"WHAT is a lactation consultant?" is the question most frequently asked of mother-of-four Brigid Feely.
But she never tires of explaining what she does for a living.
The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital midwife's passion for taking care of women when they are at their most vulnerable stems from knowing just how important it is to breastfeed and how easy it is to give up.
Brigid's midwifery pathway has seen her provide unwavering support for mothers through their birth journey and post-natal care of mothers, infants and their families, and she believes in the long-term benefits this brings to women.
She provides women with the post-natal care they not only deserve, but need.
It is common for mothers to be discharged in the public hospital system, 24 to 48 hours after giving birth and, in the private system, after four or five days.
This results in women not being given the proper attention needed to help with lactation.
Brigid said 41% of mothers were not breastfeeding after six weeks.
"There are so many hiccups without support - they need gentle support and nurturing," she said.
"After giving birth, women are vulnerable, hormonal, stressed, tired and the pressure is on, which makes it easy to give up.
"The health benefits of breastfeeding are lifelong which is why it is so important."
Brigid believes "it is an instinctive primal experience, founded in the principles of health and well-being, recognising conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding are natural life processes".
"Lactation is the most natural thing but not always easy," she said.
"A lot of women think, 'Why can't I manage this?'.
"Women are at their most vulnerable after giving birth and they are so appreciative of any help.
"Everyone needs help to learn how to ride a bike - lactation is no different."
The Buderim woman is at the top of her midwifery field with the help of a few extra credentials including completing her Masters of Midwifery at the University of the Sunshine Coast as well as gaining her eligibility as a midwife.
This means costs incurred by her services are eligible for a Medicare rebate.
Breastfeeding classes start in the New Year to prepare parents-to-be for their breastfeeding experience.
Bookings can be made by contacting 5478 4359.
Common breastfeeding problems
- Low supply
- Sore nipples
- Poor weight gain for the infant
- Mastitis for the mother
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