World Breastfeeding Week is held every year from August 1-7. The week celebrates and normalises breastfeeding. This year the week focuses on enabling women to continue breastfeeding when they return to work, informing people about working parents’ perspectives on breastfeeding and parenting, and anchoring optimal paid leave and workplace support as important tools to enable breastfeeding and engage with individuals and organisations to enhance collaboration and support for breastfeeding at work.
Alexandra health promotion specialist and breastfeeding advocate Jo O’Connor welcomes the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week theme — enabling breastfeeding, making a difference for working parents.
‘‘Supporting our parents, especially working parents is more important than ever. Workplace challenges remain amongst the most common reasons for women to never breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended.
‘‘Parents need adequate time and support to breastfeed. Parents with less than three months of maternity leave breastfeed their children for shorter durations than those with longer maternity leave and supportive employers.’’
Support from friends, whanau and workplaces is invaluable in helping mothers and babies make breastfeeding work.
Breastfeeding might be natural but it did not just naturally happen, Central Otago District Council staff member and breastfeeding peer supporter Rhea Lind said.
As a mother of two it was important for her to be able to breastfeed her son and she was fortunate to feel supported by her employer, she said.
‘‘Not everyone is so lucky. If you are an employer — have a conversation with your staff before they go on parental leave. Ensure they understand that you support them breastfeeding when they return, provide a private space for them to breastfeed or express and be flexible with break times.’’
She reminded people there was help available.
‘‘Remember there’s help out there. Peer supporters are volunteers, trained and supported by WellSouth across the region. We offer non-judgemental support and information on the normal course of breastfeeding, overcoming common barriers and breastfeeding challenges. We are available for one-toone support, phone, text or email help, informal group drop-in sessions and home visits,’’ she said.
Mums4Mums Alexandra would be chatting about returning to work next Wednesday and it was a great chance for people to come along and find out what support was available.
For more information contact Jo O’Connor on 027-210-4716 or [email protected]
Local, Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes District support
Drop-in groups offer support to parents across the district.
Alexandra first and third Wednesday of the month 10am-11.30am Alexandra Baptist Church.
Cromwell second and fourth Wednesday of the month 10.30am-12pm, CO Reap room Molyneaux Ave.
Wanaka Well Second and fourth Tuesday of the month 10am-noon
Upper Clutha Plunket — Community Specialist Breastfeeding.
Central Lakes Breastfeeding Charitable Trust co-ordinates specialist breastfeeding support.
Community Specialist Support Service phone 027-349-5473.