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When Tears Flow and Milk Doesn’t: Support Through Breastfeeding Grief

by Amy Barron Smolinski, MA, ALC, CLC
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

Some women who initiate breastfeeding will not meet their duration goals. There are a number of factors that contribute to undesired weaning. For a woman who ceases breastfeeding before she desires to do so, it can be devastating. For the lactation professional or peer supporter, this can also feel like failure. Grief counseling and ethical principles are applicable to supporting a mother grieving the loss of the breastfeeding relationship she desired. This presentation uses case studies to address the questions of how breastfeeding supporters ethically and compassionately support mothers who end their breastfeeding journey before they wish to, how lactation professionals and peer supporters can manage our own feelings in these situations, and what are the ramifications of these cases as we continue to share accurate breastfeeding information in the face of media-driven culture in which infant feeding is loaded with guilt, shame, and fear.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Describe the impact of the role lactation supporters play in the narrative of breastfeeding grief
Objective 2: Identify bereavement counseling techniques to offer comfort and reassurance to a parent experiencing breastfeeding grief
Objective 3: Identify techniques for self-awareness and self-care for the lactation supporter

Categories: Weaning
Presentations: 28  |  Hours / CE Credits: 26.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks