Denying a mother’s choice
Neesha Morar’s son Dilan lost 11 per cent of his body weight after being born at Auckland City Hospital in May.
She said she was told by hospital midwives that there was ‘‘too much paperwork’’ to provide her newborn son with formula.
Morar, who had an emergency caesarean, said she did not receive the support she needed.
‘‘The hospital midwives would not give him formula at all.’’
After three days in hospital, she discharged herself.
Morar said the situation was disappointing and stressful and new mums needed more support.
Morar is not alone – mums across the country have spoken out about the lack of support for bottle-feeding.
Nationally, five out of six women leave hospital breastfeeding their babies, but just one in five women are exclusively breastfeeding by six months, according to figures from Plunket and the Ministry of Health.
Helensville Birthing Centre recently celebrated its 95 per cent success rate of mums exclusively breastfeeding their babies when they left the centre.
However, Emma Purdue, who stayed at the Helensville Birthing Centre in 2012, said staff forced her to breastfeed against her wishes.
Purdue had supply issues with her first two babies and knew it would happen with her third.
She planned to express breast milk to bottle-feed her newborn baby Carter, however, she said staff told her not to express.
‘‘It was just so forced upon me by these women that I had no choice,’’ she said.
Purdue posted her story on social media, sparking more than 500 comments from mothers who experienced similar pressure at hospitals and birthing centres.
However, a number of other mothers who had been to the birthing centre said staff were supportive and helpful.
Helensville Birthing Centre lactation consultant Debbie Tetlow said it was rare for women not to initiate breastfeeding.
‘‘There is so much known about the benefits of breastfeeding and the hazards of formula feeding,’’ Tetlow said.
The birthing centre recently received its fourth consecutive accreditation under the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a programme that promotes breastfeeding.
Neesha Mora, pictured with her five-month-old son Dilan, felt pressure from nurses at Auckland City Hospital to breastfeed Dilan despite experiencing problems with him latching on.