Northland babies are getting a good start in life thanks to increasing rates of breastfeeding in the district.
For example, Whangarei Hospital’s maternity unit’s exclusive breastfeeding rate has risen from 67% in 2001 to 94.3% in 2011 on discharge. The hospital also has the highest exclusive breastfeeding rate on discharge of all Secondary/Tertiary maternity units in New Zealand.
In recognition of their continued success in increasing breastfeeding rates in the region, maternity staff at Northland DHB’s four sites will receive Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative certificates next week.
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global campaign of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and The New Zealand Ministry of Health requires all maternity facilities to attain and maintain Baby Friendly Hospital Accreditation. Every three years the Ministry assesses DHBs maternity units to ensure they meet Baby Friendly Hospital standards and support breastfeeding.
This prestigious award is a globally recognised quality standard that both parents and health services can use to compare the service provided by the designated facility with that of others.
Next week Julie Stufkens, executive officer for the New Zealand Breastfeeding Authority will present the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative certificates to the maternity staff of Whangarei Hospital (March 22 at 11am), Kaipara (March 22 at 2pm), Kaitaia (March 23 at 10am), Bay of Islands (March 23 at 1.30pm).
This is the third time Northland DHB’s maternity units have been accredited under the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. A team of three assessors employed by the NZBA (New Zealand Breastfeeding Authority) were sent to Whangarei to assess the facilities. They interviewed 20-30 staff along with 20-30 postnatal mums and 15-20 antenatal mums during the assessment.
“Our staff are trained to help educate and support pregnant and postnatal mothers, fathers and whanau to breastfeed their babies. Next week will be a time for Northland parents/whanau and our staff to celebrate their achievements in giving our babies the best possible start in life through breastfeeding,” says Northland DHB general manager, Child, Youth, Maternal and Oral Health, Jeanette Wedding.
Northland DHB offers support in the community as well:
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
- Free breastfeeding support clinics run at TePuawai Ora 3 Keay Road - Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-2pm.
- Antenatal and postnatal midwifery and lactation support clinic in Otangarei Wednesdays 10-12.30pm.
- Pulse Teen school - breastfeeding support Tuesdays.
Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
From: Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services AA Joint WHO / UNICEF Statement 1989
Kia U Ki Te Pai - As a mother’s milk provides nourishment, Let us embrace all that is good
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour or birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants of breastfeeding mothers no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
- Practise rooming-in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats of pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital.
The Treaty of Waitangi - The New Zealand Breastfeeding Authority is committed to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and will work with the principles through:
- Partnership, by working with whanau, hapu and iwi to develop appropriate policies and procedures that will improve breastfeeding rates and services in New Zealand.
- Participation, by involving Maori in decision making, planning, development and implementation of the Baby Friendly Community Initiative.
- Protection, by working in a manner that will protect an preserve Maori traditional breastfeeding practices.
For further information, please contact:
Paula Martin, Communications Officer
Northland District Health Board
Phone (09) 430 4101 ext 3321