In July, I published a call for people to let the Queensland government know that routinely distributing free formula samples to mothers was a bad, bad idea: “Call to activism: oppose infant formula promotion in Qld Indigenous communities”.
Success! The plan has been changed. The Australian reports: “Baby gear beats cash in Cape York towns”
The packs, which will be delivered in three stages, contain baby clothes, nappies, breast pads and other items needed in hospital.
Carol Fyfe, a health worker with the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, said; “A lot of the mothers come from the communities to Cairns base hospital with nothing, not even shampoo.”
The packs, distribution of which will begin over the next two months, will also contain bassinets and baby baths, rare items in remote communities, as well as food vouchers. They will not have infant formula because authorities want to encourage breast feeding.
I can’t quite figure out why not having “even shampoo!” is a drama; shampoo isn’t exactly a necessity of life, unlike food and shelter and healthcare and safety and clothing and, perhaps, soap. But I’m guessing she means well, or was perhaps misquoted or selectively quoted.
I hope they’re also working on putting into place the same or better levels of breastfeeding support as we enjoy in the city. Lactation consultancy skills training for Aboriginal health workers? A sling or baby carrier suitable for breastfeeding in the baby pack, perhaps?