Deny­ing a mother’s choice

Western Leader - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE CLENT

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.

LAWRENCE SMITH/STUFF

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.

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