“Thank you so much for all your advice” is something I hear quite often. Some times I comment on the remark to correct them and some times I leave it. Why is this a sticking point? There is a difference.
I learnt quite early on in my breastfeeding role the difference between advice and information. It’s a very little but important definition. Advice is coming often from personal experience. Information comes from knowledge based on studying the topic in depth based on evidence based informational studies.
IBCLCs, breastfeeding councillors and peer supporters give information for breastfeeding. Other professionals who come in to contact with mothers in the early moments of their infant feeding experience will quite possibly not have any or much breastfeeding training. So it is likely they will speak from a perspective of advice based on personal experience and not evidence based information based on studies undertaken globally.
I’ve seen quite a lot of people giving themselves a job title, working with mothers and giving “advice” in many different roles. This can be absolutely fine in some instances and life threatening in others.
The life threating instances will possibly not even realise they are putting a life in jeopardy (and I know many do their roles out of love and passion) but, their lack of evidence based knowledge means they will often end up a place of danger with the advice they give.
How can they and we prevent this? Listen and learn from the science, check the training the person has undertaken especially making sure it is on the subject you are employing them for, listen to your gut feeling, if it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t unless there’s science behind it.
Evidence based information is something IBCLCs pride themselves on, it is why we spend many hours and quite some money on initial and further training so we are always basing our work on evidence based information (we have to recertify every five years with over 75 hours of certified learning) It will be the reason many IBCLCs will not become involved in certain events, we are protecting not just ourselves but our hard earned credential that is based on evidence based information. Joining with those who potentially haven’t come from that background could mean we cloud ourselves seemingly approving of practices that might be life threatening so it may be that you find many IBCLCs and breastfeeding support based people unable to partake in your event. This can at times be really frustrating but is done so with the best intentions. If you want to know more about some of the reasons why IBCLCs may not be able to take part in event please take a look at the WHO code information.

Advice definition:


Advice (opinion), an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action.

Information definition:


Information: facts provided or learned about something or someone.

I will be honest to the best of my ability with my clients based on evidence based information. I will treat them with the up most respect. I will be mindful many of my clients are in the most vulnerable time in their lives when I see them. I will try my best to never become involved in any thing that may be perceived as approving of non evidence based practice and marketing of products that undermine breastfeeding parents. I am not in this profession to make excess money, I am in it because of passion that parents and babies receive information that is reliable so they can meet their breastfeeding goals and expectations. I am in it to help parents bond and become well adjusted and bonded with their babies, I am in it because of attachment of parents and children. I am in it because I want to help, I am in it because the community it has is one of the best and knowledgeable I’ve ever know, breastfeeding is global, it spans language barriers, it spans every race, it spans every life it is about filling people’s hearts and giving them confidence. There is much more I could write but I hope you get the idea!

Information V advice.. information will more likely get you to the point you were aiming for.

Advice ‘V’ Information. What’s the difference?

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