Lakes District Health Board has launched a free community breastfeeding service to support women to breastfeed their babies.
New lactation consultants, Amy Wray in Rotorua and Chelsie Robertson in Taupo/Turangi will assist local women with breastfeeding including regular drop-in breastfeeding clinics in the community and home visits as needed.
The two new roles provide the opportunity to improve the Lakes District Health Boards rates of breastfeeding, which are currently 61 per cent at four to six weeks, compared to the national target of 75 per cent.
Women who would like to access the free community lactation support can ring 0800 LakesBaby (0800 525 372). Currently the 0800 will be answered during business hours, but it is hoped to extend this.
Prior to Ms Wray and Ms Robertson starting in their roles, women could get support for breastfeeding from their midwife, Well Child nurse or voluntary support service, but there was no specialist advice for complex breastfeeding issues available in the community.
he national target of 75 per cent.
Ms Wray said her role was much more than a job, it was an opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.
"I am really passionate about health and enjoy working with new mothers. Breastfeeding has life-long effects that can influence a mother-baby relationship for life so that's why I love doing what I do."
Ms Wray, who is of Nga Puhi and Te Rarawa descent said knowledge was the most important thing to helping women breastfeed.
She said reconnecting women to breastfeeding knowledge so they could feel empowered, and including their men in the journey was important.
Ms Robertson has recently started as the Lactation Consultant for Taupo Turangi, working two days a week in the maternity unit and in the community. She will have a clinic in Taupo and Turangi one day each week, along with home visiting and seeing patients at the Taupo Maternity Unit.