Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the local Annual Breastfeeding Education seminar with the Child & Family Health Nursing Services at Maitland Hospital, NSW. The seminar was presented by the Breastfeeding Interest Group – that’s right, there is a team dedicated to making sure our local Community and Family Health Services Nurses have relevant and up-to-date knowledge about breastfeeding.
3 families came to talk about their own unique experiences, and 2 case studies ere presented. The main themes throughout the day were making sure tongue ties were referred for assessment as early as possible, maintaining breastfeeding through weight gain issues and the importance taking detailed notes from the very first meeting to assist with identifying mental health issues.
There was also a strong focus on referring families to allied health services, with a speech therapist and pediatric physiotherapist present to weigh in on each of the case studies. The importance of having a list of experienced professionals who could assess and correct tongue tie issues was also raised more than once.
I was absolutely thrilled with the accuracy of the information presented. The level of breastfeeding knowledge from everyone who spoke was brilliant. When the speech therapist talked about how she checks a baby’s attachment and watches a breastfeed before encouraging weaning from nipple shields, and when the pediatric physiotherapist talked about using different breastfeeding positions to assist the treatment of torticollis, I actually wanted to cry happy tears. One of the nurses presenting a case study talked about how she wanted to watch a mum breastfeed to troubleshoot problems but the chairs weren’t supportive enough and didn’t accommodate the plus-sized mum well enough.
In Breastfeeders in Australia, sometimes breastfeeders share negative experiences with local nurses, and express frustration about a lack of breastfeeding knowledge. The women at the seminar yesterday were acutely aware of the problems breastfeeders face, and they had excellent tools for managing them. They were very keen to learn more about how to better serve families too. It felt really really good to be a part of a movement to improve this gap in our health services. I’m very keen to see the practices discussed yesterday become commonplace across the board.