COVID-19 may have at least one silver lining, according to Tamworth midwife and businesswoman extraordinaire.
Isolation, anxiety and disconnectedness are all concerns facing us as we weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However new research says these feelings are experienced by over 40 per cent of new mums, especially in relation to breastfeeding, before even factoring in additional stress caused by the pandemic.
Edwina Sharrock said in this day and age, the rates of stress and anxiety new mothers are facing in society is "ridiculous".
"I was shocked at the statistics. Shocked but not surprised," she told the Leader.
Unfortunately, mothers often come to me feeling ashamed and isolated because they haven't spoken to anyone. With education and support, it doesn't have to be that way.Edwina Sharrock
"I think that there is a huge amount of pressure put on mothers about feeding, that it should be seamless, when actually it's a learned art."
According to statistics collated by health technology company Phillips Avent, over half of Australian mums say there is still a cultural taboo surrounding breastfeeding.
Just over 40 per cent report feeling uncomfortable breastfeeding or pumping in public, and even more admit they felt isolated when breastfeeding their baby.
Almost a third of Australian mums are embarrassed talking about their feeding issues because of societal pressures.
A Tamworth midwife, founder of Birth Beat and mother herself, Mrs Sharrock said having feeding issues is completely normal.
"Unfortunately, mothers often come to me feeling ashamed and isolated because they haven't spoken to anyone. With education and support, it doesn't have to be that way," she said.
With her first child she had a "seamless" breastfeeding journey. However had "every possible challenge" when it came to her second.
Plenty of research has been done on clinical outcomes, she said, and commends this research done around how new mothers are feeling and says there should be more.
"As a society it makes us think 'what can we do to help make their experience easier?' Kindness and love are never not needed."
One of the stressors listed for new mums is returning to work. This means having to navigate the business world while trying to pump breast milk, tackling that societal stigma.
"Speaking to a mother who is in our online program, there is a lot of financial pressure on families [from COVID], which may mean mums are needing to return to work earlier than planned," she noted.
Speaking to a mother who is in our online program, there is a lot of financial pressure on families [from COVID], which may mean mums are needing to return to work earlier than planned.Edwina Sharrock
"That's where we need to learn how to support that return to work."
But despite the manifold negatives of the pandemic, she says having more services online for new and expectant mums is something that will go along way towards creating a stronger support network.
"As rural women, I think we've always been doing [online] because we haven't had access to a lot of services.
moving away from attending those education programs at hospitals which are generally considered a place for illness.
"But with the pandemic, more people are accessing things online,
"With that, the online programs are sure to improve as the demand rises. That can only be a good thing."
This World Breastfeeding Week, Philips Avent is encouraging all women to share their breastfeeding story on social media to help normalise breastfeeding,