The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit has launched a new initiative to improve the birthing experience for First Nations mother and babies across central west Queensland.
“First Nations babies account for about nine per cent of our overall births each year,’’ Central West Hospital and Health Service First Nations Health Equity Strategy Senior Planning Officer Tia Whyman said.
“We understand the importance of ensuring that the birthing experience for all mothers and families of First Nations babies is not only clinically excellent but also culturally sensitive and appropriate.
“As such, we are introducing a First Nations Baby Bundle initiative to help support our mothers and their new babies.
“Women will receive the bag when booking in for their care at Longreach hospital.’’
Ms Whyman said the Baby Bundle would include practical products suitable for mothers and babies, such as a bag with newborn nappies, nursing pads, baby wipes, baby body wash, a bib, singlet, a onesie, baby bowl and spoon and a swaddle.
The bag also will have an Earth Jinda Miimi belly oil and an Indigenous maternity print.
Also in the bundle will be information relevant to the first year of the baby’s life, such as breastfeeding, bottle feeding and bathing, as well as information about local maternal and child care services and how to contact them.
“The bag is also about encouraging women to get to their antenatal appointments to help improve baby health outcomes such as healthy birth weights,’’ Ms Whyman said.
Ms Whyman said the introduction of the First Nations Baby Bundle initiative coincided with two Longreach Hospital midwives undertaking training under the First 1000 Days Australia program.
“The First 1000 Days Australia program aims to improve awareness of First Nations cultures and needs during pregnancy, as well as providing culturally appropriate maternity information and incentive for mothers to attend their prenatal appointments,’’ Ms Whyman said.
“The first 1000 days encompasses a child’s first two years of life.
“This is the time when the foundations of optimum health, growth and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established, so it’s a vital time to build a good foundation for the child’s ongoing development.’’