Catch on to latch­ing on

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

The words ‘‘breast’’ and ‘‘sup­port’’ are gain­ing sig­nif­i­cance well be­yond lin­gerie chang­ing rooms at Can­nons Creek’s Fanau Cen­tre.

A dozen moth­ers gath­ered on Fri­day to mark in­ter­na­tional breast­feed­ing week with a ‘‘ Big Latch On’’ – ba­bies were poised at breasts at 10.30am ex­actly to be counted to­wards a breast­feed­ing world record at­tempt. But it was the qual­ity, not quan­tity, of breast­feed­ing which was the key mes­sage of the gather­ing.

Breast­feed­ing is of­ten scary and un­com­fort­able for new mums, says Sandy Reid, Cap­i­tal and Coast District Health Board’s com­mu­nity breast­feed­ing co­or­di­na­tor.

Sup­port from friends, fam­ily and health of­fi­cials is cru­cial, and gather­ing mums to­gether is a good way to sup­port them.

‘‘Mother-to-mother sup­port is hugely im­por­tant,’’ she says.

‘‘ They need to get con­fi­dence, and peo­ple sup­port­ing you is much bet­ter than peo­ple say­ing ‘you’ve got to give your baby a bot­tle’.’’

The Fanau Cen­tre hosts a free breast­feed­ing cen­tre which gives ad­vice to breast­feed­ing mums two morn­ings a week. Painful breast­feed­ing and wor­ries about milk sup­ply are the top two con­cerns Ms Reid hears at the cen­tre.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends ba­bies are breast­fed to two years, and ex­clu­sively on breast milk to six months. Most Kiwi women breast­feed to one year, Ms Reid es­ti­mates.

Aunts, friends and one male part­ner ac­com­pa­nied the mums, many of whom were at­tend­ing their first latch on.

Breast prac­tice: From left, Sharon Mokalei, with baby Cai­dyn, was ac­com­pa­nied to last Fri­day’s Big Latch On by her part­ner, while Tanya Thompson en­cour­aged her niece Arielle Ti­raa to bring along her daugh­ters Jada and baby Kiana.

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