You need to do it this way...
Stepping over the helpful line into patronising territory is a common and dangerous occurrence for mummy friends. Here's how you can help without sounding judgemental.
breastfeeding advice

As parents, we shudder at the thought of unsolicited advice.

However, at the same time, learning how to adequately feed your baby can be a daunting experience and a little gentle support wouldn't go amiss. If you notice that a friend is having a hard time and genuinely needs help (not if they're simply doing it differently to you but seem happy enough doing it that way), there are ways you can make sure that you're advice doesn't come across as pushy.

You'll have to pick the advice that you think will sit best with your friend as different people will receive things differently.

1. Leave the judgement at the door and make sure you're constructive

The last thing a sleep-deprived and desperate friend wants to hear is: “You’re doing it all wrong!”. Make sure you're offering constructive tips, and sometimes it helps if you frame them in an empathetic 'I had the same probelm' kind-of-way. Such as, “A midwife showed me this amazing technique to get bub to latch on properly, and from then on I didn’t have any more pain”. You can either describe the method or show her if you feel comfortable enough.

2. Refer her to an expert

You could encourage her to visit her Well Child provider or Plunket clinic and offer to go with her. For a fee, a lactation consultant can visit your friend at home, this could be a nice gift from you to her. Visit the Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand website to find one in her area. 

3. Get in touch with La Leche League

La Leche League is a great place for mother-to-mother support. She'll learn a lot from other mothers there and won't feel like she's being personally criticised. She can even find a local support group that will allow her to get together with other mothers who might be facing the same issues.

4. Share your recipes

If she's struggling with the introduction of solids, why not make a cute collection of your favourite wholesome baby food recipes? Opt for recipe ideas that are quick and easy to prepare and that produce big batches she can freeze. For added nutrients, find some baby casserole recipes that are packed with healthy vegetables and a good source of iron such as meat or fish.

5. Get cooking

If you've got the time, why not whip up a big batch of your favourite baby recipe and place small portions in individual containers that she can put in her freezer. You could make extra if you're making your own, or have a cooking day together, making a recipe each and swapping with each other. 

What do you think, is it better to say something or keep it to yourself until asked when it comes to offering advice?

This article was written by Sabrina Rogers-Anderson for Kidpsot, New Zealand's favourite parenting resource for Early Life Nutrition.
 
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast milk. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby. This post is part of the Early Life Nutrition story.

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