Support for new mothers helpful
STANTHORPE mum Kate Shapcott knows exactly what it is like to struggle to breastfeed your baby.
She has been there.
Close to 20 years ago she was a first-time mother with a tiny baby: Tired and emotional, she struggled to master the normal method of feeding.
“I couldn’t ask my mother for help or my mother-in-law because they had very little experience or success breastfeeding,” Ms Shapcott said.
“The truth was I came from a long line of women who had either weaned their babies early or not breastfed at all.”
Culturally and historically we were a society which favoured bottle feeding over breastfeeding, she said. As a result new mothers were often unable to draw on the wisdom and experience of girlfriends, neighbours and family members if they were struggling to breastfeed.
“Traditionally these are the places mothers turn for advice but, because so many women don’t breastfeed, the information and support is not always there,” Ms Shapcott said.
For her as a young mother it was the extensive knowledge and practical support of her local branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association which proved invaluable.
“Without the information I got from the ABA before my son was born and their support afterwards, I would have had lots of problems,” she said.
What happened instead was she was able to successfully breastfeed and her son reaped the healthy rewards that come with the practice.
“Medical statistics show babies who are breastfed have a greater immunity system and a healthier first 12 months than bottle fed babies,” Ms Shapcott said.
For the past two decades she has committed herself to the cause: Working as an ABA volunteer counsellor and workplace mentor for those training to become counsellors.
Her motivation: A desire to see more women opt to feed their babies naturally.
“I know personally how challenging it can be but it is without a doubt the best option for your baby,” she said.
She said women returning to work earlier and juggling increased professional commitments had also added to the challenges of breastfeeding.
“But it is still very possible to do,” Ms Shapcott said.
“And more and more workplaces are family friendly.”
Ms Shapcott was in Warwick this week to assist in the training of three young mothers, who are studying their certificate four in breastfeeding education on their way to becoming ABA counsellors.
“There hasn’t been an ABA branch in Warwick for about five years but I know several women who are interested in restarting the group here,” she said.
“If you are a local mum and you are trying to work through the challenges of breastfeeding having support can make all the difference.
“So yes we are keen to see a new group start here.”
If you are keen to help restart an Australian Breastfeeding Association group in Warwick, please contact 4681 1936.
If you need breastfeeding advice, the hotline is 1800 6862686 or www.breastfeeding.asn.au