Researchers at The University of Western Australia are calling for volunteers to participate in a study that aims to improve the mental health of new mothers. Mothers expecting their first child are needed for the study as well as mothers who have children aged between one and five-years-old.
The Mummy Buddy program pairs the mothers that have children with mothers expecting their first baby. The aim is to provide support and advice to help expectant mums settle into motherhood.
Mummy buddies are trained by staff at parenting help provider Ngala and are encouraged to use their recent experience to help support the new mums-to-be.
Coordinator of the program, UWA PhD student Brian Law said the aim was to improve mental health in new mothers in the first six-months following childbirth.
“Usually for first-time mothers, the biggest problem is the fear of the unknown. Having a mummy buddy there to reassure them and offer advice can be very helpful for a new mum,” Mr Law said.
“Becoming a parent for the first time can be an extremely challenging and stressful experience. Having someone on hand for a friendly chat over coffee or even just a text message can be extremely beneficial to their mental wellbeing.
“At the end of the study, we would love to see the program rolled out nationwide as it’s a cost-effective way of helping lots of new mothers.”
Claire Gasper is due to have her first child in the next month and said the Mummy Buddy program had been extremely helpful.
“It’s been great to be able to text my mummy buddy any questions I might have. Like what to pack in my hospital bag, where to buy the best maternity clothes or even how to cope with any sleep issues,” Ms Gasper said.
“Having as much support in place as possible is important not just for me but for my partner as well.”
Saskia Worthington, new mother to baby Hudson, has been mentoring a new mother through the study and said being a mummy buddy was extremely rewarding.
“When I was expecting Hudson, I found I had hundreds of questions I never thought I’d ever need to know and it was the mothers who had the most recent experience who I found to be most empathetic and reassuring. It’s great to be that reassurance for someone else now.”
Women interested in participating in the Mummy Buddy program can contact Brian Law for more information at email@example.com or phone 0403 438 811.
The mummy buddy program will receive approximately $66,000 from Healthway over the next two years to help implement and evaluate the study.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876