A GROUP of mothers have launched a campaign to establish a Warrnambool breastfeeding centre to tackle a lack of support and information for new mums.
Campaigners for the centre are hoping to see a part-time centre staffed by volunteers operating next year.
A push for funding to set up the service is under way and supporters have organised a birth and breastfeeding conference early next year, which is expected to bring up to 300 guests and health professionals to the city.
New mothers often avoided breastfeeding because there was not enough support available, Warrnambool breastfeeding counsellor Suellen Dodson explained.
“Mums want to breastfeed ... we start off with a really high percentage from when they leave hospital, it’s just over 90 per cent,” Ms Dodson said.
“But it drops off quite significantly after that. Often mums are given the wrong information about how breastfeeding works.”
If successful, Warrnam-bool will be just one of a handful of places in Victoria with a centre staffed with breastfeeding counsellors and lactation consultants.
“We’re hoping for a centre that has a seminar room, a lounge where mums can come and have a coffee and chat with others and some meeting rooms for lactation support,” Ms Dodson said.
No venue has been earmarked for the centre but she said the group hoped to secure a space in the city centre.
Warrnambool GP Dr Ilsa du Toit said many mothers required education on how to breastfeed.
“Contrary to popular belief it’s not always something that comes naturally,” Dr du Toit said.
She said breast milk also contained important antibodies, which reduced the likelihood of infant illnesses. “For the mother there is also weight loss and the psychological bond with the baby,” she said.