Every year, Whānau Āwhina Plunket sees around 80% of all new pēpi (babies) across the country. We make lasting connections with whānau while supporting them on their path as new parents, with services such as lactation consultations for breastfeeding mums and their bubs.
One māma, Ashley (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Whakatōhea), unfortunately faced breastfeeding hurdles like mastitis with baby Rewiti in the first few months of his life. It took a toll both physically and mentally and cast a shadow over parts of her parenting journey.
Ashley is a beautifully strong māma who made the decision to breastfeed her baby Rewiti – it was important to her. Although it may seem like one of the most natural things in the world, it was not initially the experience Ashley had hoped for.
When Whānau Āwhina Plunket first made contact, Ashley, like many mothers who face this all-too-common situation without support, was unwell and struggling. She was finding it hard to know what to do and where to find the right information.
“I wasn't too sure what was going on. I was waking up in pain, with fevers, and aching bones wanting to be sick, I didn't realise how unwell I was with mastitis.”
As she battled through the physical pain, Ashley also dealt with the constant worry of whether her baby was being properly nourished.
“Physically, I was in pain and part of me just wanted to stop breastfeeding. I had to keep just giving it a go. It became hard, mentally, over time. I was worried about bubba, if he was even getting enough and I started getting all those negative thoughts in my head.”
An expert lactation consultant was part of Plunket’s wraparound system that supported Ashley with regular check-ins, advice, clinical support and practical help that made a world of difference for her and her whānau. It enabled Ashley to push through the challenges and keep breastfeeding Rewiti.
We must be there for every whānau in situations like Ashley’s, and give every tamariki (child) the best possible start in life. You can make a difference.