Dr Melody Jackson


Breastfeeding and beyond for Dr Melody Jackson

In the bustling suburb of Bella Vista in Sydney, Dr Melody Jackson is making a significant impact on the lives of mothers and infants as a General Practitioner and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Her journey, marked by a passion and commitment to improving maternal and infant care, has taken her from nursing in Toowoomba to becoming a respected figure in lactation consultation in the most populous city in Australia.

Melody’s academic path began with a medical degree from the University of Notre Dame in Sydney, followed by a Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

She honed her clinical skills during her tenure as a junior doctor at Westmead Public Hospital, where she developed a keen interest in women’s health, mental health, and antenatal and postnatal care.

Her thirst for knowledge and commitment to mental health led her to further studies, including a Postgraduate Certificate in Traumatic Stress studies and advanced training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

This diverse training equips her with a range of strategies to support overall health in her patients.

However, Melody’s journey toward lactation consultation began on a much more personal level.

“I had a really challenging experience breastfeeding my first child,” she said.

“I knew I wanted to breastfeed him, but that was all the preparation I did, so when I had him, it was really difficult and I had no idea what I was in for.

“When I went on maternity leave with my second child, COVID struck and I again felt certain support for new mothers was really lacking.

“I realised the enormous impact of this critical phase in a mother and child’s lives, and this sparked my passion for helping other women navigate the complexities of breastfeeding and maternal care.

“So, as a GP, initially I thought I’d just open up for half a day a week and do a bit of breastfeeding medicine.

“But the lactation medicine just kept growing and growing, and now I only do around five hours a week of general practice just to keep my skills up – I’m almost full time as a breastfeeding medicine doctor.”

Her dedication and impact has not gone unnoticed. In 2022, Melody received the Ausmumpreneur Gold Award in the category of ‘Making A Difference: Health and Wellbeing.’

“To receive the award was really unexpected, and a really nice moment for me to be recognised in making a difference in mother’s lives,” she said.

“When you’re a new mum, everyone tells you something different and it’s really overwhelming.

“So, I wanted to be a single point of call for mums who could come and have their vaccines and their health checks, and check their latch and positioning, or make plans for feeding their baby.

“I’m one place they can come for all of their health information, rather than getting conflicting sources from everywhere.”

Melody’s career path might seem linear on paper, but it’s filled with moments of serendipity and a drive to create meaningful change.

Her journey into medicine began with nursing, driven in part by limited options in her hometown of Toowoomba and her older brother studying nursing too.

However, it was her experiences as a nurse that ignited her love for the clinical aspects of healthcare, fostering her desire to work closely with patients.

Outside of her professional life, she enjoys reading, music, and, most importantly, spending quality time with her husband and two young children.

Melody’s career embodies the essence of family-friendly general practice.

“As a mother myself, I understand the value of work-life balance and cherish my role in maternal care,” she said.

“My practice allows me to choose my hours and focus on the aspects of general practice that I am passionate about.

“This alignment between my personal and professional life ensures my happiness and fulfillment in my career.”

At the heart of Melody’s work is a dedication to helping mothers and infants thrive.

One of the most satisfying aspects of her work is witnessing mothers breastfeed successfully during their consultations.

“Whether it’s their first time breastfeeding without pain or simply a breakthrough moment, these are really special experiences to be able to share with new mums,” she said.

“However, I never make mothers feel pressured to exclusively breastfeed. I encourage them to find their own path, informed with accurate knowledge, whether it involves breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination of both.

“There are many ways to be a successful mother, and each journey is unique.”

For those considering a career in general practice, Melody’s story serves as a powerful testament to the rewards it can offer.

“General practice provides the opportunity to choose your practice, set your hours, and focus on the areas of medicine that resonate with you,” she said.

“It’s a career that offers fulfillment, work-life balance, and the chance to make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients.”

Melody’s journey from nursing to general practice and lactation medicine is a remarkable testament to the power of passion and dedication in the medical field.

Her commitment to improving maternal and infant care is changing lives, one consultation at a time, and her story is an inspiration to all.

Alice Springs photo by Austyn S