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Wairarapa helps break national record

1 August 2008

Wairarapa helps break national record

For the first time, Wairarapa mothers have helped New Zealand break their ‘Big Latch’ record, with 27 mums and babies gathered at the YMCA and simultaneously breastfeeding at 10.30am on Friday. The total for New Zealand was 1111, up from 937 last year as the nation tried to reach a target of 1,000.

“We had a great morning, it was so wonderful to see so many thriving babies and mums doing what they do best,” says Tamariki Ora nurse (Whaiora Whanui) Eileen Fahy-Teahan. “I really love supporting mums to breastfeed if they are able to – it’s not always easy, but the rewards are fabulous.”

Wairarapa mothers do fairly well at breastfeeding in their first six weeks, compared to national figures but many have given up by the time babies are six months old.

“There are lots of reasons for giving up, and lots of things we can do to support mums to keep going,” says Eileen. “Breastfeeding is a family affair. If older children can bring mum a glass of water when she stops to feed baby, or dad can do the ‘baby burping’, friends, Nana or Koro offer to hang the washing out, look after older kids, or do the dishes or the shopping – all these things support mum and baby to keep going with breastfeeding. Making it to six months on just breast milk is a fabulous achievement, something to be really proud of.

After that, others can start helping baby get going on solid food. Baby might continue to breastfeed up to two years or beyond – every month is a bonus.”

The Big Latch is an annual event organised nationally by Women’s Health Action, and has broken the previous year’s record for the number of simultaneously breastfeeding babies every year. Locally, it was organised by Lisa Beech of the Public Health Unit of Wairarapa DHB, with support from Whaiora Whanui, Parents Centre and Plunket.

The prize of four hours home cleaning by ‘Mobile Mums’, sponsored by the DHB, was won by firtst time mum Caroline Warren. “I’m delighted for Caroline,” says Eileen. “She has really persevered with breastfeeding and succeeded. What a nice reward!”


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