Auckland birthing centre one of country's best for breastfeeding

Helensville Birthing Centre lactation consultant Debbie Tetlow, left, with manager Michelle Nasey.
DANIELLE CLENT/STUFF

Helensville Birthing Centre lactation consultant Debbie Tetlow, left, with manager Michelle Nasey.

Babies born at a north-west Auckland birthing centre are all exclusively breast-fed when they go home.

The Helensville Birthing Centre has been acknowledged as one of the nation's best for breastfeeding rates.

Birthing centre manager Michelle Nasey said it was great to have a light shone on the staff's commitment to teaching new mums about breastfeeding.

The Helensville Birthing Centre hosted an event, The Big Latch On, for breastfeeding mothers on August 4.
SUPPLIED

The Helensville Birthing Centre hosted an event, The Big Latch On, for breastfeeding mothers on August 4.

"They don't do it just because of the accreditation process or to get a certificate," Nasey said.

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"It's because it's our philosophy and everyone that works here believes that this is the best thing for health outcomes for mums and babies."

Helensville Birthing Centre staff members, from left, Rosie Rhodes, Debbie Tetlow, Angie Wright, Gabriella Donaldson, ...
DANIELLE CLENT/STUFF

Helensville Birthing Centre staff members, from left, Rosie Rhodes, Debbie Tetlow, Angie Wright, Gabriella Donaldson, Mya Steele and Michelle Nasey.

The centre has received its fourth consecutive accreditation under the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), a programme that promotes breastfeeding.

It found 95 per cent of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding their babies when they left the centre.

​With the national average at 83 per cent, Nasey said the centre's rates were higher because of the commitment its staff had to the cause.

The Helensville Birthing Centre has had postnatal stays since 2000.
DANIELLE CLENT/STUFF

The Helensville Birthing Centre has had postnatal stays since 2000.

Of the babies that were born at the centre, 100 per cent were exclusively breastfed at the time of discharge.

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This was about 150 babies.

Among those babies was now one-year-old Charlie Hampton.

His mother, Renee Hampton, wanted to breastfeed her babies but found it difficult to start with as Charlie had a tongue-tie at birth.

Charlie was syringe-fed until his tongue-tie was cut when he was eight-days-old.

Hampton said the support given by staff at Helensville Birthing Centre was incredible.

One of the centre's three lactation consultants, Debbie Tetlow, said she was proud of its breastfeeding rates.

She said the challenge was to support women to continue to breastfeed once they had left the birthing centre.

There was a big drop off with only one in five babies nationwide being exclusively breastfed at six months, she said.

Nasey said the birthing centre offered a number of different ways to support mums. This included a coffee group which a lactation consultant attended.

There was also a lot of evidence-based advice on the birthing centre's website and a free clinic mothers could go to for help with breastfeeding, she said.

To become baby friendly the unit must adopt the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding as laid out by the World Health Organisation.

 - Stuff

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