Kellie Eason RN, RM, IBCLC
Kellie is a Nurse, Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant working at Milk...early parenting support, her Private Practice Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Amongst new parents, the pressure to breastfeed is most definitely palpable within the air that I work in.
I just wanted to open up the conversation and hear your thoughts, so please, feel free to comment.
From my perspective as an IBCLC, I think that there aren't enough supports in place for mothers to be able to breastfeed their babies. Women don't have access to their support networks as they did decades ago.
Financial pressures for grandparents to work beyond retirement, dads having to return to work within a week or so is absolutely huge. I hear so many mums fearful of their partners returning to work and being without help. I hear of so many mums who have had to move several hours away from their support networks due to lack of affordable housing.
To think that it takes on average a year for a woman to physically recover from birth, then those mums having to take on caring for their new babies, other family members, domestic chores, school and kinder runs, after school activities....women do it every day, but I don't think that it is fair that they don't have the supports that they need...
Idealistically, I think it would be great if retirees could adopt young families and act as supports to help these young families. It would be amazing if the government would provide financial incentives to enable this to occur.
We also know that continuity of care is really important for new families, so I also think it would be great if medicare could subsidise IBCLC support so that mums can access our support at a more affordable rate. At the moment, the only medicare funded IBCLC support is via Medicare Eligible Midwife/IBCLC's which is limited for the first 6 weeks post partum (there aren't many around). Other means by which mothers can receive IBCLC support subsidised by government funding is via maternity hospitals and local council breastfeeding support services (which are not always staffed by IBCLC's).......
Apart from financial pressures, I think societal pressures play a huge role. The health care system is trapped between the importance of promoting breastfeeding and the pressures of limited resources and needing to discharge mums home before they are ready to leave.
So anyway, this is my brief take on the pressures to breastfeed from my perspective....
I would so love to hear about the pressures of breastfeeding based on your own perspective...What do you think would make breastfeeding easier for you? If you were unable to breastfeed but wanted to, what could have been done to help you too breastfeed?