There are three initiatives on the U.S. breastfeeding scene that we want to be sure Leaders know about and that we encourage you share with the mothers you support.
- U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) is sponsoring a “Welcome Back” message for Congress explaining how breastfeeding is important to our nation’sfamilies, employers, and economy. You can add your signature by going to: http://org2.democracyinaction.
This is time sensitive! On January 24, the letter will be delivered to members of Congress with the names of each member’s own constituents who have signed the letter. Individuals can add their own comments if they’d like.
- Best for Babes has created a Nursing In Public Harassment Hotline. Having records of as many incidents as possible, even if the mom chooses not to take action on her own, will be instrumental in taking steps such as encouraging companies or legislators to make changes. You can learn more about that here:http://www.bestforbabes.org/
- There’s a petition to develop a postage stamp for breastfeeding. You can learn more here: https://petitions.whitehouse.
gov/petition/develop-and- issue-stamp-or-series-stamps- depict-promote-and-normalize- breastfeeding/YhYyRcMT?utm_ source=wh.gov&utm_medium= shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl
As we enter the holiday season and spend more time with extended family, some mothers ask us for information on dealing with criticism or questions regarding their breastfeeding relationship. The following article from LLLI provides information on responding to and avoiding criticism about breastfeeding.
Your attitude and tone of voice can make a world of difference in how people accept your responses. The approaches and phrases listed below are helpful for dealing with criticism. Review them and choose the ones that are most comfortable for you.
- Use “I” messages instead of “YOU” messages. (Rather than “You always criticize me” try “I really don’t like to be criticized.”)
- I’d like to discuss something. Is this a good time for you?
- I feel (angry, hurt, etc.) when…
- Having your support means so much to me.
- It’s amazing how much research has been done over the years. It must surprise you to see me doing _______. I hope I’ll be able to handle it well when Abbey starts her own family.
- Everyone has to make the decision they feel is best for their situation.
- I’m glad that you care so much about the baby. I’ve thoroughly researched the topic and feel comfortable with my decision. I’d be glad to share my info with you.
- I realize that this is an individual decision, and I’d really appreciate your giving me a chance at this.
- My doctor has stated…
- The American Academy of Pediatrics feels…
- That gives me a lot to think about!
- Your love and concern for the baby really shows.
- That’s certainly another way of approaching it.
- I’m glad that ___________ worked well for you and your baby.
- We’re really at odds here. Let’s just agree to disagree and still stay friends, OK?
- I think we’re losing sight of our goal here, which is the baby’s well-being. Let’s back up a little.
- This is a topic that has been debated and argued for generations. Let’s not fall into that trap, OK?
- There are some valid points to both sides here.
- You could be right.
- I’d like some time to think about what you just said.
- Let’s remember that we’re both on the same side here.
- Can we save the arguments for truly vital topics?
- It’s a very individual decision, and I’d never try to impose my viewpoints on someone else.
- Maybe the topic of _______ should go along with religion and politics: Not a good conversation topic for us.
- Discussing __________ can really get me worked up. I’m sorry if I said anything out of line. Let’s change the subject.
- How about a compromise? You don’t mention __________and I won’t criticize your driving anymore.
- We’re Abbey’s parents and this is the decision we’ve made.
- You feel very strongly about this, I can see.
- This works for our family in our situation, but it might not work for you.
- Just Smile. 🙂
Ways To Prevent Criticism:
- Be discreet if at all possible.
- Don’t set yourself up for a discussion you don’t really want to have.
- Avoid issues where you anticipate disagreement. Focus instead on areas where you have something in common.
- Offer an explanation of why you do things before you are asked. Do this in a gentle way, letting them know how happy you and the baby are. Be sure you give them permission to do things differently. (See #6 & 29 above)
- Appear confident and happy with the way you do things, even if you are not. Don’t express doubts to people who don’t agree with you.
- Rise above criticism as much as you can without a “holier than thou” attitude. A positive non-threatening reply works best. In rising above criticism, making light of things often works.
- Sometimes it’s best to ignore the criticism and consider the source. People often feel defensive and attack when someone is doing things differently.
If you know you will be in a situation where your actions will be criticized, prepare ahead of time by practicing some of these responses. Create your own as needed. Practicing the responses you prefer in front of a mirror or with an understanding friend, will help you to be more confident. When you are in the situation, pause a moment and take a deep, relaxing breath before answering.
Resources for Additional Information
Oakbrook Terrace,IL–The Joint Commission (TJC), the organization which accredits most US hospitals, announced on Nov. 30 that maternity hospitals with at least 1,100 births per year will be required to participate in its Perinatal Care Core Measure set in order to remain accredited. Currently, hospitals must follow “core measure sets” in four areas with other measures being optional. TJC is now requiring that hospitals enroll in 6 measure sets, and the Perinatal Care core measure set will be a mandatory fifth core measure for those larger maternity facilities.
The Perinatal Care Core Measure Set comprises of five main measures, and hospitals that enroll in this core measure set must follow all five parameters. These parameters are the following:
PC-01: Elective delivery
PC-02: Cesarean section
PC-O3: Antenatal steroids
PC-04: Health care-associated bloodstream infections in newborns
PC-05: Exclusive breast milk feeding.
This core measure set is updated about every 6 months and specifications can be found at the TJC website, along with frequently asked questions. The United States Breastfeeding Committee has a free toolkit to help hospitals implement this measure.
The implications of the new mandate are significant for US hospitals, where about 4 million infants are born each year. InMassachusetts, the new mandate will affect roughly half of the state’s maternity hospitals. Hospitals are required to measure the numbers of patients with these parameters and are expected to be taking actions to improve those numbers over time.
The new TJC requirements could provide a big boost for breastfeeding. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently shown that giving formula without a medical reason is one of the biggest predictors of early termination of breastfeeding. According to the CDC’s Infant Practices Survey II, 60% of women do not meet their own breastfeeding goals. “This action by TJC is an important step for patient-centered care, and for maternal and child health,” said Dr. Melissa Bartick, chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition.
For more information see the TJC Press Release. The new changes are effective January 1, 2014.