Dr Robyn Thompson

Thank you for visiting my Facebook Page, this brief profile reflects a sliver of my professional and personal experience ‘with women’ during pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding over the past 42 years. My journey with women and their babies has been and continues to be amazing. Qualifications: My nursing career began in 1961and continued until 1965. A ‘stay at home mum’ for nine years I returned to professional life to embark on and complete Midwifery (1974-1975) followed by Infant Welfare (1977-1978). Then a Bachelor of Applied Science, Advanced Nursing (1980-1985) and a Re-entry course into Child, Family & Community Nursing (1991). In 2008 I commenced a Masters degree at Charles Darwin University, NT. This was converted to a PhD in 2009. I relocated to Australian Catholic University, Brisbane to follow my Supervisors who commenced new academic positions in Queensland and Northern NSW. In August 2014, I gratefully completed my PhD, thanks to the guidance of my supervisors Professors Sue Kildea, Sue Kruske and Lesley Barclay. I continued nursing until the day I gave birth to my first baby Mark in December 1965. Joanne was born in September 1968 and I gave birth to a stillborn baby girl Melanie in 1973. The midwives who were present for the birth of Mark panicked because the General Practitioner (GP) had not arrived. One actually held his head back, while the other forced a mask over my face. They were both yelling at me to “stop pushing until the doctor arrived”. Instinctively I threw the mask across the room and gave birth to my baby. For Joanne I arrived at the hospital just in time to give birth to her. Breastfeeding both my babies was simply a normal transition from the wonderful experience of giving birth. In the 1960s your baby was taken from you soon after birth. The institutionalised practice at the time was to keep babies in the labour ward nursery. Newborns were placed in wire cots and left in a small room, until there was time for a midwife to bath and check them before they were transferred to the postnatal ward. After the routine bath, weigh and newborn check was completed, sometimes hours later, the baby would be transported in the wire cot straight to the postnatal ward community nursery. This routine processing and transporting most often occurred before the mother had time to hold or breastfeed her baby. The newborn was fed glucose water 20mls for first feed via a bottle and teat. The women were told that this practice was necessary to be sure the digestive system was normal. Rarely did the mother have the opportunity to breastfeed before being transferred to the postnatal ward. The common practice was to separate mothers and babies for hours, sometimes days. Babies were returned to the nursery after each breast feed. Breast engorgement was treated with a tight binders being applied to the breasts then lying face down in an attempt to suppress the natural increase in milk volume. Having the privilege to work closely with women and babies has provided me with the opportunity to develop my observational skills, knowledge and experience. I am also aware of a heightened intuitiveness that guides my practice. It is important not to expect every woman and her baby to behave the same or follow the same ‘rules’ set down in professional practice. Each woman is special and individual. Mindful communication with breastfeeding women helps to achieve the woman's desire to feel confident in herself, in her own unique way. I am keen to foster an environment that assists the mother to understand the cues and communication skills of the newborn and young baby. The newborn is very capable of moving instinctively and activating innate neuro-sensory skills of smell, touch, taste, hearing and seeing to locate the breast and nipple to ensure nourishment and survival. Midwifing with women for over 40 years led me to practice for 25 of those years with women who chose to have continuous midwifery care through pregnancy, labour, birth and up to six weeks postnatal weeks, at home. These women were really my teachers, they empowered and strengthened my midwifery skills. I am grateful for their teachings. My daughter-in-law and sister-in-law taught me more. I was invited to be their midwife too. Emi gave birth to my two amazing grandsons Josh 22 years and Kai 21 years at home and Kerryn gave birth to the wonderul Emma in a Birth Centre and waited to give birth till I arrived on a flight from Darwin, soon after I arrived Emma was born. Now a wise and privileged elder midwife, my desire is to impart as much of knowledge and wisdom to new midwives. 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