Breastfeeding support for mothers and babies has increased at Tui Ora with the addition of new lactation consultant Anthea Brown.
She joins Julie Foley in the Tiaki Ūkaipō service, which provides a range of one-on-one help as well as support to whānau and a peer support programme. A demand for the service as well as increased funding has enabled its expansion, says Julie.
“It has been difficult for me to fully cover Taranaki. This means we have a wider reach and the ability to focus on Mums in rural areas and those struggling with issues like transport and social isolation.”
Julie and Anthea agree that home visits often make the difference for mothers. “They tend to feel more comfortable and confident in their home environment. Sometimes aspects of their environment might be impacting on them – is there a comfortable place to sit and is other support on hand, for example.”
As well as individual support, Julie and Anthea run clinics in Stratford and New Plymouth, enabling mums and babies to call in to discuss issues and receive advice. The Stratford clinic is at Pregnancy Help, 4 Romeo Street Thursdays from 10-12, while the New Plymouth clinic is at Tui Ora (36 Maratahu Street) each Friday from 10am-12.
The peer support programme sees trained mothers supporting other mothers, and this initiative empowers both groups. The breastfeeding training provides further education for more experienced mums – and means newer mums can turn to someone in their community.
“One of the peer supporters was even able to help someone when she was overseas. The knowledge and experience they have gained from being part of the programme is ongoing.”
Peer supporters meet for regular education sessions and can access resources on a closed Facebook page.
New branding material developed by the Tiaki Ūkaipō service is helping lift its profile and presence in the community. Posters, t-shirts, a rack card, folders, bags, pens and drink bottles sporting the logo on a purple background have arrived, or are due for delivery.
“One of the barriers to people accessing our service is the lack of awareness. One of our plans is to send out material to GPs and midwives to increase their knowledge of what we do.” Another communication tool is the use of a text number, helping people who don’t have a landline or credit on their phone, to get in touch.
Anthea had earlier completed work at Tui Ora through a scholarship programme and is happy to be back, supporting Julie. She works on Mondays and Thursdays and every second Tuesday – on the other days of the week she is based at Plunket.