11 September 2019

Rosedale Beach witness to a tribe of mums building a network of support

| Elise Searson
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Dr Michelle Hamrosi Photos: Elise Searson.

Dr Michelle Hamrosi Photo: Elise Searson.

On Rosedale Beach, just south of Batemans Bay a circle of mums are making fresh flower wreaths while they proudly feed their babies and hustle them together for a Families Week photo shoot celebrating and supporting motherhood.

It’s a vision of how we gather as a tribe in the 21st century.

Dr Michelle Hamrosi specialises in women’s and children’s health and is a trained breastfeeding counselor for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Michelle was a savour for me at the beginning of my own mothering journey.

“I thought the photo shoot would be a nice opportunity to get mothers together in a natural environment to capture this moment in our lives, it’s often very fleeting and when we’re in the thick of it, it can be really challenging,” Michelle says.

Mothers celebrate families week with a mothers photoshoot at Rosedale Beach. Photo: Elise Searson

“When we support each other through friendship and groups like the Australian Breast Feeding Association it can make it more enjoyable.”

Michelle speaks passionately about the lack of support in the Eurobodalla for mothers and the need for groups like this to continue.

Photo: Elise Searson

“We run this as a volunteer group and have to fundraise to keep it going, it would be great to have more support from the health industry,” Michelle says.

There’s no doubt the support is there for pregnant mothers but it’s when the baby arrives they get forgotten about, Michelle believes.

A National Breastfeeding strategy has just been negotiated, resulting in the same recommendations for the fourth year in a row that yet to be implemented.

Dr Michelle Hamrosi. Photo: Elise Searson

“We need our political representatives to act on behalf of all mothers by enacting the 2018 National Breastfeeding Strategy,” she says.

“Including investment into increasing the period of paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 6 months, increasing lactation education to all health professionals and increasing lactation support in hospitals and the community, curbing the growing market of inappropriate marketing of commercial baby foods and milk formula products.

“And enforcing the World Health Organisation International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in full,” Michelle says.

Ness Shannon. Photo: Elise Searson

Mother of three Ness Shannon has been breastfeeding on and off for six years.

“I love it, I feel really grateful to be able to breastfeed because I know not everyone can or has the support to be able to,” Ness says.

Allyson Jeffery patiently fed her baby for most of the time she was at the photoshoot.

Allyson Jeffery. Photo: Elise Searson

“When she was born she latched for nearly two hours with no issues,” Allyson says.

“My first had to be tube fed for his first seven weeks, when he came home he had to learn to suck feed, the second time around has been an easier journey.”

Photo: Elise Searson.

We can all support breastfeeding mums by taking a leaf out of Dr Michelle Hamrosi’s book of endless experience.

“Employers can help support new mums too by offering them flexible hours, a space to pump or feed their baby, or extending their leave,” she says.

“Encourage your workplace to become ‘baby-friendly’ or put up a ‘breastfeeding welcome here’ sign. It helps with the bottom line too – better female staff retention, workplace satisfaction and less sick leave.”

You can join the Eurobodalla branch of the Australian Breast Feeding Association via their Facebook page.

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