Wheatbelt MLA Mia Davies said the project was part of the half-a-billion dollar Southern Inland Health Initiative, made possible by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.
“New mums experiencing issues with breastfeeding will be able to connect with specialist lactation consultants via videoconference from their local regional health service,” Ms Davies said.
The new telehealth service links new mothers in the Wheatbelt with specialist lactation consultants at the hospital, who are trained to help with attachment difficulties, breastfeeding a premature or small baby, and help women with low milk |production. In Australia, 92 per cent of babies are breastfed exclusively for the first month of their life but by six months only 14 per cent of babies are breastfed.
The decline in breastfeeding indicates many mothers start out wanting to breastfeed their babies, but may experience issues and switch to formula feeding.
Ms Davies said the telehealth service was part of a maternal health project and in line with the push for better healthcare and support closer to home.
“Other initiatives introduced under the Maternal Health Service Improvement project are contributing to safer pregnancies, births and infant care,” she said.