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Thread: how do I help my friend?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Well PIPSMOM, rather than calling you a bad friend, I have finally thought of some useful advice.

    I know that I expected way too much of myself when I brought home the baby. I had not really planned on spending my entire day on the couch with the baby.

    I think that talking to your friend on the phone is a great way to support her. Let her vent to you. Offer to print out info about bfing after a C sec and send it to her. Acknowledge that what she is doing is hard, but worth it.

    If she needs something to continue a healthy bf relationship, but can't afford it, offer to buy it for her. Like if she needs a hospital grade pump, offer to pay the rental fees for her.

    Give her a good book on bfing and direct her to the local LLL and this website for support.

    Try not to say stuff like, "I bf when my nipples were bleeding" if she tells you she is in pain.

    Take her meals, buy her a boppy pillow, make her a nursing basket, offer to stop by to chat or help do the dishes or whatever she needs done to keep her sanity. A messy house is stressful.

    If she doesn't want anyone to come by or call, respect that.

    If you offer statistics or studies, verify that the research is recent and the source is reliable. (ie. not trying to sell you something)

    So far that is what I have been thinking about.

    I realize after rereading your post that you are not going to abandon your friendship if she chooses to formula feed, rather that you will not support ffing.

    "Love's the only house big enough for all the pain around here."

  2. #12
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Pipsmom - I think that it is wonderful that you are trying to encourage and support your friends BF efforts. I believe that as a friend you should. But I also believe that as a friend you need to support her no matter what decision she makes, even if it's to use formula. While you, I, and most of the women on this forum stongly believe in the benefits of BF and that it is the best decision for all, not all women feel that way and that's okay. I believe in respecting people's opinions, decisions, and beliefs - even if they are different than my own. If she's your best friend, you need to do that even if her choice in the end - after all of your support for BF - is formula.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    This isn't about ending the friendship. It's about how to approach a very stubborn person so that she has the information she needs. I don't want her to make bad decisions because I stood by and did nothing. That's not what friends are for.

    She doesn't understand that it's just as important for her to nurse as it is for the baby to eat. Short of repeating myself, I'm not sure what else to do. I'm looking for ways to get her information and be supportive.

    I have listened, I've ackknowledged over and over that it's definatley hard, I've told her I know she can get through it. I have bought her a book, a bravado, and other helpful bf stuff. I've shared my stories with her for the past 6months as well as info from my nursing group. I've given her websites to look at ... What else can I do? I'm looking for ideas. Thanks for your help.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Hi Pipsmom:

    Ok, let's keep this about what you can do and not ending your friendship. I also have a very stubborn friend and she's got 2 kids both my teenagers age not my LO's age but she is stubborn - like so much so I think she could be the very definition of the word. Here's what I do - not on bfing issues but on everything.

    Offer my opinion, back up my opinion, listen and if she truly is still complaining, I walk away. I won't argue, I won't sound like a broken record and I don't give in, although I think w/ what you're dealing with giving in doesn't come into play. The last thing is I don't force my feelings on her.

    It sounds like you've done everything you possibly can other than taking that baby and nursing it yourself!! We here all feel you're correct in saying the early days are the most important but you can't pass your feelings onto someone else.

    In the end, it's going to be your friends decision. Weather to breastfeed, weather to cloth diaper, weather to submit to CIO or to cosleep, you see where I'm going.

    Do what your doing but don't bang your head against a wall. Know you're a good friend and trying to do what you think is right for their bfing relationship but also know when to walk away and support her choices. I found it makes more relaxed friendships

    No expert just what I've found works for me!!

  5. #15
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    Pazygozo is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Does she have other friends that are BF advocates? Not saying you should all "gang up" on her, but maybe if she were to hear it from several other people, breastfeeding then wouldn't be just one of her best friends' fanatic things (no offense, just suggesting she might see it that way), but something that "everybody" does and "everybody" can see the benefits of. Maybe have some other friends call and just mention how special BF was to them. There is strength in numbers. I know sometimes I get stubborn when one person (especially my mom) is telling me one (very right, btw) thing over and over. Sometimes no matter how right she is, her very insistance just turns me off, but when other people start telling me the same thing, I am more willing to consider it. Oh, yes, if you choose to recruit people to mention bf to her, be sure they don't say you told them to tell her or that you mentioned she was having "problems." Maybe just tell them it would probably be helpful to her if when they call to chat/congratulate, they mention bf.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Hi Pipsmom,

    You didn't mention in your posts what your friend's nursing goals are? Was she very adament that she wanted to breastfeed? If so, I would continue to offer support such as encouragement and offering to help out once she's home from the hospital.

    I have been in a similar situation. I had natural childbirth. One of my friends said I was lucky that I was able to do it without drugs and she couldn't have (she had an epidural). I was offended by that since I took a 12-week Bradley class and read half a dozen books on the subject. I had also gone to a birth center. So it was not "luck" at all. Anyways, I told her if she was in the same situation she could have done in too. After all 200 years ago she wouldn't have had a choice. She and I haven't talked since this conversation.

    I think we really learn a lot about ourselves in the journey through pregnancy and parenthood. Part of this process also highlights the different values we hold dear. You may find that you and your friend really don't have as much in common as you once thought.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Pipsmom -- How did things go for them last night? I do hope her care team has gotten her post-op pain under better control; nothing with breastfeeding is going to progress properly if mom is off the scale with incision pain.

    I suspect every mother who tries to advocate for breastfeeding sooner or later encounters this situation -- trying to help a friend who, for whatever reason, does not follow our advice. It can be intensely frustrating. Most new moms (and I was like this, too, when my son was born) really do NOT understand how breastfeeding works and how much is at stake in the early postpartum period. They also are surrounded by all the systems and procedures and institutional culture of whichever hospital they happen to be in. The lone voice of a distant friend, however reasonable and correct, is limited in the impact it can have at that time. I have been there and done that, and I remember wanting to throw the phone out the window as I watched the train wreck unfold.

    These experiences, for me, were a valuable opportunity to learn the following:

    First, understand my limits. I am not the Goddess of Lactation Support, I cannot leap skyscrapers in a single bound or stop bullets with my bare hands, and it is not my responsibility to save people or fix their problems. A friend's nursing success or failure is not MY success or failure.

    Second, recognize my strengths. Right now, you are the lone distant voice on the phone while she is surrounded by other people and happenings. I remember my hospital room felt like Grand Central Station. In a few days' time, she and her baby will leave the hospital and she will be an isolated, overwhelmed new mother -- and you will still be there for her, on the phone or perhaps in person. Your strength as her friend and a non-professional is your continuity in her life. This is precisely what LLL can offer, as well -- a long-term community atmosphere of support and encouragement.

    Third, be encouraged by the resilience of babies and the lactation process. There are very few mistakes that are so grievous that they are truly insurmountable. With the right information AND support (both practical and emotional), nearly every breastfeeding problem has a breastfeeding solution. On these boards, we read daily of both tragedies and miracles. The non-latching baby one day just begins nursing. The chronically low-supply mom keeps pumping and eventually finds herself with OALD and oversupply. The tongue-tied baby finally gets a frenectomy and can nurse pain-free. Knowing that the miracles are out there -- and that I am not responsible for their occurrence -- helps me to both detach AND persist in this work.

    Pipsmom, you are not a bad friend for wanting so badly to help your friend nurse successfully. I think you are a very GOOD friend for swimming upstream to make sure she gets accurate information in the midst of what has to be a brutal post-op postpartum recovery. I just worry about how you yourself are taking this particular learning experience, and I worry that if you hinge your own sense of worth on whether or not this friend ends up breastfeeding, you will burn out, and the next time a friend has a baby, you won't speak up against the loud chorus of misinformation and sabotage. THAT would be a tragedy.

    --Rebecca
    Last edited by quakerm0mma; July 22nd, 2006 at 10:26 AM.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Quote Originally Posted by jentut
    Hi Pipsmom,

    One of my friends said I was lucky that I was able to do it without drugs and she couldn't have (she had an epidural). I was offended by that since I took a 12-week Bradley class and read half a dozen books on the subject. I had also gone to a birth center. So it was not "luck" at all. Anyways, I told her if she was in the same situation she could have done in too. After all 200 years ago she wouldn't have had a choice. She and I haven't talked since this conversation.
    But she wasn't in the same situation as you and 200 years ago she or her baby might have died. Nowhere in Pipsmon's posts does she say she's considering leaving the friendship if they end up not agreeing on this choice. Only that she won't support it. That's fair and honest.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    I have a good friend who just found out she's pregnant and already says she's formula feeding. Even though I am totally pro breastfeeding, to the point that I'm exclusively pumping for my son (he rejected the breast) even though it's painful, I would never force my agenda on her. This is her 1st child and she needs my support. She never tried to get me to FF, and I won't give her a guilt trip. New moms have enough to worry about, and if your friend says she's in pain, believe her. Different people have different thresholds, and you don't want her to to feel like she's failing her new baby. Breastmilk is wonderful, but plenty of people have developed quite well on formula, even though I am doing eveything in my power to avoid it w/ my own baby. I really think you should just be supportive. If she's talked to an LC, she's somewhat knowledgable about breastfeeding. Also, I think you can skip bf until your milk comes in. My ped said there are some cultures who don't bf at all until there's milk. Mine didn't come for 5 days. Good luck!

  10. #20
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    Default Re: how do I help my friend?

    Quote Originally Posted by jentut
    So it was not "luck" at all. .
    I agree with you there. It's not luck, it's determination, hard work and preparation. She did say she didn't know how I could get through the pain of the contractions after my water broke. There were a few moments when I didn't think I could! But I surrounded myself with people who knew my goals and perservered. She didn't prepare, she refused to inform herself and she didn't have any goals except to get the baby out.

    Quote Originally Posted by jentut
    You may find that you and your friend really don't have as much in common as you once thought.
    I think that's been my fear. We've always been very different people. I was talking with my mother about this and she reminded that my friend has always taken the easy way out when faced with challenges in life. That's just not who I am. But this is the biggest one of all. We've parted ways once before when we went vastly different routes in life. Recently, I've wondered if we're only friends out of habit and whether we would drift apart when her baby was born. She has much more in common with her other suburban friends and I have much more in common with my friends here.

    I left her a message this morning saying that I hope things went better last night at to call me if she wanted to talk. I still haven't heard from her.

    She did intend to bf. She talked about it, never talked about formula. We talked about how she was going to manage her cousin's wedding with a nursing infant. We talked about how she was going to pump when she went back to work. She had plans for all these situations. I worry that when faced with how difficult this is, she will again take the easy way out.

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