The shared responsibility of breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding events are being held around the Bay of Plenty next week. Supplied photo.

Breastfeeding will be celebrated in New Zealand and around the world next week during World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August).

The event is an annual reminder about the importance of breastfeeding and the shared responsibility to protect, promote and support it.

Research shows that breastfeeding helps give babies the best start for a healthy life, says a statement from Toi Te Ora Public Health in Tauranga.

“It is specifically designed for a baby’s brain development and has everything in just the right amounts to be absorbed and digested easily.

“It helps to protect a baby against colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies. It also has health benefits for mothers which include reducing the risk of some cancers and bone disease.”

Toi Te Ora Public Health supports World Breastfeeding Week and recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue to breastfeed along with the introduction of solid foods until their children are at least two years old.

Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally.

For some mothers it can be a challenging journey.

A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack says the attitudes and knowledge of those close to breastfeeding women affects women’s breastfeeding journeys.

“Whānau, friends, colleagues, support groups and experts can journey with mothers through their ups and downs. It takes a village to continue breastfeeding.”  

He says there are simple things whānau and friends can do to support a breastfeeding mother.

“Offer encouraging words, bring her a drink, do the housework, speak up if someone criticizes her, and help her to find expert support if she needs it.”

Free breastfeeding support services

There are a range of free breastfeeding support services available across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions which support breastfeeding māmā with free lactation consultants and peer support: Whakamanahia te Waiū (Eastern Bay of Plenty), Māmā Maia (Western Bay of Plenty), and Kia Wana (Lakes). Other organisations like Plunket, La Leche League, Parents Centre, Bethlehem Birthing Centre and other Hauora providers offer expert support and support groups like ‘Milk Cafés’. The Breastfed App also provides easily accessible practical help and advice.

World Breastfeeding Week Events in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes Districts

Across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts a number of local events during World Breastfeeding Week will celebrate breastfeeding and provide a space for mothers to connect and find support as they breastfeed their babies together:

Wednesday, August 4, 10am at Wai-hina, 67 Heuheu Street, Taupō

Thursday, August 5, 10am at:

Whakatāne Library, 49 Kakahoroa Drive

Rotorua library, 1127 Haupapa Street

Friday, August 6, 10am at:

Bethlehem Birthing Centre, 1 Te Paeroa Road, Bethlehem

Tauranga Parents Centre, Historic Village, 17th Avenue

Mount Maunganui Plunket, 24 Grenada street

Te Puke War Memorial Hall, 130 Jellicoe Street

Ōpōtiki, 104 Richard Street

World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network of individuals & organisations dedicated to the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.


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