Facilitators of Change Nutrition/Behavior Counseling

E. Influence of Family and Friends

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E. Influence of Family and Friends

*Mothers might say:

  • “I’ve never seen anyone breastfeed.”

  • “My mother couldn’t breastfeed.”

  • “My boyfriend doesn’t want me to breastfeed.”

*Mothers may have these concerns:

  • Many women, especially young women who are pregnant for the first time, rely on their own mothers for advice and support with child care, including infant feeding.

  • In many families, the mother’s husband or her boyfriend has a strong influence on her choice. His opinions are especially important when he lives in the same household or has regular contact with the mother.

  • Because bottlefeeding was the norm for many years, relatives and friends are more likely to advise women to bottlefeed than breastfeed.

*Mothers may appreciate hearing the following information:

  • It is positive for mothers to talk to other mothers who are breastfeeding or who have breastfed their babies. This includes La Leche League meetings, women’s church groups or perhaps other mothers from the WIC Clinic. Mothers need reassurance of knowing someone else who has succeeded at breastfeeding before them.

  • Many fathers are really proud of their baby’s mother for providing “his” baby with the best. You have a powerful ally if you can win over the father.

  • Invite grandmothers and fathers to clinic for the discussion sessions. Expose them to other fathers and grandmothers who have positive points of view.

  • Remind the mothers that she probably hasn’t always done everything her mother told her to do. This might be another of those decisions she needs to make for herself.

  • Back when most of us were born, hardly anyone breastfed their babies and nobody was around to help. Things are different now. Sometimes our mothers think that if we decide to breastfeed, we are telling them we think they didn’t do a good job of raising us. It is important to acknowledge that we know those mothers who bottlefed did what they thought was best for their babies. Twenty to thirty years ago, doctors thought bottlefeeding was best, but now they know breastfeeding is best.

  • There are lots of things to do with babies besides feeding. The baby’s father or grandmother could be the one who bathes or plays with the baby when they get fussy. Sometimes, breastfed babies are more playful with their dads than their moms because they associate mom with eating. When dad has them, they know something different, something fun is coming.




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