Marie McLaughlin received the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s Mary Paton Research Award on Wednesday.
Marie McLaughlin received the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s Mary Paton Research Award on Wednesday. Rob Williams

Help for nursing mums

NEW Ipswich mothers will soon have extra help when it comes to breastfeeding their babies, thanks to a Woodend nurse who has won a national research award.

Mother-of-four and clinical nurse Marie McLaughlin won the Australian Breastfeeding Association's (ABA) Mary Paton Research Award for 2011, for her study of pediatric nurses' breastfeeding knowledge.

Due to her research, a number of breastfeeding kits will be made available to Ipswich Hospital pediatric nurses, and she will be invited to deliver education sessions to the nurses.

Ipswich Hospital nursing director Colleen Glenn said it was important for nurses to show mums that breastfeeding was possible.

"More and more women don't want to breastfeed, so supporting women to make the decision and continuing that support is very important," Ms Glenn said.

Ms McLaughlin's research found there was a need for further education to expand nurses' breastfeeding knowledge.

"Their attitudes and general knowledge were great, but when I looked at in-depth knowledge about physiology and special care, there was more support needed," Ms McLaughlin said.

"From my research, a new project was initiated which saw a trial of breastfeeding kits that provided information to nurses, and there was a significant improvement after the introduction of those kits.

"The material will now be written into the graduate program for Queensland pediatric nurses."

Ms McLaughlin has been interested in the field of breastfeeding since the premature birth of her first child, and three subsequent premature births.

"I've always believed that breastfeeding was the best thing to do, but I didn't always get the best advice when I had trouble myself," Ms McLaughlin said.

Ms McLaughlin's research was conducted at the Royal Children's Hospital and the Ipswich Hospital.



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