Catch on to latching on
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.