I was recently in a situation where I was asked what I believed the difference was between saving someone and empowering them. My response was akin to the giving someone a fish versus teaching someone how to fish analogy. In my mind this makes so much sense, which is why I agree with the article titled “Why Breastfeeding Help Should Be Hands Off.”
Here’s a small excerpt:
“When helping moms who are struggling with breastfeeding, it can be very hard to resist the temptation to get right in there and help latch the baby on. It is important however for breastfeeding helpers, whether IBCLC, nurse, midwife, LLL Leader, peer counselor etc, to be hands off when it comes to helping mothers with breastfeeding. The most important thing we can do when working with breastfeeding families, is to help empower the mother to believe in herself and her ability to feed her baby. If we latch the baby on for her, we take her power away.” Read the full article here
I have no doubt that breastfeeding can be a challenging experience — especially with a first baby, and I can’t think of anything more frustrating than being in the presence of someone who could so easily assist with situating a baby on its mother’s breast, thus ending a possible lengthy crying. However, like I told my initial questioner — empowering someone instead of saving them enables them to not only become the agent of one’s own change, it also gives them the knowledge and tools to assist someone else on their road to empowerment. So in other words, look but don’t touch. What experiences have you had with hands on/hands off breastfeeding advice and experience?