Understanding the Breastfeeding Services Landscape
The HelpMe Feed Foundation has been working on their new app that supports new mothers and health practitioners to sustain breastfeeding. An important step for the Australian release was to understand the entire ecosystem of breastfeeding support and services available in Australia, including health organizations, volunteer support groups, government bodies and not-for-profits.
Maddy Sands, Foundation Director said, “We recognized when creating our digital support tool that this is a landscape serviced by many long-standing and important health organizations and independent networks.”
“Connecting these dots and seeing how each organization related to the landscape as a whole was a crucial step in our product development and research.”
HelpMe Feed’s services mapping was also very well received by many of the related service providers, with most agreeing it was the first time they had ever seen all the services documented in the one place, visualizing how broad the landscape is nationally, for the first time. Many of these services are already looking at ways they can continue to deliver quality services with an increasing demand from families.
Karitane is one of those organizations that are currently looking at innovative ways to meet increasing demands through digital health services and child and family nurse virtual home visits.
Grainne O’Loughlin, CEO of Karitane says, “There will always be a need for secondary and tertiary levels of care for new parents and babies who have a range of support needs. However, this type of care is designed to improve the support for new mothers experiencing breastfeeding difficulties, particularly in the crucial zero to 6 weeks when mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding, and is an important service delivery model that will increase access to this support from trained health professionals across a wide geographic region"
An urgent need for smarter support
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association recently shared that government estimates show a projected shortage of 8,000 nurses and midwives in NSW alone by 2030. Exacerbating this shortage, nurses looking to gain accreditation on lactation can find it difficult to access and qualify through the IBLCE training program. This highlights another reason to implement more adaptable tools that leverage the existing experience and consultation processes of nurses and midwifes.
The HelpMe Feed Foundation and their digital breastfeeding support app is uniquely placed in the Australian breastfeeding services landscape — providing support by connecting new parents to health professionals, support networks and volunteer coaches.
Off the back of the soon to be released, “Support for new parents and babies in New South Wales Inquiry”, the HelpMe Feed App launch is well timed for Australian Health Professionals and local councils to adopt, to help manage the ever-growing work load.
A key focus is on sustaining breastfeeding in line with the World Health Organization benchmarks and guidelines. The inquiry will examine various models of support for new parents in other jurisdictions as well as the role of technology in enhancing support services.
Outcomes from the ecosystem map process
The ecosystem map of the Australian breastfeeding support landscape has been incredibly valuable to HelpMe Feed as they refined the HelpMe Feed app in preparation for launch.
The HelpMe Feed Foundation can continue their work confident that their understanding of the landscape, combined with the new health practitioner enabled app, will add great value to the already significant services being delivered.
“We’re pleased to be able to complement this dedicated landscape and use our technology to promote better health outcomes and connect new mothers with their community.” Said Maddy Sands, Director.
The Breastfeeding Services Map connected and categorized organisations visualizing;
+ 209 services delivered by various organisations across Australia
+ 13 categories of services
+ 102 individual operating organisations or groups of organizations
+ 42 not-for-profits providing breastfeeding support services
+ 75% of organizations participating in feedback and encouragement
HelpMe Feed Foundation Vision
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age for babies and currently out of the 330,000 births per year in Australia the initiation rate for breastfeeding of over 90% drops to around 15.4% exclusive breastfeeding at the 6-month benchmark. The HelpMe Feed Foundation is on a mission to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, by providing the new generation of parents with better access to expert support using smart, modern, accessible technologies.