12 August 2021

Support service for new parents on the South Coast to expand

| Lottie Twyford
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two ladies look over a baby in bed

New parents can ask for help with a variety of challenges – feeding, sleeping or their own mental health. Photo: Tresillian.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and for parents in the Eurobodalla Shire, that village is about to get a whole lot bigger.

New parents and their bubs will soon have access to renowned early parenting service provider Tresillian Family Care, as the service prepares to roll out in the region.

A new Family Care Centre will be built in Moruya to provide locals with access to these Tresillian’s services.

Local GP and Eurobodalla Breastfeeding Support convenor Dr Michelle Hamrosi said there is a shortage of support for families in the area which currently sees around 400 babies born every year.

“Investing in the health of mums and babies is investing in the health of the next generation and the first 1000 days of a life are the most important,” she said.

According to Michelle, while the hospital staff are doing their best, they are also understaffed.

“Often mums will come to their GP six weeks after giving birth but they really should have been seen already.

“Sometimes things have already come to a head at that point – for example breastfeeding,” she explained.

“Having a service in our area that is able to provide an evidence-based approach and consistent advice that protects secure attachment between mums and babies, provides culturally appropriate care and hopefully encourages skilled employees to come to our area, would be a win-win,” she said.

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Tresillian is the largest early parenting service and provides support for about 80,000 new parents every year through tailored, evidence-based programs.

They currently operate 16 centres mainly based in NSW and Tresillian Director Clinical Service Integration Debbie Stockton said there is a demonstrated need for their services in the Eurobodalla region.

According to Debbie, many new parents experience a range of challenges in the early period and that everybody needs support at one point or another.

“Nobody is meant to do all that’s required around having a child by themselves all the time.”

Debbie also noted that being a new parent at the moment is particularly difficult for those living on the South Coast who are coping not only with COVID-19 lockdowns around the state and being potentially isolated from their families, but with the extended impacts of the drought and bushfires of previous years.

“I don’t believe that these are things which magically go away. So when you add the joy, but also the stress of having a new baby, things do get complicated,” she said.

old fashioned image of a nurse and mum looking a baby in a doctor's office

A throwback to the 1920’s outpatients at Tresillian Petersham. Photo: Tresillian.

According to Debbie, the most common reason new parents seek out their services is when they have a baby or toddler who is not sleeping.

“When this happens, we know that everyone in the family is impacted by the exhaustion it causes and that there is an impact on the parents’ mental and emotional health too,” she explained.

Other reasons for seeking help can be to do with feeding challenges, including breastfeeding, toddler behaviour or parents feeling like they are starting to experience depression or anxiety.

In all of these cases, Debbie said the Tresillian Family Care Centre becomes a sort of one-stop shop where tailored support can be provided around a particular family’s needs.

“We don’t want parents who are doing it tough trying to battle it at home alone,” Debbie said.

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Families can either self refer or be referred by their GP to the centre, and they can access both individual consultations to have their concerns addressed or group programs.

There will also be home visits within a certain distance of the centre and Telehealth services for people further afield.

Tresillian is entering a partnership with Gidget Foundation Australia – a perinatal mental health support service provider – which will deliver specialised support as well.

Debbie is hopeful that if all goes to plan, the centre will be up and running by the end of the year.

Next year it’s hoped they will add a Tresillian van which can expand the service further along the Coast.

Learn more about the services Tresillian provides.

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