Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mentoring Moms

Recently a friend of mine had a baby. We're not super close friends and I don't want to be that person who's all bossy and seems like they know it all. But it's hard when you have really good information.  Her healthcare professionals were telling her things like "don't feed the baby any closer than every two hours so that you have a good milk supply."

Um, what?

Breastfeeding is a demand and supply principle, the more they demand through nursing, the more you'll supply. Trying to make your baby wait for the clock to catch up with their belly, is not sound breastfeeding advice. (Yes I know that's a very basic description, but nursing less to ensure a good supply defies logic completely.)

Do I say to my friend, "Hey, I'm actually more knowledgeable than your nurses. I've breastfed a lot of babies, and I swear they're wrong."? No. I don't. I didn't want to be that friend. The one who knows so much better than the professionals. What I did say, was that in my experience, it's best to watch your baby to figure out when to feed him, and I'd hate to see her breastfeeding relationship damaged by clock watching. Then I sent her some info on Facebook from a breastfeeding website.  Even that might have been a bit pushy, but I really couldn't help myself.  New moms getting bad breastfeeding advice makes me crazy.

So, how can a mom with some experience be helpful to a newer mom and maybe get some support too? I was thinking that it would be awesome to have some kind of local group that met and allowed a sort of mentoring relationship between newer and more experienced moms. A place where moms could meet, hang out, share information, and a new mom could maybe find a "sponsor" mom. Someone they can call with questions or for advice.  But as a general group it would be a place for all the moms to find support and encouragement as moms.

I'm not sure exactly how this would function in real life, nor how to make it go from an idea in my head to an actual thing. But I think I'd like to figure it out.  Wish me luck!


  1. I think it's a great idea! You could run it as an email group even, and each have people to email about certain things - you know, this person breastfed 4 kids, so they KNOW breastfeed, this other person dealt with lots of diaper rash, so they are the ones to email for that. That would be really neat! :)

    All right, I'm done now. ♥

  2. Anne, once our house is a little more under control, I'd LOVE to just /host/ this sort of thing. We've got a nice big kitchen for milling about, a child-friendly living room if people bring "older" kids, a porch and a patio people can sit in/on when it's nicer....

    Not something we'e ready to be hosting right away, mind you, but something I'd be MORE than willing to host in the future if there's somewhere this can take place in the meantime. I know Evan's almost two, but we're ready for number two any old time now (once I've gotten through a friend's wedding in August - I have to fit that dress!!) and I'd love to have a place to be as a new mama.

  3. Ooh, and I have a cool childbirth educator friend who'd probably be interested in playing, too. :-)

  4. I think it's a great idea, and new moms getting blatantly false breastfeeding advice is top of my crazy-making list too. Right up there with TV shows about birth where the mom's water breaks, she has one contraction, and the baby is crowning five minutes later. Give me a break.

    Anyhow, I hope your friend is able to work past all the booby traps and succeed. And I hope you find a way to get good information to her without being pushy. Maybe a "new baby" gift with a cute outfit and a book about breastfeeding? I'm sure you'll find a way!

  5. As a fellow healthcare provider, I also have trouble in situations where I have some advice or information that would be helpful. Some people want it; others don't. I try to offer it respectfully, and remember who did and didn't want it, and then respect their preferences for those who seemed disinterested (or for folks who have clearly expressed a preference before I even had to find out the hard way).

    It makes for a little trial and error, but if someone can't tolerate one piece of knowledgeable helpfulness from someone who cares, I'm sure they'll get over it. And if they don't, or they can't be honest about the fact that they don't really want my free advice, then our friendship isn't a good match, anyway.

  6. What a neat idea, way better than just the standard play-group. I bet a ton of new moms would appreciate that help too!

  7. I'd just tell her. As a new mom, I would have appreciated it.


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