Amberley Harris is Melbourne’s own Midwife/Breastfeeding Consultant extraordinaire, my interview with Amberley has left me so inspired and wanting to know more about her and the amazing work she does for our community.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hello! I’m Amberley, a Melbourne-based Midwife in private practice, Founder of Maternal Instincts by Amberley; a breastfeeding consultancy business, and co-producer of two darling humans.
I have been a Midwife for over 10 years, supporting new mothers in both public and private hospitals throughout the motherhood continuum.
How do you manage to keep up with work and family life?
Badly. Lol! Just kidding. Look I do my best. Some weeks are easier than others. Scheduling is definitely the key for me.
As a midwife and a breastfeeding consultant, what has been the most challenging aspect of your career so far?
Probably the fact I wish I could do more. As in, I wish I could make a bigger impact on our breastfeeding statistics. I wish I could support more and more women on their breastfeeding journeys. It pains me so much to hear of mothers who don’t get great support and that’s when I wish I could have been there for them.
What exactly is a breastfeeding consultant and why would you recommend having one?
As a Midwife, I support women primarily in the first six weeks, to establish their breastfeeding. My breastfeeding consultancy work is an extension of the support women receive in hospital; I bring that into their home. Breastfeeding can be super tricky for so many mums and it takes 6 weeks to establish. Because of this, mothers need consistent, professional support over that 6-week period, if they are going to shine at breastfeeding.
Which part of your career do you find to be most rewarding?
Watching women win at breastfeeding! When a mother learns how to breastfeed, it brings this unique sense of confidence. A confidence which overflows into every aspect of her mothering. Witnessing that is extremely rewarding.
Tell me about your #662 movement and what it means to you?
My move to entrepreneurship was for two reasons. Firstly, because this is where I knew I could make significant, impactful change to the world’s breastfeeding statistics and, secondly, I could be philanthropic every step of the way.
My mission was to create a movement and my movement involves supporting women to learn how to breastfeed over the first 6 weeks, so they can go on to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and complementary feed (breastfeeding and food) until their child turns 2 years of age or beyond, and this is where my #662 has come from.
My #662 means everything to me! This is what’s going to positively shape the health and well-being of babies, mothers, families and communities around the globe.
What percentage of babies are breastfed and for how long?
The most recent results we have are from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey (ANIFS) and they are pretty disheartening I must say. This study indicated that 96% of mother’s initiate breastfeeding. However, thereafter, exclusive breastfeeding rates drop off significantly. At three months of age, 39% of babies are being exclusively breastfed, and by five months of age, just 15% are being breastfed.
Is there anything that we can do to improve that percentage?
Education and support is vital. When women educate themselves about breastfeeding prior to giving birth, they are far better prepared. Plus having the right kind of professional support to call on (aka, someone the mothers connects with and trusts) is essential.
What is one piece of advice that you could offer fellow breastfeeding mums?
Let you baby do the Breast Crawl and allow them the chance to self-attach to the breast at the very first breastfeed after birth. Getting this first breastfeed right goes a long way for mama and baby. I explain all of this in great detail in my Video Series, so mamas can check out my website to learn more.
You recently featured the LaVie Lactation Massager on your blog – what do you love about it and how is it helping mums overcome breastfeeding challenges?
It’s such a clever product. I love a lot about it but specifically that it’s water proof. The chance to move stubborn milk with this handy tool, while under a warm shower or in the bath is brilliant.
On a final note, what’s next for Amberley Harris?
Ahhh so much! I am in the middle of creating a documentary on breastfeeding plus making lot more digital content, so more mamas and babies can access my work. Stay tuned!
AMAZING!! Am I right?! Amberley has left me absolutely fangirling over here!
Successful, caring, beautiful, down to earth.. These are just a few little reasons to head over and check her out.
Amberley has generously offered the Milkbar Breastpumps community $20 off her video series available for the first 20 buyers using the unique code DIANA20. Head to www.maternal-instincts.com.au to view this modern, cutting edge video series.
Thanks for reading,