NEW mum Emily Orr is a midwife by trade but says tapping into expert breastfeeding care has been important to her in the early days of son Louie’s life.
“(Breastfeeding) was still daunting. You hear of a lot of people who have problems, but there is individualised care for every mum and baby,” Ms Orr said. “Everyone is different so advice specific to each mum and baby means a lot.”
Ballarat Health Services’ lactation consultants, who are breastfeeding specialists, want women to know there is support and advice to help on their breastfeeding journey for as long as they need.
This World Breastfeeding Week is themed foundation of life, emphasising the nutrition benefits for mums and bubs and the environmental and cost savings in the natural method.
But BHS’ lactation consultants Judy Russell and Julie Morton, each with more than 30 years’ experience in the role, say there are still barriers for new mums to breastfeeding in Ballarat.
“There can be a lot of pressure to breastfeed and be the perfect mother,” Ms Russell said. “There still needs to be more acceptability in the community. A lot of women say they are stared at or criticised for breastfeeding in public – women still feel judged.”
Ms Russell said Ballarat was good at promoting breast feeding, with about a 95 per cent uptake from mothers, but there was a tendency to drop off by the time the child was three months old. She suggested a range of reasons, including: return to work; lack of wider support; access to services; confidence and a fear of failure; and out-dated or stock-standard advice.
BHS’ maternity outpatients’ breastfeeding service is open to any mum, three days a week, and attracts mums from as far as Warrnambool, Geelong and Horsham who may have limited access to the support. A service at Parent Place, Sturt Street, on Thursdays was also available in the breastfeeding friendly drop-in service.
Ms Morton said the bulk of breastfeeding support was from midwifes in the hospital but the clinic could help with extra support, particularly mums who might have challenges.
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