When people give birth, they are usually supported by a midwife who provides initial breastfeeding and lactation support. Most women know the benefits of breastfeeding and want to breastfeed but they need high-quality support in order to do so. According to the 2010 ‘Australian National Infant Feeding Survey’ 90% of mothers initiated breastfeeding. This is super positive!
However, by the time the baby was 3 months old, only 39% of babies were being exclusively breastfed and by 5 months old, only 15.4% of babies were being exclusively breastfed.
To me, this shows that more support is needed in those first six months. Midwives, lactation consultants, lactation counsellors and postpartum doulas (with lactation knowledge) can help immensely.
Another support network that is available is The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA). It is the largest breastfeeding organisation in Australia and provides 24/7 support to parents via a free Helpline (Phone: 1800 686 268) and live chat service. This service is provided by trained volunteers.
The ABA breast-feeding helpline is supported by funding from the Australian Government which means it is a free service and available for anyone that has phone or internet access. They also provide help to non-English speaking people via an interpreter (translating and interpreting service).
They also provide information to parents via blogs and podcasts and have in-person breastfeeding classes and education services. They encourage people to make a ‘breastfeeding plan’ (which is just as important as a birth plan).
The Australian Breastfeeding Association also has an App called MUM2MUM which provides information and support and provides a place for parents to ask questions, get support and record information like feeds/sleeps and nappy changes.
Amazingly, there are around 140 ABA groups that meet all across Australia. These can be in-person or online. They cover all sorts of topics including supply issues, tips for returning to work, parenting and much more. The Lismore Group of the ABA supports families from Nimbin, Kyogle, Casino, Evans Head, Ballina, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.
The ABA also offers breast-pumps for hire. Trained volunteers also help answer questions about using the pump and give support around how to safely express and store breast milk.
They have booklets covering a range of situations like breastfeeding and sleep, supporting a new mother, reflux, feeding with cleft lip, re-lactation and induced lactation, breastfeeding twins/triplets/more, using a supplementer, breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome, weaning, returning to work, expressing and storing milk and breastfeeding a premature baby.
It’s more likely that breastfeeding will be a successful and enjoyable experience when the new parents feel well supported. Ideally they are getting help with cooking, cleaning, caring for other children and being encouraged to rest and heal. A good support network makes the world of difference and helps the parents to raise healthy, thriving children.
If you or someone you know is needing help during postpartum please reach out!
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.