6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates

They're made for babies, too. (Photo by Hector Landaeta, taken from http://www.sxc.hu)

“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we join the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in it’s “Talk to Me!” theme where participants will share personal experiences, insights or recommendations in communicating breastfeeding intentions and goals to their support system. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.”

By Anthony O. Alcantara

As long as God has not nullified his command to “Go forth and multiply,” there will always be babies.

And the job of breastfeeding advocates, especially with this wonderful onslaught of babies in our world, is to “go forth and demystify” the idea of breastfeeding.

But how do we persuade people that female breasts exist for babies? That breasts are not merely decorations to be used on special occasions? That babies need the life-giving milk from their mothers? That people who run companies making milk formula are actually aliens who want to experiment on humans?

We can turn to Robert Cialdini, a psychologist who specializes in influence, for answers. I’m pretty sure he’s not an alien.

I already wrote a piece on persuasion a long time ago. But now I take the liberty to apply Cialdini’s  framework for the use of breastfeeding moms and advocates.

Principle 1: Reciprocity

This means that we feel the need to return favors to other people.

Let’s say Pedro is trying to convince his skeptical wife Maria to breastfeed their soon-to-be-born daughter.

“Honey, do you remember the shopping money I gave you so you can buy all those clothes to make you look pretty despite that big belly? Can you please consider breastfeeding for at least a few months?”

Principle 2: Authority

If reciprocity doesn’t work, there are other tools Pedro can use. The principle of authority shows that people have the tendency to respect experts who know better. Research is important.

“Honey, did you know that breastfed babies rarely get sick? According to a reliable study about breastfeeding, these babies are also smarter then formula-fed babies.”

“If mom breastfed me, I should have been a super genius.”

“Me too. Now I’m left with only two working neurons.”

Principle 3: Commitment/Consistency

There’s another principle that Pedro can use. People have this need to be consistent to their beliefs and values.

“I know you love our baby so much, dear. Do you promise to give her everything to give her a great life?”

“Yes of course.”

“Maybe we should consider breastfeeding, don’t you think?”

Principle 4: Scarcity

People want what others can’t have. Most of us indeed want gadgets, cars or club memberships that others can only dream of. It’s a natural inclination.

“Maria, do you know that fewer and fewer moms breastfeed despite the obvious benefits? These rare moms who breastfeed are indeed doing something good for their babies.”

“Yes, I know my friends didn’t even consider breastfeeding.”

“They probably don’t know what their kids are missing.”

Principle 5: Liking

This principle shows that we say yes to people we like. Liking can take several forms. We tend to say yes to people who are similar to us physically, culturally or in terms of social status. We also tend to like people who praise us.

“There’s this La Leche League group with moms like you who have the same problems with breastfeeding. They’re your age. I think one of your friends way back in elementary school is a member. Maybe you can have friends there who can support you.”

“Yeah, at this stage I need all the support I can get.”

Principle 6: Social Proof

This principle only shows that people tend to follow what others do.

“What’s this in the newspaper? There is an increasing number of moms who wish to breastfeed. They’re just few, but it’s becoming a trend.”

“Oh that’s interesting.”

“And more and more hospitals are now supporting breastfeeding. Maybe there’s something to this breastfeeding thing after all.”

Now Pedro can use these principles in combination for maximum effect. Lots of promising one-two-three combinations that can be used over time.

Will they work? Despite my contrived examples above, I think they will, if used properly.

Now go forth and spread the good news. And don’t forget to thank Robert Cialdini.

#

TouringKitty’s Communication Through Breastfeeding (Twitter: @Touringkitty) (This is my wife’s blog and twitter account. We’re reaching another milestone with our baby soon.)

DaintyMom’s Creating a Pro-Breastfeeding Culture in the Family (Facebook and Twitter: @Dainty_Mom)

Wifely Steps’ On Breastfeeding: Say It, Claim It, Get Support! (Facebook and Twitter: @macaronigirl)

Truly Rich Mom’s How To Get Others to Support You in Breastfeeding (Facebookand Twitter: @tinasrodriguez)

EthanMama’s My Best Breastfeeding Support System – My Husband (Twitter: @ethanmama)

Raising Baby Lia’s A Shoutout to my Breastfeeding Buddies

Jen CC Tan’s I’m Breastfeeding, and That’s That! (Facebook and Twitter: @next9baby)

Project Blog by Kate’s Talk and Make it Happen (Facebook and Twitter: @kate_demetrio)

My Mommy Kwentos’ How I Recruited my Top Breastfeeding Buddies (Facebook)

Apples  & Dumplings Communicating and First Time Breastfeeders (Twitter: @apple_dumplings)

I’m a Newbie Wife’s How I Taught My Family to Breastfeed

Mec as Mom’s Pre-Natal Pediatric Consultations Are Necessary

Escie’s World’s Ready, Get Set, Go! for Breastfeeding (Twitter: @Escielicious)

Nanaystrip’s BreasTALK : Text, Retweet, Share your Knowledge and Experiences (Twitter: @bunsonimaestro)

Legally Mom’s Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook and Twitter: @legallymomPH

Chronicles of a Nursing Mom’s Effective Communication Bucket List (Facebookand Twitter: @mamababylove)

 

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20 Responses to “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates”

  1. […] to help! ~ Touringkitty My ever supportive husband blogged again for this carnival! Anthony’s Six persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates Super cheers to all these wonderful breastfriends: DaintyMom’s Creating a Pro-Breastfeeding […]

  2. […] help! ~ Touringkitty My ever supportive husband blogged again for this carnival! Anthony’s Six persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates Super cheers to all these wonderful breastfriends: DaintyMom’s Creating a Pro-Breastfeeding […]

  3. haha… love this post!!! and if you’re informed, it’d be easy to entice others with the benefits 🙂

    • gohelpyourself Says:

      I agree. Sometimes you also have to break some sort of invisible barrier to communicate the information to others. 🙂

  4. I love it!!! Anthony, this is a *wonderful* post. I love the clear tips, the examples and the humor you used in this post!! BTW, are you a bfg dad?

  5. two thumbs up! great post anthony. em is so lucky haha! giving examples for your tips is really helpful =)

  6. thanks for joining anthony! your post is fresh and unique – and that’s not just because you’re the only dad participant ha! but won’t principle 4 and 6 be inconsistent with each other? 😉

    • gohelpyourself Says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, Jenny. You are right, there seems to be an inconsistency. But maybe these are mere triggers that people can use to persuade others depending on the situation.

      For example, you have this breastfeeding event for 50 participants only. There will be well-known speakers and experts. So you create a marketing campaign to make it a success. When you make the announcement, you use the principle of scarcity by saying that only 50 can be accommodated. You emphasize that limit and harp on the idea of scarcity and exclusivity and all that they entail. (You can even charge an exorbitant fee to emphasize exclusivity, but you don’t want to do that of course.) You talk about the exclusive benefits and knowledge that they will gain, or whatever. That will help lure some people to sign up. And then, after some time, you announce your astonishment that there are already 40 confirmed attendees after only one day. So you harp on the fact that many are beginning to see the value of attending this seminar. You now attribute this to a growing group of people who are now convinced and willing to learn about breastfeeding. Then you expound on the reasons why these people want to attend.

      In that situation, you use the principle of scarcity and social proof, one after the other. I think these triggers depend on the timing and the nature of the situation. But you can use a few of the other triggers simultaneously.

      I hope I made some sense, but you can check out Robert Cialdini’s books for more info.

      Again, thanks for the comment. 🙂

  7. […] A-S-Ks (on breastfeeding questions, help, support) (Twitter: @dsedilla) Go Help Yourself’s “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates” Legally Mom’s Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook and […]

  8. Nakakatuwa naman ang post mo. Parang mahirap na madaling mangumbinsing mag-breastfeed.

    Tama ka. Spread the word. Breastfeeding is the best.

    Masaya akong makasama ka sa Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August).

  9. […] Superwomom A-S-Ks (on breastfeeding questions, help, support) Go Help Yourself’s “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates” Legally Mom’s Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook and […]

  10. […] puts his two passions into good use: writing and breastfeeding. Through his blog and joining blog carnivals, he has promoted breastfeeding in his own little way. And he acknowledges the many good benefits of […]

  11. […] Superwomom’s A-S-Ks (on breastfeeding questions, help, support) Go Help Yourself’s “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates” Legally Mom’s Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook […]

  12. […] Superwomom’s A-S-Ks (on breastfeeding questions, help, support) Go Help Yourself’s “6 persuasion tips for breastfeeding moms and advocates” Legally Mom’s Breastfeeding Talk Between Me and My Formula Fed Daughter (Facebook and […]

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