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Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant


The continuing bushfires emergencies

Posted on January 5, 2020 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)
My previous post was written before the current devastation on the firegrounds in East Gippsland, Victoria and nearby areas of NSW, and on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. If you live in these areas, and have faced evacuation by vehicle or sea, the sense of unreality, uncertainty and loss is very raw at the moment. Disorienting.

Don't forget to keep your fluid intake up in the extreme heat and chaos. I expect you will want to hold your babies and children close, a form of comfort for child and adult alike, and a way of feeling safer.

For people in Canberra and other cities and towns that have had weeks of unhealthy air pollution from smoke, this is a difficult time for you, too, and similarly for people who have to be on the road with low visibility. Once again,  the emergency messages on ABC Local Radio are there to help you keep yourselves and families safe.

I'll say again that my heroes are the highly trained volunteer firefighters, who work way beyond the call of duty in uncomfortable and dangerous conditions.  Not one of them is "ordinary".  They are heroes all.

Bushfire emergency

Posted on September 13, 2019 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (2)
Most readers of this blog who live in the current bushfire areas of Queensland and the New South Wales border areas will have received local warnings from the police of emergency services if they need to evacuate, or to be prepared to do so.  If your area has a fire or fires in the area, be sure to keep your radio tuned to ABC Local Radio, which is set up as the national emergency network. Local conditions are regularly updated on air. A tip: Have you got enough batteries? Do you have your phone recharger in your evacuation bag?

You may want to read the other articles on this blog about babies and emergency situations. 

As strong, dry winds and fire are very dehydrating, please also read my blog posts on how to tell if you yourself are getting enough fluid. You may need more. The same applies for other adults and children.

Stay safe.

Your baby in wild weather

Posted on November 30, 2017 at 5:11 PM Comments comments (3)
Today's forecast for wild weather and heavy rain in Victoria, Australia, makes this an opportune time for a post on this topic. First, in regards to overall safety, the ABC Local Radio station in your area is the emergency radio network for updated information. So, in case of electric power outages, it is important to have spare batteries for your portable radio or to recharge your other hand-held device. (If the power goes off, you can recharge your phone from your car battery via the appropriate jack.)
This is a time to get to know your neighbours, if you don't already. Neighbourly cooperation can be an asset in emergencies. During a recent cyclone in Central Queensland, when  the power went off, neighbours in one affected street with meat that was likely to go off without refrigeration shared it with others in a street barbecue, each bringing whatever food they could, to share.  This was reported on ABC Local Radio as a solution for some neighbourhoods, an idea that is worth sharing. 
Breastfeeding: This isn't the time to wean, as continuing breastfeeding provides first-class nutrition and protection against infection for your baby - as well as needing no special equipment, no safe water supply, no sterilising. no mixing.  It is there, as long as you and your baby stay together. All that your exclusively breastfed baby needs is the breast.  If your baby is older and is receiving other food, too, in an emergency you can still boost your milk supply by breastfeeding more frequently, if your child is willing (the opposite of weaning).  More milk taken and more stimulation = more milk. Even if you only want to do this for a short time during the emergency, this is worth knowing.  Remember, too, breastmilk provides a significant amount of important nutrients at any age, including prebotics. (See my earlier posts on this blog and the contact details for the Australian Breastfeeding Association on the LINKS page.)
If you are not breastfeeding your little one, the time to prepare is now. That means safe water for reconstituting the formula powder, enough to be boiled and stored ready for use for the next few feeds. Plus equipment for hygeinic preparation of equipment.  More detail can be obtained from your local Child Health Nurse.
All Mums, however they are feeding, need to remember to look after themselves, for instance, remembering to drink enough fluid, especially on very hot days. (See my other posts about mothers and fluid needs.)
All the best for the expected bad weather.  Being prepared can help you "weather" the  storms better. 

Emergency situations - another year

Posted on October 3, 2015 at 2:02 AM Comments comments (2)
With the bushfire season and the stormy season already started in different parts of Australia, it is time for a reminder that the disaster channel for up-to-date information in emergency situations in Australia is ABC Local Radio. Do remember to have spare batteries for a portable radio.

If accessing crucial information from a mobile device, it is useful to know that, if the power goes off, the device can be recharged from a car battery. (Just check - now - that you have the right connection to do this.) 

If your baby is breastfed and you are considering weaning you might want to delay this till after an emergency.  Continuing to breastfeed means food security for your baby and no worries about interruptions to water supply or power, or unsafe water. Did you know you can boost the milk supply by increasing breastfeeds for the duration of the emergency? If you need support to do this or are worried about your milk supply, contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association for 24/7 advice by telephone or email, or go to the website for links, at . You may want to telephone your lactation consultant (IBCLC) if you are already in touch with one.

If you are not breastfeeding, now is the time  - before any emergency situation arises - to put together an emergency kit with your baby's food and the utensils needed to mix and give the feed. If in doubt, contact your local Child Health Nurse for detailed information.

Be prepared! We always hope that natural disasters won't happen anywhere near us, but unfortunately they do, as the last few summers have taught us.