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HealthInfo Canterbury

Who can help me to breastfeed?

Small newborn breastfeedingBreastfeeding takes time to establish, and there can be some challenges along the way. Most women say it can take up to six weeks to feel relaxed and confident about breastfeeding. It'll help if you can get support from your partner and whānau during this time.

There's a lot of information and support available to help you to learn how to breastfeed and answer any concerns you have.

If you're having any difficulty breastfeeding or just want some more support, it's a good idea to attend one of the many free breast feeding groups around Canterbury.

Health professionals

If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your midwife, Well Child nurse, or GP. If necessary, they can arrange for you to see a peer counsellor (another breastfeeding woman who you can talk to) or a free lactation consultant.

Appointments with a lactation consultant are at a place or time that suit both of you, or at clinics in some suburbs. Or you may choose to pay to see a private lactation consultant.


You can call the 24-hour Canterbury Breastfeeding Helpline on (03) 338‑8447. You can also ring PlunketLine on 0800‑933‑922 for child health and parenting questions.

La Leche League

Visit the New Zealand La Leche League's website to find out what support and information it can offer you. You can also connect with them on Facebook, or with the Christchurch La Leche League Breast Start Facebook page.

Breastfeeding advocacy

The Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy Service can put you in contact with different support services, including mother-to-mother peer counsellors and local breastfeeding groups throughout Canterbury. It also has information on breastfeeding in the workplace and breastfeeding and baby-friendly cafés in Canterbury.


This app for Apple or Android smartphones provides simple, "in the moment" advice to help women breastfeed. It was developed by Midland DHB, so some of the local information isn't relevant for Canterbury. However, it has some great information that any breastfeeding woman can use.

Family assistance providers

Christchurch Hospital Child Health Services

If your doctor is worried about your child's health or growth, they may refer your child to Christchurch Hospital Child Health Services, where normally your child will be seen as an outpatient.

What if I can't breastfeed?

Most women are physically able to breastfeed, and there is usually a solution to any breastfeeding issues you might have. Even women with low milk supplies can usually breastfeed while also using donor breast milk or formula supplements.

Infant formula is the only suitable breast milk substitute for babies in their first year.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Breastfeeding issues

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy co-ordinator. Page created February 2018.


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Review key: HIBRF-24381