Monday, May 25, 2009

Professional photo shoot for ABA - Friday May 29 during school hours :)

Mothers of babies and toddlers in Melbourne are invited to a photo shoot with to contribute images to the photo library of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

Where: Susan D'Arcy Photography 81 Poath Rd, Murrumbeena, 3163 p:  9568 1441

Who: mums to pose with their children in individual and group shots in the studio and in surrounding neighbourhood for images depicting the social aspects of ABA membership as well as general mothering and breastfeeding images for our library. Also photos of ABA slings in use for Mothers Direct.

When: Friday May 29 between 9.30 and 3pm, times by arrangement.

You will give full consent for the use of all images by the photographer and ABA and associates and will receive images on CD for personal use.

For more details, please contact Susan or Yvette

Expressions of interest for a second session based in and around the Breastfeeding Centre in Dandenong are also sought.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

About the Breastfeeding Centre

Wow, did you hear that - Jane asked about the Breastfeeding Centre on my Facebook wall: someone fresh to rave about our centre to! The Breastfeeding Centre is at 3/71 Robinson St Dandenong and is the ABA Victorian Branch office and also a public facility for the mothers of Victoria. We are open three days per week and I am privledged to be the entire staff! While I work away in the background doing the admin work required to keep 420+ volunteers functioning and happy (!) I also facilitate the use of the Centre by the community and ABA. On Tuesdays, between 11.30 and 1pm, pregnant women can drop in for some information and resources over lunch. On Wednesday, it is Drop-in Day between 10.30 and 3.30 and everyone is welcome - pregnant women, new mums, women with toddlers and older children, health professionals and anyone interested in learning more about breastfeeding and ABA. We provide electric breast pump hire, a small range of breast pumps and other lactation aids and ABA booklets for sale, handout materials (both English and in other languages), a library of books, videos and DVDs related to breastfeeding and parenting and plenty of toys for the babies and small children we welcome. While the phone rings constantly with bookings for the Breastfeeding Education Classes held across the State, enquiries for breast pump hire and volunteers and the wider public seeking information and resources, the front door opens frequently as mothers, volunteers and health professionals pop in for a cuppa or three, a chat on the comfy couches or a browse of the artworks, posters and photos of volunteers. Some days you might find us in the midst of training peer support volunteers from the widely diverse communities that make up the Dandenong population or you might find a group of trainees practicing role plays of counselling scenarios. On a Saturday there might be a breastfeeding class, during the week it could be an ABA group meeting. Some volunteers are borrowing banners or other resources, while others are returning a DVD they showed at their group meeting. The photos in my Facebook album include the signs that went up today and some photos taken several months ago of the centre in action. Since then, we have made improvements of furniture and decor, but the same atmosphere is there and commented on by every visitor, as they linger wondering if they really need to go or is there time for another cuppa. Come and see us soon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Throwing the baby out with the bath water

Groan: a mum who believes formula feeding mums get a bad deal has posted on a forum - entitled to her opinion, but why is the post titled MY LETTER TO THE ABA? 

And criticizing our wording in seeking lovely breastfeeding photos for a breastfeeding calendar to fund raise for a breastfeeding organisation!

I've said before: our support network was started by six women to promote and support breastfeeding. Want your own support group - then follow their example! Put in the 45 years of solid volunteer effort that took them from a group of six to a membership base of many thousands.

Now, if you are in a group of women who spend all their time criticising and judging each other's actions as mothers - can I suggest you seek new friends? Seriously, what are you gaining from interacting with such people?

All mothers of young children have the impression strangers are judging their actions in public places - when in fact, they are frowning because they cannot remember if they need to buy toilet paper or not! While you think they disapprove of you bottle feeding your baby, on the other side of the food court, another mum thinks they are disapproving of her breastfeeding in public, while another mother thinks they disapprove of how she is handling a toddler tantrum! It is your own self-doubt and uncertainty that you are picking up, not the thoughts of others.

I don't judge people for turning to formula when breastfeeding doesn't work out. I get angry - but not with the mother. I get angry at a society that still thinks breastfeeding women should do so discreetly, limiting women's birthright of learning how breastfeeding works by watching it happen as they grow up. I get angry with a health system that does not permit new mums to stay in the sanctuary of a hospital bed while they work through initial breastfeeding problems.  I get angry that postnatal services are disjointed and reliant of mothers needing to visit multiple facilities for ongoing help, instead of having a single, skilled caregiver guiding them from the first breastfeed minutes after birth to the point where they are enjoying a successful, satisfying breastfeeding relationship.

So why am I venting here and not replying to her post? Because I just don't have the energy to explain once again, that promoting breastfeeding is NOT criticising formula feeding.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saying goodbye to a friend because she changed

A few years ago, my friend Pinky mentioned a new magazine that she loved. Of course, I went straight out and bought it and loved it for many of the same reasons: gorgeous images, interesting articles and NO CELEBRITIES!!!!!

notebook:magazine has been a friend ever since - I even snapped up the back issues I didn't own when they were offered on I have the full set on a shelf in my bedroom, my go-to for boring Bed Days. They have motivated and inspired me and been eye-candy for my visual self.

Until some time last year, when they changed their image. Literally. Gone were the cover images of gorgeous flower arrangements, replaced with (ugh!) impossibly gorgeous models. The real life stories of extraordinary people not normally in the public eye were replaced with (groan) the opinions of television and print "personalities".

I wrote the the Editor, expressing my dismay and she replied. 

Thankyou for your feedback and I'm sorry you're so disappointed in the new
look. We really haven't gone down a celebrity road at all; we've really just
incorporated some well-known and well-respected authors and women to join
our discussion in Notebook: on subjects that I believe are close to all our
hearts and subjects that will change from month to month.

Real women are and will continue to be well represented in this magazine
because we truly believe we need to applaud the unsung heroes in our

On the subject of the cover I have to tell you this was a difficult decision
to make. We really needed to change the picture to represent better what was
in the magazine. So many women didn't even pick it up because they thought
it was just a gardening or craft magazine and therefore not relevant to

I hope you persist with the magazine and give it a read. There are so many
honest and engaging stories in this issue.

Again, thankyou for your email
Kind regards

Caroline Roessler

You can read about that in an earlier post. I decided our relationship was on notice and regretted recently renewing my subscription.

Over the following months, things did not improve. Myriad professional writers and editors, comedians and more gave their voice on that months topic, which was hashed and rehashed through the first section. Thank goodness for the fold out index tabs, which allowed me skip past all that (and endless advertising for skincare and make up - blah) and head straight for the food and other more interesting sections.

Then last month, they excitedly announced the end of the section tabs! ARGH!! I added that edition to the increasing pile of half-read back issues and started ignoring the invitations to renew my subscription. Yesterday, my last issue arrived and earned only  a quick flip-through. I knew we now had little in common (why is each new season's fashion style divided up into recommended wearing for each age group? Hello - we don't need to be told about lamb and mutton thanks - and who says there is a standard *40 something* body anyway? Rubbish!).

As our relationship began to falter, I began seeing someone else. Not serious to begin with, a chance meeting after hearing about her from friends-in-common in the US had me absolutely in love. As I tried to track down further issues, it became evident she was playing hard to get. In the end I was left with no alternative but to get the local newsagent to trace her for me and put in a standing order for her arrival.

Real Simple magazine is so much like a younger notebook:magazine that I suspect a heavy influence was had! All those lovely graphic design elements were there and no bloody people who get enough air time! She has bits I want to take out and keep, just like my former love and, like then, I can't bear to deface her doing so! The Real Simple web site is the cherry on the cake.

There is a lesson here for magazine publishers: in attempting to attract another audience, don't risk the one you already have. My readership, my recommendation and my money have all now moved off-shore. Sad for the Australian industry and not ideal for our own economy (although hopefully keeping some US jobs afloat.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Being Bookish

Having had a wonderful time at Back to Booktown 2009 yesterday, I have spent part of today indulging my inner bibloholic online.

I took readily to tracking my readership/ownership on the internet as soon as I came across the opportunity, as it was not unknown for me to um, ... lose track of what I did or didn't have by an author (which leads to the soul-destroying experience of doubling up). At first, it was really only Bookcrossing that allowed you to catalogue your books online and that served me well for some time. Then I stumbled across Shelfari in a Good Reading magazine article. Then (probably as a result of another article!) I found LibraryThing and it was good - but different again.

Recently I got set up with Visual Bookshelf on Facebook and it had features I liked too. then Good Reads got mentioned one too many times, so I had to check it out too! My serial book cataloguing was made easy by the ability to export/import lists from one site to another and so  it was no time at all before I had active shelves and profiles on them all.

But like the addict I am, they still aren't enough. Google supports my habit by enticing me with even more possibilities -  I signed up with Book Blogs and I don't even know why! Where is it all to end? aNobii ? Bookpedia? Delicious Library ?

Of course, now I proudly own a Blackberry, the quest has one vital feature: can I access the list when I am standing in the second-hand book shop with a title in hand that may - or may not - be the very one missing from my collection?