Breastfeeding: support and facts

As a nurse and midwife I walk a fine line between my obligation to promote breastfeeding and respecting a woman’s choice to breastfeed or not. Breastfeeding is only one element of a child’s development, so with this in mind I am supportive of the choices you make as a parent.  

Today’s blog has a brief look at some breastfeeding facts, the benefits to our health and who we have available locally to help us with this journey. The World Health Organisation recommends that all children are exclusively breastfed until six months of age. At this time they recommend the introduction of solids.  The rates reported by the Department of Health of exclusive breastfeeding at five months are 15.4%. As a nation we are well below the rest of the world which sits at 40%. There is mountains of evidence supporting breastfeeding and a government that supports breastfeeding- so why are our numbers so low?

We all know there are many factors that contribute to breastfeeding success.  First of all how you feel about breastfeeding during your pregnancy plays an important role. If you are unsure speak with your village; mother, friends and colleagues. There is also a professional network to speak with as well, the midwife at your appointments, general practitioner, obstetrician and lactation consultants. They are all here to help and want to support you. There are reasons why health professionals ask a few questions about your breasts during pregnancy. Changes that occur during early pregnancy are all great signs that mother nature is doing its thing.  

Your partner is also another key player in your breastfeeding journey. For some fathers they see breastfeeding as limiting their ability to develop a bond with your child. There are plenty of jobs to go around so create a moment in the daily routine that is their domain. I always suggest bath time as a great bonding experience for the fathers/partners 

Being breastfed as a baby is another influence. This can be for many reasons but one of the main reasons is having a female role model who is able to support you to establish feeding is REALLY HELPFUL. Establishing feeding is a smooth transition for some but for others it can be a challenging time.  You are developing and establishing a new relationship, neither of you have done it before, so it takes time. When you’re exhausted it can be even harder. So take your time, deep breaths and ask for help.

Breastfeeding has many benefits but I will just point out a few

Benefits to you 

  • faster recovery from birth 
  • reducing the risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life 
  • reduced maternal depression 
  • so many more! 

 Benefits to baby 

  • less likely to suffer from respiratory illness, ear infections,  
  • enhanced cognitive development 
  • less likely to be obese later in life 

 Local supports 

  • Private Lactation Consultants  
    • Dr Carmen Ast (GP) at Marius Street Practice. Contact (02) 67667753. 
    • We also have Maria Ryan from TLC Tamworth. I have worked with Maria both personally and professionally and she is a wonderful resource for our town. She also does virtual consultations if you are further afield. For more information visit her website http://www.tlctamworth.com.au/ 

Just remember so much brain development is occurring whilst feeding, check out my last blog for more detail. Feeding: its so much more than milk. I would like to end with any breast milk is better than no breast milk, so if you feed for a day, a year or three years, you should be proud.