Page 4519 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 31 October 2018

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I also want to make special mention of the support and guidance we have received from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, especially Jessica Armstrong. As we have heard today, they are powerful supporters and they are powerful advocates. They have been with me every step of the way in developing this motion. I am very grateful for your support.

I need to thank the government. The Minister for Health and Wellbeing and her staff have been supporters since I first wandered around to say, “Hey, I have an idea.” The reality is that it is the government that has to make this happen. Knowing that we have had such a strong advocate in Minister Fitzharris from the get-go gives me extraordinary hope.

Most importantly, I want to thank the many, many parents who have reached out to me in the past few months to tell me that this is a great idea, in particular, the dozens and dozens of women in the past few days who have offered to share their stories to demonstrate why a milk bank is so necessary, through phone calls, comments and private messages.

I thank women like Alycia who, after a traumatic birth, began breastfeeding her baby at home only to find out four days later that her child had lost 15 per cent of its birth weight. She drove around to numerous houses across Canberra collecting informal donations of milk from other mothers. There are women like Kiera, who had trouble breastfeeding and reflects on the difference donor milk could have made to her stress levels as she bonded with her newborn. There are women like Leanne, who had excess breastmilk during her stay in hospital and would have happily donated it if the option had been available.

There are parents like Katie, who considered donating her extra milk to a facility interstate but found the option overwhelming, as her daughter was being cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit in Canberra. There are parents like Lindsay, who drove all the way to Sydney to deliver excess milk to a family in need. There are women like Elissa, who has donated 20 litres of milk to a milk bank in Queensland because a similar facility does not exist closer to home.

There are parents like Deanna, who sat in hospital with an oversupply of milk, feeling terrible because she could not help the women around her who were unable to produce their own. There are parents like Erica and Hannah, who felt a sense of joy and pride in informally donating breastmilk to other families. They felt part of that community spirit. There are parents like Kirsten, who donated her milk to a baby born via surrogate, while his mother was trying to induce lactation. There are parents like Jen, a foster carer who was charged with looking after a baby born eight weeks premature, a baby she would have loved to have fed breastmilk if the option had only been available. There are parents like Kate, who gratefully accepted colostrum and milk for her daughter, Ruby, who was born via a surrogate.

In particular, I thank all of those parents who have reached out to me who had a child who was stillborn. Many of those parents have been able to honour their child by donating, but to those parents who were not able to do so and really wanted to, I want

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