Nod for baby friendly approach to breastfeeding

Baby friendly initiative maternity

Latest news 1 April 2019 | Counties Manukau Health has been recognised for its efforts towards encouraging breastfeeding.

Middlemore Hospital has recently celebrated recertification as a Baby Friendly Hospital, while CM Health’s three primary birthing units celebrate their recertification today (April 1).

Baby Friendly Accreditation is an international programme administered in New Zealand by the New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA).  It requires the organisation to meet the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the World Health Organisation Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substances. 

The Ten Steps include administrative approaches like a written breastfeeding policy that is communicated to all staff, as well as more practical ones, such as a “rooming in” policy allowing mothers and infants to be together 24-hours-a day.

Team Leader, Lactation Support Services, Maternity Ward Bev Pownall says Middlemore Hospital has been Baby Friendly accredited since 2011 and has since been reaccredited two more times. The Botany and Pukekohe primary birthing units were first accredited in 2004 and have since been accredited a further four times each. Papakura primary birthing unit was first accredited in 2008 and reaccredited three times.

Ms Pownall says most women intend to breastfeed and 96 per cent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding. However, in some groups, this number falls off rapidly in the weeks following birth, particularly where there is a lack of information and support.

“If women don’t understand how breastfeeding works they sometimes lose their confidence. For example, typically babies have growth spurts around two weeks, however many mothers falsely think their supply is low and that they need to supplement with other food which in turn does affect their supply,” she says, adding that access to breastfeeding support and information can prevent this.

As well as meeting the WHO Ten Steps, CM Health employs multilingual Breastfeeding Advocates on the maternity ward. These are women who speak more than one language and have successfully breastfed their own children. The women speak a combination Samoan, Tongan, Hindi and Punjabi and are on hand every day to complement the work of the busy midwives and nurses.

“And then on Primary Birthing Units, women  get a lot of support in establishing breastfeeding because they tend to stay bit longer and will be well plugged into the breastfeeding supporters in the community.’

Baby Friendly Accreditation is mandatory for all maternity facilities in New Zealand.

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