A day with a new mum

Published on 18 May 2023

Lily Cannella and her son Leo talking to Melanie McCulloch

Lily Cannella cuddles baby Leo Breznjak, aged three and a half months, under the watchful guidance of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nurse and Lactation Consultant, Melanie McCulloch at Frankston City Council’s Breast-Feeding Support Service.

Little Leo suckles, satisfied in his mother’s arms. And Lily is proud to be offering him all she can in terms of bonding and nourishment. Both look like a picture of health and contentedness as a warm halo envelopes them.

It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks earlier Lily had been in tears. “I had spent over $1,000 going to certain clinics, I went to an osteopath and had a private lactation consultant come to my house,” she said.

“Both said Leo had a tongue tie which meant that he would need to either stop breastfeeding or undergo expensive laser surgery which comes with risks and would be traumatic.”

The mother trusted her instinct after getting conflicting opinions regarding tongue tie and breastfeeding before visiting the Council’s free Breastfeeding Support Service.

“Mel was amazing! She reassured me to trust my ‘mum gut’. And I’m so glad I did,” she said, adding that her anxiety was finally put to rest.

“Mel was the first person to show me how Leo’s tongue functioned. She showed me what he can do, how his tongue could move side to side and up and down.”

As a first-time mother without the experience of other babies in the family, Lily was grateful for both the practical and specialist support. Melanie said that mothers like Lily come to Council’s Breastfeeding Support Service when experiencing more complex breastfeeding issues.

“We see mums with nipple damage, babies not gaining enough weight, breastmilk supply issues… anything requiring more in-depth support. Most women who choose to breastfeed even when experiencing difficulties are successful with additional support, our service is here to offer this support.”

Lily is very grateful. “Breast milk is the perfect food, and that’s a reason why women breastfeed. I wanted to offer this to Leo, but it didn’t come as naturally as I thought it would.

It was hard to learn,” she said, adding that as a four-week premature baby, he didn’t have the same strength and energy as a full-term baby and was very sleepy. “I’m so glad I persevered. I’m so proud to be keeping him alive and meeting all his needs.

Breastfeeding is vital, the bonding is something I enjoy, and it has other benefits too – both in terms of finances and convenience.”

Now that she has breastfeeding nailed down, Lily is enjoying every moment with Leo.

Breastfeeding advice is provided at all Maternal and Child Health appointments, whilst the Frankston City Council MCH Breastfeeding Support Service give specialist breastfeeding advice at Karingal PLACE MCH Centre on Monday afternoons and at Mahogany Rise MCH Centre on Wednesday mornings.

Contact your local MCH Centre for more information or telephone our central booking line on 9784 1756.