Counseling takes time and space. It is a relational activity between two or more people that can’t be replaced with a printed resource or video. While it may be more or less formal depending on the circumstances, breastfeeding counseling is a crucial part of lifelong health for both a mother and her children and deserves time and energy to get right.
Whether you are counseling parents face-to-face or virtually, I encourage you to set the stage for a positive interaction as well as to allocate enough time for the counseling being completed. This can be difficult in clinical settings where appointments may be rushed and full of other priorities. Opening a conversation that can’t be properly completed may be best put off to the next appointment if enough time can’t be ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere at the moment.
Finding seating that is relaxed and comfortable is often a challenge - especially when cost and space constraints also bump up against the need for easy cleaning and flexible usage by different staff. Aim to be able to sit at the same eye level, or below, the mother - standing over or above the person being counselled makes it difficult to create relaxed rapport.
Setting the stage is very much a physical preparation of the space in which counseling will take place - ensuring privacy and comfort to the extent possible and having at hand the tools and resources you are likely to need prevents unnecessary interruptions and signals to those around you that this is a protected time for an important subject.
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Last Updated: September 2018