For any new or expectant parent, feeding their new baby can be an exciting and daunting process. But for parents from the LGBTQIA+ community, there can be extra factors to consider.
Bridget Muir is a Volunteer Welfare and Education Committee Member with Rainbow Families NSW, the peak charity in NSW that supports, empowers and celebrates LGBTQ+ Rainbow families. They have been working with ABA on a new project that supports that LGBTQIA+ community.
‘Three years ago Rainbow Families NSW recognised a major gap in support for families within the lactation and human milk feeding field’, says Bridget.
‘Rainbow Families NSW found that there were no classes specifically for LGBTQIA+ parents about infant feeding and human milk in Australia. Although breastfeeding education classes are available, many LGBTQIA+ parents don’t feel comfortable attending these classes and asking questions specific to their situation and their communities.’
‘Rainbow Families NSW obtained funding from LUSH! and the Vasudhara Foundation, and partnered with the Australian Breastfeeding Association to develop and produce a resource and classes specifically for LGBTQIA+ parents.’
The project consists of two parts. The first is a book called Breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Families.
‘The book is a wonderful resource that offers a lot of information and support about human milk, co-feeding, chest feeding, inducing lactation and more. It also includes photographs from the Rainbow Families NSW and Rainbow Families Queensland communities, as well as personal stories. The book has been made by the community for the community and is specifically tailored to resonate with LGBTQIA+ parents and expecting parents’, Bridget says.
The second part of the project is Breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding online classes.
‘These classes are held quarterly and run for 90 minutes online. They’re facilitated by Australian Breastfeeding Association volunteers and a Rainbow Families NSW representative. These classes share general information about feeding and what to expect from your baby in the first weeks. Best of all, these classes also invite a parent from the community to join for a Q&A and share their own experience’, Bridget added.
For more information on Rainbow Families NSW please visit: www.rainbowfamilies.com.au
Jessica Leonard is a breastfeeding counsellor with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and mother to two children. She is passionate about providing families with evidence-based information to support them to meet their breastfeeding goals.