MOTHER’S UNITE: Tessa Saunders is looking forward to attending the Baby’s Day Out event with her three-month-old baby Oliver.
MOTHER’S UNITE: Tessa Saunders is looking forward to attending the Baby’s Day Out event with her three-month-old baby Oliver. Allan Reinikka Rokamothers

Rocky mum encourages others to 'get out' for breastfeeding

TESSA Saunders' didn't want to make other people uncomfortable.

Which is why she never breastfed her first two children in public.

But now the mother-of -three puts her baby's need for a feed as her number one priority and has the confidence to breastfeed anywhere and at any time.

This weekend Australian Breastfeeding Association Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast Group has organised an event, Baby's Day Out, to empower mothers to feel comfortable about breastfeeding in public.

"When I first started breastfeeding I was really nervous about doing it in public and making others uncomfortable," Tessa said.

"I never breastfed in public with my first two children but since joining the group I feel comfortable to breastfeed anywhere. I still wear a cover in public but now I can happily feed my baby wherever I am."

The 26-year-old is new to the CQ area and has been a member of the group for the past six months.

Since joining the group Tessa has built up her confidence in breastfeeding and has learnt a lot about the breastfeeding process.

"After joining the group I learnt that I shouldn't worry about what other people think of me breastfeeding in public and that I need to just feed my baby when he's hungry," she said.

"The group was also a really great support system because I wasn't very successful breastfeeding my other children so I knew I needed help this time. I first thought that breastfeeding was something that would come easily to me but after joining the group I now know that it's a learning process and having difficulty is completely natural."

Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast Group leader Rebecca Ballinger has been with the ABA for nine years and said mothers have to start putting their baby's need to be fed first rather than worrying about what people might think.

"Babies have a right by legislation to be fed anywhere and at any time and mothers need to realise that it's a perfectly fine thing to do in public," she said.

"We just want mothers to feel comfortable to be out in the community with their baby, breastfed or not because ABA supports a mother's parenting decision whatever it may be."

BREASTFEEDING STATS

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies until they are at least six months of age.

96% of mothers initiate breastfeeding but only 39% of babies are still being exclusively breastfed to three months and only 15% to five months of age.

The Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast Group will be holding a four-hour breastfeeding education workshop on Saturday, November 8, at 1pm at the Child and Family Health Building, corner Bolsover and Cambridge Sts. Registration is $85 which includes a year's subscription to the ABA and the book "Breastfeeding…naturally." Afternoon tea provided. Contact Rebecca on 4936 1719.

IF YOU GO

Baby's Day Out will occur on Sunday at 10am at Rockhampton CBD Riverside Park boardwalk on Quay St. All families are invited to join in a walk along the Fitzroy River followed by a supplied morning tea. Gold coin donation is appreciated.



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