.

if she does want to, has she seen a good lactation consultant? one in private practice maybe, rather than a hospital one, not that hospy ones are not well qualified, just that sometimes it gets confusing who is what and i have heard plenty of dodgy advice attributed to *lactation consultants* and i wonder??

at this stage it could be that the best support is to support her in her feelings, and reassure her that 4 months of breastmilk/feeding is a great effort considering what she went through in those months especially.

you always come across as a very understanding empathetic person, so i know you will be a great support for your friend :-)

use your ABA group to help you debrief about your own feelings, it is hard to see womeone we care about going through a rough trot, especially when we see help there ( ABA) that they are not open too at this point.
your non judgemental support at this stage could helpl her in the future when she thinks of ABA.
Mum of 3 girls, 5, 7 and 14 years old.


Courage is the power to let go of the familiar

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JennyD
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Post by JennyD » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:18 am

Hi Lisa

If you do ask her how she feels about weaning, and she's really miserable about it, you may like to tell her that it is possible to express exclusively for baby. If she wants to know more, PM me and we can chat as I am exclusively expressing for my son atm. Otherwise, just offer support in whatever she chooses to do. Once you've asked her how she feels and what she really wants to do, just support her in her decision, that will probably be so new to her, as others may be telling her what to do, that she will really appreciate it.

Jenny

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Dash
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Post by Dash » Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:58 pm

Could you perhaps give her a card, maybe with a little present for bub (bib?) to show you support her. In the card you could say you admire how hard she's worked and you're sorry how things have worked out and put in a phone number for if she needs someone to talk to. I know that as well as helping with weaning, some counsellors offer grief counselling for women who haven't been able to bf as successfully as they wanted, perhaps find one of them and check if you can use her number.
It sounds like you're being a great friend and trying to support her.
Deb
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orange sunhat
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Post by orange sunhat » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:37 pm

Thanks for the replies, I realise now that I should have posted this in the "When bf doesn't work out" section. So thanks for finding it in here ladies :D

I like the idea of a card with a nicely worded message like that Deb but might not put in a phone number as I feel like I have already offered her ABA contacts too many times (IYKWIM?). However I have previously given her the number of 2 local counsellors (who said it was ok) and I specifically feel that they would give her the kind of "grief" help that she might need. I spoke with my friend on the phone on Sunday and I mentioned she could get help to continue expressing but I got the distinct feeling that she is over it (like you thought meme) as she has been comping and expressing since day 1. As you have all said I want to support her in her decision without making too much light of the situation as I suspect that others will be happy for her to have stopped "all the hassle of bf" and perhaps not give her the space to work thru the disappointment or even just to validate the feelings.

Thanks again for the insights.
Cheers,
Lisa
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
- M. Mead

DS Luke 5/2/06
DD Sophie 5/10/07

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ella
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Post by ella » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:08 pm

Oh this is SO tricky and something I haven't done so well in the past :oops: My advice is to be very careful...

Ultimately she may not contact the ABA & although disappointing, that's her choice.

TBH I think I'd avoid giving her any ABA info. It seems you've already given her this option? maybe you could just ask her how she feels? what she feels the problem is?

I went to a really cool presentation today on coaching (for teaching...my first day without Ruby! :shock: ). Apparently individuals understand 90% of the steps they need to take to problem solve, but barriers (physical, mental or social) stand in their way. Coaching techniques may help people to sort through their problems, identify barriers and set goals for personal achievement. At no time does the coach make suggestions, rather they just help the individual get their feelings out...the emphasis is on the individual having ownership of the discussion, feeling supported, rather than being told what to do. They make the suggestions and come up with the plan!

I bet she already knows that it would be helpful if she contacted an ABA counsellor, but maybe she's feeling overwhelmed, lacking confidence or feels like it would be pointless??

I'm not sure if that made any sense. I can give you some of the coaching info if you're interested...it's all pretty straight forward, mainly just examples of questions to ask.

Good luck. It's tough, hey! I struggle with this all the time....
R 28/9/06 A 29/12/09

"The time in your arms, at your breast and in your bed is such a relatively short time, but your message of love and availability will last a lifetime"
Dr William Sears

orange sunhat
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Post by orange sunhat » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:29 am

Just a quick update for you. We met up on Tuesday and I just took it easy, asked her a few times about "how are you feeling about that now?" etc but tried not to give her my opinion of things but just tried to ask questions or encourage her to continue talking with "hmmmm, yeah" in gaps in the conversation. I didn't give her a card but I did make a little speech about how much I admired her hard work and determination. She said she is expressing a few times a day and might continue that if she feels up to it, I didn't push it at all and since I had offered ABA help on that via a recent email I didn't mention it again.

Thanks to you wonderful people for the help :D I didn't want to go in like a bull at a gate and risk messing up the friendship, you know?

Cheers,
Lisa
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
- M. Mead

DS Luke 5/2/06
DD Sophie 5/10/07

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