Yasna Meldrum (maternal and child health nurse and counsellor): One of the things that parents-to-be sometimes just put in the back of their minds is what happens after the birth of the baby because there’s such a big focus on the baby’s birth and rightly so. It is a big event, and it’s an important event. However, the work really does start once you actually leave hospital or once the midwife’s left your home or once you’ve left whatever birth setting you happen to be in. So really important to think about ‘Well, where to from here?’
Luckily in Australia we tend to have very good post-birth support services out there. So, for instance, if you have a home birth or you’ve given birth in a maternity hospital, then you’ll have a midwife come and see you at home for the first few visits.
Thereafter they will hand over to the maternal and child health nurse, and the maternal and child health nurse will continue to see you generally or see you and your baby up until the time that your child nearly starts school.
Farshad and Maryam (parents of Melika, 16 months): The support that we received with breastfeeding was really amazing, and it proved to be really crucial in the end for me to be able to continue with breastfeeding. I had a lot of trouble in the beginning.
Yasna: There’s also your GP, who will be following you up in terms of a postnatal check-up making sure that everything is OK post-birth. There are community health centres that also have health services there.
There are a number of other services like, for instance, audiology services for your baby. There are playgroups that are very culturally specific sometimes, so you might get together with a playgroup where you meet other mothers from your own background.
Moe (mother of Mangtong, 2 years, and Kohoe, 9 months): They have playgroup, so yes after I had one baby I have to go to playgroup so we meet together all the Chin [Burmese language speaking] women.
Yasna: There are first-time parent groups that you can also attend so you’ve got an opportunity to share with other first-time mothers as well, and fathers because fathers attend those groups too.