Dr Robyn Thompson, founder of the Thompson Method of gentle breastfeeding, has been appointed Adjunct Associate Professor with the College of Nursing and Midwifery at Charles Darwin University (CDU).
The honorary role was awarded to Dr Thompson by the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre, an initiative of CDU, in recognition of her breastfeeding research, midwifery and maternal, child health and continuing breastfeeding consultant experience.
With more than 46 years’ experience in the field, and a PhD, Dr Thompson’s thirst for knowledge hasn’t waned.
“My need to know why so many women are discharged from hospitals with breastfeeding complications continues,” she says.
“Especially when I didn’t see these complications over 25 years of birthing at home with women.”
Dr Thompson’s goal is to play a key role in doubling world breastfeeding rates through education.
The first step is the introduction of the Thompson Method as standard education for the next generation of midwives and maternal health professionals – a goal she has firmly In her sights.
“I have a responsibility to my profession to share my knowledge and experience. I love connecting and assisting with education and mentoring the new generation of midwifery and maternal, child health professionals.
“I’m hoping that this will gradually create an improved opportunity to genuinely be with and listen carefully to what women are saying.
“It is the connection between the woman and the midwife that is so important to improved outcomes.”
CDU’s Molly Wardaguga Research Centre at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, has recently been awarded $2.5 million in funding through the National Health and Medical Research Council for the Caring for Mum on Country project.
The project is proving successful in improving the health outcomes of First Nations families, resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in preterm birth, and a 600 per cent increase in First Nations health related employment.
Dr Thompson was fortunate enough o meet with the late Molly at her daughter’s home, on country.
“She is remembered as one amazing traditional midwife,” she says.
“There is so much for us to learn, I continue to learn something new every day.
“I’m very much an admirer and supporter of the First Nations people. They have so much to teach us. I am always learning with my wonderful First Nations midwifery colleagues.”
Dr Thompson is passionate about reclaiming respect for what she describes as ‘reasonable, respectful, gentle, calm and inclusive assessment of women’.
“It’s important for me to relinquish the dominant role, to not stand over, to sit beside and listen carefully to each the woman, and her unique knowledge of self and her instinctive knowledge of her baby.
“Another thing that concerns me, is the lack of informing women about the law of consent. Women I speak with, talk about how they feel intimidated and coerced into fearful situations.”
Co-director of the Molly Wardaguga Research Centre, Professor Sue Kildea, was head of midwifery research at the Mater Mothers Hospital, Brisbane, while they were testing the Thompson Method in 2019-2020.
The hospital has since actively encouraged the use of the Thompson Method of breastfeeding to mothers.
The Thompson Method is based on Dr Thompson’s evidence-based research collated over the years of working closely with mothers and their babies.
The method is about empowering women to advocate for themselves and to feel in control of their labour, birth and breastfeeding experience.
Dr Thompson is currently running an online breastfeeding and prenatal program to prepare, educate and enourage breastfeeding mothers across the globe.