Breastfeeding Advice Should Come From a Human, Not an Avatar

avatarYour lactation consultant?I have every intention of breastfeeding after I give birth. So far, I've spoken with a few friends who have done it; I've read a book and a half; I've watched a few YouTube videos; and I fully plan on attending the "breastfeeding class" my hospital offers for new moms. Hopefully all of these preparations will suffice. Because I really don't want to resort to a breastfeeding consultant ... who's an avatar.

I'm in the minority, though! A Northeastern University-based researcher conducted a study, asking women if they'd prefer to receive advice from an actual nurse or from a computerized lactation consultant -- and 74 percent of the participants opted for the computer. So, naturally, the concept is now becoming a reality.



Call me old fashioned, but I just find something a little too ... high tech about dealing with an avatar as opposed to a living, breathing person when it comes to breastfeeding. What if I have questions? What if I have questions the avatar is unable to answer, which, let's face it, is highly likely since I don't think this "person" has ever actually breastfed in her life. Well, maybe she has. But not in my universe.

Would I use an avatar as an absolute last resort in my breastfeeding adventures? Of course I would. I wouldn't simply give up based on the fact that I find the entire concept silly and weird. But, for the record, it is silly and weird.

Breastfeeding -- especially the learning part of it all -- seems like such a personal and intimate thing. If it doesn't happen completely organically, and you need a little guidance, it seems like the kind of skill you'd want to learn from another person -- a person who can tailor the "lesson" to you; a person who's capable of emotions. Like compassion.

That's me, though. That's how I'd like to learn, should I need to. I guess for others the whole process can be sort of "embarrassing," for lack of a better word -- and when dealing with embarrassing situations, who better to talk to than a computer?

Who would you rather get breastfeeding advice from: A person or an avatar?

Image via melissaclark/Flickr

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