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BFHI in Australia and New Zealand

March 2015

In March, Step 2 Education and our sister company Health e-Learning, had the pleasure of attending the 2015 LCANZ Conference (Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand). This 3-day conference in Brisbane, Australia was packed full of great speakers and lots of opportunities for us to talk about Baby Friendly in Australia and New Zealand.

Our Directors were thrilled to be able to present their wealth of knowledge and experience. Lenore Goldfarb was awarded "Best Poster" for her poster presentation titled "Ankyloglossia in Breastfeeding Infants: Stretching Exercises Post-Frenotomy and the Efficacy of the Procedure". Carole Dobrich lead two highly interactive and collaborative sessions, "Nurturing potential future IBCLCs-are we eating our young before they hatch?" and "Weight faltering in infancy – failure to thrive in three breastfed infants".

We were fortunate to have the chance to talk with so many delegates who stopped by our booth (see some happy snaps below!). For our International readers, both Australia and New Zealand have well established universal health care programs. In New Zealand all maternity services are required to achieve and maintain Baby Friendly Hospital accreditation and 98.7% of infants born in New Zealand are born in Baby Friendly maternity services (1). There are approximately 75 Baby Friendly accredited hospitals across Australia. This is around 19% of all maternity facilities (2). We found a lot of the focus of questions from delegates were around reaccreditation or maintaining accreditation and the challenges involved in this important part of the BFHI journey.

We also got to hear (and meet!) some fabulous speakers. Dr. Jenny Thomas presented new information explaining why breastmilk is not just food, epigenetics in the context of breastfeeding and talked about connecting social media to our practice and to the families we interact with. Nancy Morbacher presented on the ever growing health concern of obesity and the importance of the preventative role breastfeeding plays. Nancy's presentation provided an overview of the research associated with infant feeding in the first year of life and the risk of obesity during childhood. Professor Uwe Ewald, from Uppsala University in Sweden, gave us a glimpse of what is possible in an NICU when the infant, mother, and family are the centre of care. He presented strategies to change care culture and gave an example of a Swedish NICU where an adult bed for the mother and/or partner is placed next to the incubator.

Dr. Marjan Jones, dental surgeon, discussed the critical role of effective breastfeeding in the development of the physiological structures that optimize breathing. She presented how breastfeeding influences anatomical development and functional patterns of the orofacial region. In her words “Put simply, optimal breastfeeding influences how we look, how we speak, how we eat, and how we breathe.” Dr. Julie Smith is an Australian economist and her presentation illustrated the economic incentives affecting breastfeeding practices as well as the reasons governments and agencies need to be investing in protecting, supporting and promoting breastfeeding. Dr. Smith introduced the World Breastfeeding Costing Initiative (WBCi) tool which can help governments and agencies estimate the cost of implementing the WHO-UNICEF Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding.

Thanks to everyone who visted our booth and took the time to share with us their BFHI stories.

LCANZ 2015

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