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Tuesday, 19 March 2019 07:30 am

Hiding breastfeeding in Kiwi culture does not help new mums


LATCHED: Lucy Gregory enjoys breastfeeding her son, Taitoa (1). She says breastfeeding has made this year much easier.

THE KIWI culture of hiding breastfeeding means people do not realise how challenging it is for new mums, says Lucy Gregory.

Ms Gregory (37) who attended the Big Latch On at the Dowse Art Museum on Friday with her son Taitoa (1), says breastfeeding for her is now positive experience.

“Once you get the hang of it, it’s awesome.

“We don’t grow up in a culture where we see it a lot so people think it’s going to be really easy and natural but it can be quite a bit of a challenge,” she says

Breastfeeding mums from all over New Zealand gathered to take part in the annual event to raise breastfeeding awareness.

Mums and their children latched on at 10.30am until 10.31am, while witnesses counted the number of latches.

Ms Gregory says breastfeeding Taitoa has made this year much easier.

“When you’re a new mum you’re just not sure what’s normal and what’s not normal and you’re concerned about getting it right,” says Ms Gregory (RIGHT)

She points out that Wellington mums are lucky because there are a lot of support groups around.

She has had a lot of support and has never been discriminated against for breastfeeding in public.

“It’s really sad that discrimination occurs because it’s such a natural part of us growing up, the discrimination must occur from ignorance really rather than from not understanding,

“I think it extends from the sexualisation of women’s bodies rather than seeing them as just bodies,” she says

For Lower Hutt mum, Stacey Jenkins*(36), the debate against breastfeeding in public has been overdone.

“I’m tired of the issue. I think that we’ve all moved on and its more about recognising mums who are doing an amazing job even if they can’t or won’t or haven’t, for me that’s more of an issue, that we make sure everybody’s parenting is supported,” she says.

“Breastfeeding has glued us all together really”, says Mrs Jenkins

Rebecca Blaikie, (35), attended a breastfeeding course at Lower Hutt hospital and says it was amazing for her and her family.

“I had a caesarean section, and was told I would struggle with feeding, but I had no problems at all,” she says.

tableOver the past five years, the numbers of mums attending the Big Latch On has risen significantly, and so have the number of countries and locations.

At the Dowse a turnout of 23 mums and 21 of them completed The Big Latch On.

Organiser Merewyn Groom says that it was a very high success rate.

“There were a number of others who came in support and health professionals who work with mothers and babies,” she says.


*name has been changed to protect identity.

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