Good foundations for the rest of a baby’s life come in a drop of mother’s milk.
New mum Samantha Smith, of Crystal Brook, is smitten by the natural benefits of breast-feeding.
Samantha, proudly cradling Ezekiel, aged three-and-a-half months, is a trainee with the Australian Breast-feeding Association and is soon to become a counsellor.
She spoke to The Recorder as part of a promotion by SA Health after the re-accreditation of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative plans at Port Pirie, Crystal Brook and Jamestown.
Samantha had difficulty breast-feeding her older child, Jed, 3, because of low supply.
“This time I went in with lots of knowledge and preparation and it was fantastic,” she said.
“There are huge benefits for the mum as well as the baby from breast-feeding. The longer the mother feeds, the lower the risk of breast or ovarian cancer.
“There is greater resistance from infection for the baby. The mum’s antibodies help line the baby’s stomach.
“The cost to the health system of not breast-feeding is quite high.”
She said the “skin-to-skin” bonding from multiple feeds during the day was important. Her husband Jordan was a big help.
“I would not have ended up breast-feeding without his support,” she said.
She said it was so valuable for mothers to gain the right, scientifically-backed information about the practice.
She spoke at a gathering of parents and babies hosted by the breast-feeding association at Port Pirie Child Care Centre, in First Street.
Breast-feeding association counsellor Chrissy Mackinnon said up to 20 attended the meetings and there were 200 people who had registered on Facebook.
“We are not saying breast-feeding is the best thing to do. We are saying it is the natural thing to do,” she said.
“The health benefits are undeniable and there are economic and environmental benefits.”
Doctors, midwives and nurses at hospitals across the Yorke and Northern region are working together to promote breast-feeding and support new mums.
Executive officer and director of nursing and midwifery at Crystal Brook and Port Broughton hospitals Liz Traeger said Port Pirie, Crystal Brook and Jamestown hospitals – three of the region’s birthing sites – had been re-accredited Baby Friendly Health Initiative status.
“In 2016-17, 199 babies were born at Port Pirie, Crystal Brook and Jamestown,” she said.
“Of these births, 95 percent of mums were breastfeeding their babies on discharge from hospital with support from our staff.
“This is a resounding endorsement of our commitment.”