Recovering after her caesarean section at Westmead Hospital, first-time mum Gabriela Saluk described her first breastfeeding experience as “magical”.
Gabriela gave birth to a healthy baby boy Sebastian last week and knew from the start that she wanted to give breastfeeding a go.
“Breastmilk has a lot of nutritional benefits for the baby, especially newborns, so I thought that the least I could do was try!” the new mum said.
“The first few times were a challenge; it is something so foreign. I had never experienced anything like it before, but my little Sebastian was a little champ and knew exactly what to do.”
Gabriela’s breastfeeding journey was supported by the maternity and lactation team from Westmead Hospital’s Women and Newborn Health service.
“My expectation was that I wouldn’t know what I was doing, and he wouldn’t know either. The reality was it was just natural. The babies know what to do,” Gabriela shared.
“It is a learning curve but the team at Westmead were amazing. They made me feel so supported and confident in my actions. I never knew breastfeeding could be so amazing!”
Breastmilk is a complete food to meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs for the first six months of life. It is a complete food that satisfies both hunger and thirst and protects baby against infection and disease.
This week is World Breastfeeding Week with the theme for 2021 being “Protect breastfeeding: A shared responsibility”. It’s a time to celebrate and encourage breastfeeding to improve the health of babies around the world.
Westmead Hospital clinical midwifery consultant Michelle Simmons said breastmilk is liquid gold for babies.
“Breastmilk is the normal food for babies, designed by nature for human infants,” she said.
“Both mum and baby get great health benefits and it also encourages a close relationship between mother and baby. It is an easy way for mum to help baby feel safe and secure as they are held close.
“For some women, breastfeeding can be quite difficult and painful. It is important to know that our midwives and child and family health nurses offer support to those who need it.”
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding by providing counselling and guidance for families with newborns and older babies up to five years old.
If you are experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding, talk to your midwife or child and family health nurse.
Normally, there are three breastfeeding clinics in WSLHD – operating on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (by appointment only) – however these have moved to Telehealth or video appointments due to the current COVID outbreak.
If you need further support, call 1800 600 681 or the Australian Breastfeeding Association 24-hour helpline on 1800 mum2mum (1800 686 268).