Gladstone breast feeding group celebrate mothering week
When Gladstone mother Jemma Manwaring was separated from her newborn baby Zac after he was born, a call to the Australian Breastfeeding Association was life-changing.
The new mum said she and her son were separated and put on emergency flights to Brisbane for urgent medical care.
“The stress of the ordeal of being separated from my newborn baby was difficult, but one factor in particular that concerned me was establishing breastfeeding,” she said.
Fortunately, the Australian Breastfeeding Association ABA was able to help.
“My milk was coming in and I was so engorged, but my son wasn’t strong enough to feed at the breast yet,” Ms Manwaring said.
“I became really anxious with the what ifs and I phoned the Breastfeeding Helpline.
“The counsellor I spoke with was empathetic, kind and supportive, reassuring me with ideas
and different approaches to try.
“Several times throughout Zac’s stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, ABA supported me to feel confident and equipped with knowledge to establish and continue breastfeeding.
“After one phone call to the Breastfeeding Helpline, I remember looking at my mum and saying I have to help women like this one day, they’re just so helpful on the phone.”
So Ms Manwaring became an ABA trainee volunteer.
Established in 2008, the Breastfeeding Helpline is complemented by other ABA services
including LiveChat, the mum2mum app, breastfeeding education classes, local support groups
and health professional education and training initiatives.
Now, the vital service, that provides 24/7 support and information to more than 5500 breast feeding mothers, their families and health professionals per month has just received its one millionth call.
“This milestone achievement of 1 million calls to the National Breastfeeding Helpline shows just how crucial it is to be able to support women at every stage of pregnancy, birth and motherhood when and where they need it,” said ABA’s Executive Officer, Victoria Marshall-Cerins.
“We are the only Australian service that offers free mother-to-mother support every day and night of the year, regardless of whether it’s 3am or 3pm.
“It’s also a huge testament to the thousands of volunteers who have made it possible to operate this crucial service and continue to give their time to ensure we can be there for another million plus calls in the future.”
To help celebrate the milestone and celebrate National Mothering Week, the ABA Gladstone group is holding a special event this Saturday.
The group will gather at Muffin Break in the Valley Shopping Centre, from 9am to 11am, on May 8.
Mothers are invited to come along and have a free coffee and learn about how ABA Gladstone Group supports mothers in our region.