Nicola Bailey and her son Eamon, five months, of Goonellabah.
Nicola Bailey and her son Eamon, five months, of Goonellabah. Jacklyn Wagner

Breast support to be cut

THE job of the lactation consultant who changed Nicola Bailey's life is to be axed in June, sparking fears from Northern Rivers mothers the essential service will be lost forever.

When her three-month-old son Eamon was failing to put on weight, Nicola Bailey sought the services of a lactation consultant at the Lismore Family Care Centre.

The Goonellabah mother said the lactation consultant quickly identified that Eamon had a tongue tie.

"Eamon had a tongue tie so he had a little bit of skin attaching the tongue to the bottom of his mouth so that he couldn't put his tongue forward to draw the breast back in to feed correctly," Ms Bailey said.

"Normally it is picked up earlier; it's just a little snip that is done at about six weeks but because it wasn't picked up until about three and a half months he had to go under a general anesthetic for the operation."

When Nicola found out Eamon may have problems breast feeding she said she was devastated.

"I was devastated because I am quite passionate about breast feeding my children so the idea of putting him on formula wasn't something I wanted to do."

She said without the help of the lactation consultant she wouldn't have been able to breastfeed Eamon.

With the help of some friends Nicola has launched the Lactation Consultant for North Coast Mums Facebook page to drum up support for the position to be replaced.

She said people can participate in a poll on the page to express their views.

North Coast Medicare Local general manager Chris Clark said the lack of funding for a lactation consultant was understandable.

"This service was made poss- ible through funding from the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre.

"This funding arrangement is only provided until the end of June," Mr Clark said.

"Regrettably, the NRGPN (Northern Rivers General Practice Network) is unable to continue this breast feeding specific service without the funding and no alternative revenue streams are available at present.

"While it is unfortunate that the lactation consultant's position will lapse, there is still support for new mothers through the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre for those who find themselves in difficulty with breastfeeding or any other mothercraft issue.

"On April 2, North Coast Medicare Local took over the running of the Northern Rivers Family Care Centre and will continue to seek funding for the breastfeeding initiative.

"North Coast Medicare Local shares the view that this is a valuable service to Lismore and surrounding communities."

Northern Rivers Family Care Centre is on 6622 8705.



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