Wodonga Council’s Maternal and Child Health nurses are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with a reminder that they’re always available to help mothers and babies with their breastfeeding and other needs.
Wodonga Council’s Team Leader Maternal Child Health, Tamara Cox, said breastfeeding provided a vast array of protections for the baby, the mother and the community from a health and wellbeing perspective through to larger scale economic and sustainability factors.
“As maternal and child health nurses, breastfeeding is a core part of our work with families, and we work alongside our colleagues in a range of services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in our community,” she said.
The Maternal and Child Health Service (MCH) is a universal service that provides free support to all Victorian families, from birth through to six years of age.
“We offer a range of programs in addition to our standard MCH services, including first time parents’ group, sleep and settling support and programs to support families experiencing vulnerability,” Tamara said.
The awareness week is driven by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) - a global network of individuals and organisations dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990, by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organisations, to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
“They (WABA) co-ordinate the World Breastfeeding Week campaign every year, aiming to raise awareness on all sorts of issues around breastfeeding,” Tamara said.
The WABA believes the work to protect and support breastfeeding became more of a challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, the MCH team continues to step up to meet the challenge.
“All Victorian maternal and child health nurses are also midwives and support breastfeeding as part of their everyday work,” Tamara said.
For more complex breastfeeding issues, some of the MCH team have further specialised to become internationally recognised lactation consultants, and offer free breastfeeding support through council’s breastfeeding clinic (accessed via appointment made through usual MCH nurse).
All MCH services are free.
The Wodonga MCH service works closely with numerous organisations in our community and can make referrals for further support as needed.