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Online support benefits rural breastfeeding mothers

Media release

A new Curtin University of Technology research project is supporting breastfeeding women in regional areas through a specially-designed website.

In an Australian first, Dr Roslyn Giglia, from Curtin’s School of Public Health, has developed a website that not only provides new mothers with comprehensive information on breastfeeding, but is also a gateway to a larger community of support.

“Currently there are many websites that provide information on breastfeeding, but what makes this website unique is the virtual community that I am trying to build for rural breastfeeding mothers,” she said.

“I am targeting 150 women or more to participate in this project and to be a part of this online community.

“The women will be able to interact and learn not only from experts but also from each other.”

Dr Giglia, who is a Healthway sponsored health promotion research fellow, said the project aimed to encourage more rural mothers to persist in breastfeeding their babies for a longer time.

“Mothers who live in remote communities often do not have access to comprehensive support services after they give birth,” she said.

“Breastfeeding can be difficult without support and new mothers eventually get discouraged and give up too soon.

“We hope that through the website and online community, more mothers will breastfeed their babies for as long as possible as this can benefit the baby greatly.

“Six months is the current national recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding and we hope that the mothers in the project will attain this or more.”

Dr Giglia hoped the website would have a positive impact on women in rural communities.

“Internet penetration is high in remote communities, and we are confident of getting a good response from mothers on the website which went live this week” she said.

“We are currently targeting mothers in the Mid West, but there are plans to set up a second site for another area in the future.”

To participate in this study mothers have to be breastfeeding or be near term in their pregnancy (eight months or more pregnant).

 
Mothers in the Mid West who are interested in participating in this study can contact Dr Roslyn Giglia on 9266 7382 or email r.giglia@curtin.edu.au.