Silver Winner: Best Maternity Service Provider
One of Hong Kong’s most popular lactation consultant businesses, The Family Zone provides breastfeeding support and post-natal checkups, putting new parents at ease and giving them confidence to care for their little ones. We speak to new owner Dr. Michelle Ng, who took over the business upon the retirement of founder Yvonne Heavyside.
Can you tell us more about the history of The Family Zone?
The Family Zone has been operating in Hong Kong for over 15 years and was founded by the wonderful Yvonne Heavyside. Yvonne is a maternal and child-health specialist as well as a UK registered nurse and lactation consultant. She set up the business as a result of finding that Hong Kong had a limited range of options for postnatal care services. After a long legacy in Hong Kong and having helped multiple mothers and families, Yvonne and her husband Peter decided to retire to the UK. After thinking that the business would also retire with her, Yvonne and I met during her postnatal visits to support my breastfeeding journey. I developed a fascination for breastfeeding and became passionate about supporting other mums who were going through this stage of motherhood. My background as a UK-qualified doctor, my experience as a new mum and my connection with Yvonne led to Yvonne offering me the opportunity of taking over the reins of The Family Zone.
Why do you think your service is so important to new mums?
There is a difference between knowing something conceptually and knowing something experientially. It is an unrealistic expectation placed upon new mothers that they will instinctively be able to breastfeed and care for their babies easily and without any assistance. Many mothers are of course able to do this, but a huge number have wide-ranging challenges. Aside from physical difficulties, almost the most important factor is that the mother receives reassurance and is filled with confidence and empowered by others around her in those crucial first few weeks.
What’s the most satisfying part about your job?
When a baby has not been feeding effectively, resulting in a range of complications, but then successfully latches and begins nursing. Seeing the sudden relief, joy and connection that results is a truly special moment.
What do new mums worry most about in those early days?
This is a tricky question to answer because it’s dependent on so many factors. One of the most common anxieties I see in new mums is the belief that they are unable to do anything correctly or effectively enough and are therefore failing their baby! The reassurance that I offer to them is that no matter what they might feel, they are always the best provider of their baby’s needs, the best mum for them and that their baby knows that they are loved.
Discover the rest of the winners of our Wellness & Lifestyle Awards 2022!