Breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learned by you and your baby. Some women experience no problems at all; others need advice and support to get started and continue feeding. Having the practical and emotional support of your partner, whānau and friends is important.
For an overview of breastfeeding to get you started, take a look at this Ministry of Health breastfeeding information booklet [PDF, 741 KB], which is also available in Māori [PDF, 1.4 MB], Chinese [PDF, 1.2 MB], Korean [PDF, 1.2 MB], Samoan [PDF, 727 KB] and Tongan [PDF, 1.1 MB].
Got questions? Check out the full range of Unicef breastfeeding information sheets and videos.()
It is quite common that people will need surgery at some point while they are breastfeeding. As well as the usual worries about coming for an operation or procedure, parents often feel concerned about the safety of continuing to breastfeed afterwards. Take a look at this website for information related to breastfeeding and anaesthesia.()
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The Ministry of Health recommends all babies are fed only on breastmilk for the first six months of life. This means no water, infant formula or fruit juices. After six months you can slowly start your baby on solid foods and other fluids, while you keep breastfeeding.
If you are worried about your ability to breastfeed, please discuss your concerns with your LMC who may refer you to a lactation consultant.
Most term babies will wake for feeds between one and three hours in the early days.
Common infant hunger cues include:
Smacking or licking lips
Opening and closing mouth
Sucking on lips, tongue, hands, fingers, clothing,
Cooing, wriggling moving arms and legs
Mouthing & licking
Crying now and then
Fidgeting or squirming
Fussing or breathing fast, arching back
Moving head frantically from side to side
Full cry / scream, tense body, turns red, unable to be consoled
If you have any concerns or problems, contact your LMC. They should be able to help you with most breastfeeding issues. If you have a more complex concern, they can refer you to a Community Lactation Consultant.
If your baby is four weeks and older, you will be under the care of a Tamariki Ora/Well Child Nurse. They can help you with breastfeeding and refer you to other places for help.
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Plunket - 0800 933 922