There are many new experiences first-time mothers face, with perhaps none quite so daunting as breastfeeding.
With the task a joy and a challenge, Goulburn Valley Health’s lactation clinic plays a vital role in educating local women on breastfeeding and caring for their newborn.
Local mother Aimee Earl recently started visiting the clinic with her two-week-old son Max.
Mrs Earl had her first child in Perth and found it very difficult to find support with breastfeeding.
When she welcomed Max into the world at GV Health in Shepparton, Mrs Earl felt a lack of confidence and was very nervous about the prospects of feeding her newborn.
‘‘I was really nervous because I wasn’t sure how he would go,’’ she said.
‘‘The clinic has been amazing and have helped Max latch on.’’
Although Mrs Earl has had trouble keeping her little one awake during feeding time, she said the support she has received had been impressive.
‘‘There has been no wait and they have been really available.
‘‘It’s also a great space to chat with other mums,’’ she said.
Across the road from GV Health on Graham St, the lactation clinic provides a home-like and secure environment for mums and their families to visit.
Open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the clinic is the only space of its kind in the Goulburn Valley, with many mothers travelling for education and support.
The space also includes a kitchen and room for private meetings with lactation consultants.
GV Health lactation consultant Jann Bromley said more than 500 women used the service each year.
‘‘The lactation day-stay service provides support to help women start and continue to breastfeed,’’ she said.
‘‘Breastfeeding is free, portable and hassle-free.
‘‘We want to teach mums about having realistic expectations and show them that it can be a rewarding experience for them and their babies.’’
Mrs Bromley said the service was open to everyone as many times as they needed for babies up to six months old.
‘‘There are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding for both the mother and baby so we want to empower mums to have confidence in their bodies and what they think is going on with their babies,’’ Mrs Bromley said.
The lactation clinic is a free self-referral service.
New mothers can make an appointment by calling 58311370.
GV Health’s lactation clinic is raising awareness of its services for women across the region, as part of World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 to 7.