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HealthInfo Canterbury

Getting help with breastfeeding

COVID-19 breastfeeding advice

See these Canterbury DHB and West Coast DHB leaflets about Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic and Breastfeeding for COVID-19 positive mothers.

See this infographic showing that the Australian and New Zealand governments along with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists support the use of an approved COVID-19 vaccination in breastfeeding women.

Breastfeeding takes time to get going 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 (family) 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.

Waitaha Primary Health has a Community-Based Lactation Support Service that provides specialist support for mothers with complex breastfeeding issues at community-based clinics, at home, through individual appointments and through email, text or telephone follow-up if needed.

Or you may choose to pay to see a private lactation consultant.

Helplines

You can call PlunketLine on 0800‑933‑922. Plunket now offers breastfeeding support with a lactation consultant via video conferencing.

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.

Breastfeeding support apps

Mama Aroha is designed to support breastfeeding mothers and health professionals who are helping mothers with their breastfeeding, particularly when they're experiencing problems. It uses visuals and kupu Māori to provide mothers with the essential information and principles to better understand breastfeeding. You can download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store.

BreastFedNZ provides simple, "in the moment" advice to help women breastfeed. Midland DHB developed the app, so some of the local information isn't relevant for other districts. But it has some great information that any breastfeeding woman can use.

Feed Safe has handy information about breastfeeding and alcohol. The app has official recommendations from the Ministry of Health as well as local contact details for breastfeeding information and support services. When you follow the link, scroll down the page and you'll see links to the version of the Feed Safe app for New Zealand.

Family assistance providers

Christchurch Hospital Child Health Services

If your doctor is worried about the health or growth of your tamaiti (child), they may refer them to Christchurch Hospital Child Health Services, where they will normally see them as an outpatient.

Breastfeeding issues

Most women are physically able to breastfeed, and there are usually solutions 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 pēpi (babies) in their first year.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2021.

Sources

Page reference: 55817

Review key: HIBRF-24381