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#1 it'stime

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

I often hear such negative reviews on EB on the ABA's hard stance of exclusive breastfeeding only. IRL I have never met anyone who has had a negative experience with them.

In the last two years I have rang ABA around 6 times. I needed to use nipple shields until DS was 3 months and occasionally used formula for night feeds (I had 3 surgeries in the first 6 months post birth) I will also admit, when I occasionally went out with friends DH would supplement with formula.

I never felt judged, nor was I offered alternative advice to what I was doing. If anything I felt supported, especially when I was congratulated that I was still feeding past 12 months.

I often wonder if people forget they are volunteers. Or have I just been very lucky in the response I got?

#2 Jersey Caramel

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:10 PM

I rang them 2 or 3 times and only ever had great experiences. original.gif

#3 Boombox

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

I think the fact they are volunteers is maybe their possible downfall. I imagine it might be hard to ensure volunteers maintain standard advice, unlike a paid health professional who is bound by a code of practise and shouldn't be giving advice swayed by their own experience and ethos.

I had a bad experience calling ABA with an unsettled tiny baby- she gave me some crazy talk that was completely about her experiences with her children, not the situation I was asking about.

That said I think the organisation is great, and their classes and booklets are invaluable. I do often wonder about the call line though.

#4 Roobear

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:17 PM

I have had a negative experience with them unfortunately. It does seem to be the zone I am in though as another lady from my mother's group also had a negative experience with them. I have moved areas now and have been encouraged to join the local group as apparently they are all positive and friendly so I might tag along to a meet next year.

#5 Guest_3Keiki_*

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

I had a terrible experience with ABA, a total BFing crazy who had no idea and in a very isolated situation continued with a starving baby and pain for far to long before coming to my senses

#6 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

I had good experiences with them and found they were very supportive of mums who had to fulltime express. I wish I had gone to them for advice first instead of wasting my time with lactation consultants.

#7 Mitis angelam

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

In my experience with them, there was very definitely a sense that only exclusive breastfeeding was ok.  When I rang to ask for advice with the issues I was having, and on how to mix feed well, I was told to "just keep putting her to the breast."  

Combine that with the judgement from the MCHN, and yeah, I definitely felt like I was "officially" doing the wrong thing, and I felt that others perceived me as selfish, lazy and precious.  

I don't know if voluntarism is an issue.  How hard is it to have a script that says, "If mother says this isn't working because of x,y,z, offer comfort, support, and make a and b alternative suggestions"?

#8 ♥~Bodhichitta~♥

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

I only had good experiences with them also  original.gif

#9 katpaws

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:24 PM

If you use formula or EBM you aren't really the person they want ringing and if the objective is to make women do breastfeeding, regardless of circumstances, why would i ring them for advice if i cannot get assistance on formula or expressing (which is what i needed at the time) and did not plan to change? I did ring when my milk was starting to dry up in supply; it was hard to get a call back and the only advice i got was to use Fenugreek (which i did use but didn't help). Advice like make sure you look after yourself and eat well etc would have been a lot better, something i had to find out on my own.

#10 Chicky whicky

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

I have personally never used them, and have heard very mixed reviews about the advice they give.  I do think they need to start monitoring phone calls and flow charting their advice like a pp has said. This will be very hard to do though when volunteers take phone calls in their own houses with no way to monitor what advice they are giving.

#11 =R2=

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:25 PM

I think it's unreasonable to expect that the ABA would give perfect advice everytime. They are all volunteers after all. Even qualified LCs don't connect with everybody and solve BF problems perfectly every single time.

Women also have differing expectations on what they get out of calling the ABA. Some are happy to just chat to someone who has been there but some expect a full point-by-point solution to their problem.

#12 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

I've rang them twice and both times they were non committal, provided no information and no advice. Pretty useless but they weren't rude or mean or anything. Maybe the volunteers who answered my call were inexperienced.

#13 Goggie

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE (thecleanowl @ 18/12/2012, 04:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had a bad experience calling ABA with an unsettled tiny baby- she gave me some crazy talk that was completely about her experiences with her children, not the situation I was asking about.

That said I think the organisation is great, and their classes and booklets are invaluable. I do often wonder about the call line though.

I had this too. I wasn't calling for a chat I was calling for advice and I didn't get anything useful it new things to try apart from go see a GP. Well gee thanks for that, I've already been there and they told ne to call you, so did my MCHN. In saying that, I do think they publish some helpful brochures and bf books which did help, so both positive and negative experiences from me.

#14 Percoriel

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Ask 100 medical professionals about an issue they are all experts in and you will probably get a huge variety of answers, so I don't think its a volunteer thing. The ABA provides a very valuable service and whilst its not perfect, the mothers of Australia would be a lot worse off without it.

#15 elmo_mum

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

i rang once, explained my situation - ds was born at 24 weeks, my boos were full and engorged, i was in tears from everything
she ended up in tears with me, giving me great advice
she ended the call saying that she was honored to be speaking to me, and that i was doing a great job!

was great to hear!!

next time i called, the woman hadnt logged, and gave me really vague info... all i wanted was how to contact an lc - ds was home by then...

#16 Isolabella

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:43 PM

Over three calls with them for varying problems like AV I was told on breast no shield no expressing etc..... This was for major engorgement, cracked bleeding nipples where putting bubs on the boob was causing me to go for the panadine forte. Less then 45 mins sleep in three days has no sympathy apart from keep bubs attached to boob at all costs.

Also given the line if wet nappies so all is fine for amount taken... In fact my DS ended up in the ED at 21d of age basically starving ( paed s words).

So no I am one who had crappy experiences.

Edited by lsolaBella, 18 December 2012 - 03:44 PM.

#17 MintyBiscuit

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

I've never had to use them, but I've heard a real mix of experiences, and sadly more negative than positive. I think as an organisation they do a good job, but as a one on one phone service it seems to be a bit lacking. The problem is it's the only option for a lot of women, particularly those isolated for one reason or another, and it's a shame that it doesn't seem to meet expectations a lot of the time.

Personally I'd love to see a government funded helpline or service to help with feeding babies, whether it's BF, formula or solids. It can be so confusing for new mums and there is a lot of conflicting advice out there.

#18 Isolabella

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:52 PM

I also went to the ABA store to be confronted by very pro BF..... Commenting on how wonderful X was still BF her child of 7yrs... Even going to school at lunchtime to do so.

They also have handouts on expressing, EBM etc so I don't know how that can considered evil as such by their advice line and in store.

Edited by lsolaBella, 18 December 2012 - 03:53 PM.

#19 2bundles

Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

I got put off when I saw a rep on the Today Show say "there really aren't any people who can't bf, they just need better advice".

I decided at that point to never ask them for help.

#20 *~dee~*

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:03 PM

I only had positive interactions with them, but I only wanted to exclusively bf so I didn't want an option b anyway. They helped me a lot, and the ladies were absolutely lovely.

#21 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 18/12/2012, 03:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In my experience with them, there was very definitely a sense that only exclusive breastfeeding was ok.  When I rang to ask for advice with the issues I was having, and on how to mix feed well, I was told to "just keep putting her to the breast."

this experience was similar to several friends of mine.  They didn't find the ABA advice useful or particularly supportive once they mentioned they were doing mixed feeding.  One friend was bluntly told that she shouldn't be using formula and that she was harming her child!

However, I personally never experienced any negative feedback from the ABA helpline.  Mind you, there were a few times when I received vague/useless comments that didn't really help.

QUOTE (Percoriel @ 18/12/2012, 03:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The ABA provides a very valuable service and whilst its not perfect, the mothers of Australia would be a lot worse off without it.

agree with this

#22 axiomae

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

I rang them once about how best to help with a blocked duct... followed their advice and all good the next day! Lovely lady - just seems like luck of the draw.

#23 Copper and May

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:09 PM

ABA volunteers are trained for about two years, before they go onto the helpline. They have had to have breastfed at least one baby for at least 6 months, to even get into the training. Like doctors, who train for 7 years, there are good ones and not so good ones, so come on guys, give them a go. Many mothers wouldn't know what to do, if it wasn't for the ABA and sometimes new mums want to hear what they want to hear - like DH wants to give my newborn a bottle of formula and afterall they are the Australian Breastfeeding Association and this is what they know best.

#24 **Tiger*Feral**

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:39 PM


Edited by Tyrone Finkelmeyer, 26 March 2013 - 08:50 PM.

#25 somila

Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:47 PM

I had positive experiences with ABA - I really wanted to breastfeed and the meetings were a great way of getting out and meeting people with new babies.

With my second child I had dreadful attachment issues, constant pain, mastitis etc and the ABA-recommended lactation consultant was brilliant and I ended up doing a combination of breast, EBM and formula which ultimately meant I could breastfeed for 22 months (at which point I was ready to wean him).

By this time, though, I had two close and trusted friends who were ABA counsellors.  If I had rung an anonymous person my experiences may not have been so balanced and sympathetic.  All breasts and babies are different, and if you have only had positive experiences with breastfeeding I don't think you could understand how bad it can be.

My understanding is that the calls are monitored?  I also think that some people phone to "get permission" to wean when they are already at their wits end, and that ABA counsellors are trained to try to keep people breastfeeding so they are probably not the ones to call if you are in that frame of mind.  Not that you would know that as a new mother.

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