I recently listened to the speech "Love Wins" at the CAPPA Conference and agree with the philosophy in all areas of life...raising children, maintaining a good marriage, sharing faith, promoting lactation... My husband always says, "the one who gets angry loses--the argument and their reputation." There is never a good reason to use fear or intimidation to manipulate individuals or convince them to breastfeed. We must apply the "Love Wins" principle when giving breastfeeding advice. Put yourself in the mom's shoes. Often postpartum moms are exhausted, confused, sad, weepy, in pain and lonely. Be compassionate. Be gentle. Be reassuring. Be comforting. Be kind. Behave! I have heard statements made by LC's that make me cringe. Of course these statements come from LC's that also have terrible bed-side manners. Let's decide now to improve the reputation of the profession by always being gracious. Remember, "people to not care how much you know until they know how much you care."
Besides being kind and using common sense, there are some effective tools to use in communication. I want to share the 3 Step Counseling Model because it is easy to remember and it works!
|Climbing the steps to communication success|
- Ask OPEN-ENDED Questions (I don't necessarily like the connotation of the word, but because it rhymes with the other two steps, I remember this step by associating it with the word "interrogate").
Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be easily answered with a "yes" or "no" or other one-word answers. My favorite open-ended question is "How do you feel about breastfeeding?" That can really open communication up and help get to the root of the problem. Remember, our goal is to meet the mother's needs and this is one way to pinpoint what direction you will need to go with your counseling.
While asking open-ended questions, help the dialogue by using the following four probing methods to confirm understanding:
Get the rest of the story; example: “Can you tell me a little more about how you feel about what your mother said?”
Make sure you understand what the client means; example: “When you say that breastfeeding may be embarrassing, are you saying you may be embarrassed, or those around you?"
Let the patient know you have heard what she has said; example: “So, you think your mother would disapprove?"
Move the patient to explore a different related subject; example: “Besides milk supply, what other concerns do you have about breastfeeding?”
Now that communication is flowing...remember to constantly use the second step