Image by Wes Hicks

Breastfeeding: an investment in our future health

Eurobodalla Shire Council should become a champion of breastfeeding support for families in the Shire and lobby State and Federal governments to endorse the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond.

Michelle writes ... 

Dr Michelle Hamrosi is a candidate for the forthcoming and much-delayed Eurobodalla Council elections. She is a GP and a Lactation Consultant. One of The MAYNE Team’s 5 policy areas is Health and Wellbeing, and Michelle is perfectly placed to write about this area and to explain The MAYNE Team’s approach.

“Human breastmilk is not only a perfectly adapted nutritional supply for an infant, but probably the most specific personalised medicine that he or she is likely to receive, given at a time when genes are being fine-tuned for life. This is an opportunity for health imprinting that should not be missed.”

So says the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy.

Last week, between 1 and 7 August, was World Breastfeeding Week 2021. Its theme was ‘Protect breastfeeding: a shared responsibility’.

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Breastfeeding is a public health issue that requires investment at all levels. It's an investment into the health of our mothers and babies - it reduces health care costs and benefits our society and the environment.

There can be no more important time to support mums to breastfeed than in the middle of a global pandemic. Human milk not only provides optimal nutrition for growth and development, but it also provides personalised medicine for babies, protecting them from infectious diseases.

Seven years ago, I established, and continues to run, a local support group for families in Eurobodalla. I know that most mums want to breastfeed their babies, however, many do not achieve their goals because of lack of information and support. Breastfeeding, whilst natural, is a learned skilled, and most mothers need some support from ‘their village’ along their journey.

Local governments must be part of the support networks for new parents. I want to see the Eurobodalla Shire Council become a champion of breastfeeding support for families in the Shire.

Our Shire, via Child and Family Services, provides a platform that should be used to promote and protect breastfeeding by ensuring access to timely and appropriate breastfeeding information. Council also has a role to play in creating breastfeeding friendly environments in and around our Shire.

Our Council, like many other government agencies, should be an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace and must ensure that all its facilities, including evacuation centres, are breastfeeding friendly. Emergencies, such as the Black Summer bushfires, were an extremely stressful event for new parents. During such times, mums should be encouraged and supported to continue to breastfeed, as this provides babies with safe food and water, while protecting against infections that are common in emergency situations.

Our Council should be lobbying State and Federal government to endorse the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond. The strategy seeks to build a society in which systems and settings support and value breastfeeding as the normal way to feed infants and young children. 

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As the strategy says: ‘If breastfeeding did not already exist, someone who invented it today would deserve a dual Nobel Prize in medicine and economics ... breastfeeding is a child’s first inoculation against death, disease, and poverty, but also their most enduring investment in physical, cognitive, and social capacity.’

When elected, the The MAYNE Team will:

  

  1. lobby State and Federal government to endorse the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond

  2. make Council an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace

 

12 August 2021