New mums say breast is best for their bubs
By MARY MANN
WHAT can help you bond with your baby, is cheaper than a carton of milk, and is convenient and natural?
Breastfeeding, of course.
These are the things Lennox Head mum Jenna Young had in mind when her first baby, Juniper Berry Harper, was born a year ago. And she's not the only one to choose the 'natural' way.
A recent study by the NSW Centre for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Sydney revealed nursing mums on the North Coast have the State's highest rate of breastfeeding, with 96.7 per cent of local babies enjoying the benefits of being breastfed at some stage during their infancy.
At the Lennox Head New Mum's Playgroup yesterday, Jenna and some of the other mums were not surprised by the results of the study.
"I think people around here are more aware of the health benefits and are more accepting of people who breastfeed," Jenna said.
"I'm planning to breastfeed until Juniper Berry is about 18 months old, or until she wants to stop.
"It's the best thing for her."
According to the study, the State average for breastfeeding is 87.1 per cent; and the average duration of breastfeeding on the North Coast is eight months, equal to the State's highest levels.
North Coast Area Health Service clinical midwifery consultant, Frances Guy, welcomed the findings.
"There is no doubt that breast is best for babies and young infants, and many of the poor health outcomes from not breastfeeding are a significant burden on individuals, families and the health system," Ms Guy said.
She said breastfeeding could help protect babies from infectious diseases and chronic illnesses, and that it was especially beneficial for those born early or small.
Ms Guy said the high rate of breastfeeding on the North Coast could be attributed to various factors, including local people's fondness for 'natural' lifestyles, as well as the advice given to pregnant women and new mothers at the area's ante and postnatal clinics.
Lennox Head woman Amanda Lincoln, mother of one-year-old Maiya Lincoln-Mather, said breastfeeding was 'a bit tricky at first'.
"But it's like anything, you get used to it pretty easily," she said.