HEPBURN mums are lending their personal experience in supporting mums worldwide to breastfeed.
Not-for-profit foundation HelpMe Feed has pooled together lactation and maternal child health experts with design and technology experts from across Australia, the United States and New Zealand in Hepburn Springs the past fortnight.
The meet has been for the final stages before launch of the HelpMe Feed app, a breastfeeding resource for mums and healthcare professionals.
HelpMe Feed director Maddy Sands said user feedback was vital and Hepburn mums played a key part in this, particularly at such a critical stage.
“We’ve found in semi-rural areas, like Hepburn, a lot of mums who have issues with breastfeeding might have a lactation consultant visit to help for an hour. Mums can get so much information all at once, it can be hard to take in,” Ms Sands said.
A common issue we’re finding globally, is there’s not that support in between visits or in the middle of the night when mums need it most.
World Health Organisation is campaigning to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months to 50 per cent by 2025.
The WHO has found babies who are only fed breast milk for the first six months of life get the best start in health and development.
Ballarat Health Services told The Courier last year there was about a 95 per cent uptake from Ballarat mums but a tendency to drop off by the time the child was three months old.
BHS experts suggested this was due to 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.
Ms Sands, who hails from Melbourne and is based in San Francisco, said records and resources in developed countries greatly varied, which could make it hard for new mums.
Her vision for HelpMe Feed is to present evidence-based resources, videos and access to lactation and maternal child health nurses for the modern, millennial mother when and where they need it most.
Ms Sands hoped the app would help improve breastfeeding rates around the world and create a supportive, round-the-clock community.
But Ms Sands also wanted to make clear while the app was about breastfeeding, the aim was to support choice and respect for all mothers to confidently make the decision best for their situation.
HelpMe Feed is set to launch in April. More at helpmefeed.org.
BHS’ maternity outpatients’ breastfeeding service in Sturt Street is open to all mums and attracts women from as far as Warrnambool, Geelong and Horsham who have limited support.
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