No need to hide: Event puts breastfeeding out in the open

Maree Parsons has returned to the workforce and still breastfeeds her five-month-old baby Mack.
Maree Parsons has returned to the workforce and still breastfeeds her five-month-old baby Mack. Bev Lacey

GONE are the days when women felt as though they had to hide from the public eye when breastfeeding their babies.

Today, thanks to society's changing attitudes, the natural task is commonplace in cafes, parks and in some workplaces.

Toowoomba mum Maree Parsons has just returned to part-time work at St Vincent's Hospital and is glad she is able to continue breastfeeding her five-month-old, Mack.

"I am able to feed him at my desk," Mrs Parsons said.

"Work has been amazing, but that's the kind of environment it is.

"I think it (breastfeeding) is more accepted, as a general rule."

In an effort to draw attention to the benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of offering support to mothers, World Breastfeeding Week runs from August 1 to 7.

"Studies have shown that if the mother has support from her family, support from her husband or partner and support from her workplace, she will do a lot better," St Vincent's lactation consultant and midwife Raeline Walker said.

"More people are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding: That it is a normal thing to do, that it is the baby's right to do it and most mums want to do it."

St Vincent's Hospital has a lactation clinic with staff who provide education, information and support to breastfeeding mothers who have been discharged from hospital.

The clinic operates one day a week and has helped 187 women.

Mother-of-three Alison McConnell and her husband Bruce welcomed their little boy into the world on Sunday.

Mrs McConnell looks forward to naturally feeding her yet-to-be- named infant.

"I breast-fed the first two," she said. "It is hard work, but worth the effort."

Fellow midwife Cathy Krause said 99 to 100 per cent of mothers who were discharged from St Vincent's exclusively breastfeed their babies.

World Breastfeeding Week 2013


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