Not enough latching-on is catching on
Breastfeeding rates in New Zealand may be increasing slowly but it’s lagging in Manawatu, according to Plunket data released last week.
At the local culmination of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 to 7, 34 mums and bubs ‘latched on’ at the Christian Community Church venue for the Community Birth Services-sponsored event.
Of concern were reports that suggested Manawatu had the lowest rate of breastfed babies in New Zealand, according to Breastfeeding Manawatu lactation consultant Jackie Wheeler.
‘‘Ony 72 per cent of full-term healthy babies leave Palmerston North Hospital’s postnatal ward exclusively breastfed.’’
That’s despite 90 per cent of local mothers expressing a desire to breastfeed before birth, Wheeler said.
Plunket figures for 2015 and 2016 showed nationally that 87.5 per cent of babies aged between 2 and 6 weeks received breast milk, a figure 1.5 per cent higher than in 2013 and 2014.
‘‘It’s not the fault of mothers,’’ Wheeler said about the low local participation. ‘‘There is not enough support and education.’’
She also said a condition called tongue tie or lip tie could make it difficult for some babies to latch
‘‘[Breastfeeding] is just so convenient’’ Heidi Boyer, mum
on, while making it uncomfortable for women to continue with breastfeeding. A tongue or lip tie is a piece of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, or the top lip to the upper jaw.
Wheeler said this could affect the baby’s ability to grasp the nipple, as well as adversely affecting mothers. She said a simple surgical procedure to snip the tie could make a big difference to mum and her child.
Lily Jia had breastfeeding problems caused by tongue tie for both her children. The La Leche League leader said she got around the problem with her daughter Avon, but required help with her son Bruce, now 14 months.
First-time mother Jen Cook admitted some apprehension about breastfeeding Adelyn, now 7 weeks, which was about not quite knowing what to expect.
‘‘I wanted to give her the best start in life, so I was always going to breastfeed whether I liked it or not.’’
Heidi Boyer said she enjoyed feeding time with 12-month-old Van.
‘‘I really like having the time to talk to him and nurture him... And it is just so convenient.’’
Community nurse co-ordinator for Pepe Haumaru, Jessica Sandbrook said breastfeeding was not only affordable and effective for feeding babies, but also resulted in better health outcomes for mother and child.
Erin Evis with Isobel Evis (8 mths) talks with her midwife Tammi Heap.