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Helping hospitals to help nursing mums

Photo: Helping hospitals to help nursing mums
A La Trobe University researcher will work with major hospitals to improve the management of a painful condition that affects one in five breastfeeding women.  

Associate Professor Lisa Amir from La Trobe’s Judith Lumley Centre is a general practitioner and lactation consultant, who co-wrote the Victorian Breastfeeding Guidelines in 2014.

Dr Amir has received a National Medical Health and Research Council (NMHRC) Translating Research into Fellowship grant worth $177,197 to find ways to help hospitals and doctors treat mastitis.

Dr Amir’s previous research found around 60,000 women experience at least one episode of mastitis annually, mostly in the first two months of breastfeeding. 

“Mastitis is a painful breast infection that affects one in five breastfeeding women, however doctors don’t always follow best practice in helping women manage the condition,” Dr Amir said.
“Women are often given incorrect or conflicting advice - they’re wrongly advised to give up breastfeeding and, in some cases, are prescribed the wrong type of antibiotics. I regularly see women suffering unnecessary complications due to inappropriate management of mastitis.”

Dr Amir will use her NMHRC fellowship grant to work with major general and maternity hospitals, in the public and private sectors.

“I want to assess health professionals’ awareness and use of existing mastitis guidelines and work with clinicians to develop educational materials which can be distributed across Australia, and potentially overseas.

“One option would be to develop an app that doctors and hospitals can use to help them to properly manage mastitis. 

“My motivation is to improve women’s experiences of mastitis and reduce unnecessary cessation of breastfeeding.”

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