Isn't it strange how things from the past that worked really well, but were sidelined for more modern ways, have a habit of returning? Things like longer maternity stays and reusing instead of replacing or recycling.

In 1921 this country had the second highest maternal mortality rate in the western world.

According to the website Teara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, an investigation into the death rate of newborns found that "puerperal sepsis – blood poisoning caused by bacteria entering the uterus, often via hands or medical equipment during or after childbirth – was the main cause of maternal death. The infection had been known about in general terms as 'childbed fever' and feared long before this."

These days we know how vital hygiene is but what we seem to have forgotten is that rest and expertise help from midwives, nurses and doctors is still so important.


Like many of my generation I spent more than a week in the maternity wing of hospital with all of my four children.

Yes, by the time I had my fourth child I could have probably gone home earlier but I actually wanted some time alone with my baby before there were lots of little "helpers".

Today, mothers are "entitled" to just 48 hours of care but many are out the door well before them.

So I applaud National MP Louise Upston, who is expected to enter a ballot to change that to three days after giving birth.

Personally I still don't think that's enough, especially for new mums who have no one at home to help them.

I was lucky. Even after my stay in hospital my mother came and stayed with me for a week with my first two children.

It's not easy.

I can't imagine what it would be like to leave hospital after just two days with no family support.

I'm sure there are circumstances when mums are allowed to stay longer but it should be a given rather than having to ask.

Upston told One News that the reason she was pushing for the change was because "I didn't feel ready, and I didn't feel confident looking after my newborn and I don't want any other mum to feel that way."

Off course it will cost the Government more money to do this but it might just save money in other areas.

Confident mothers don't get stressed out as much — it could very well help with post natal depression.

It would be fantastic if they could go even further and identify those that need help and offer it to them while they are in the maternity home.

That could simply be more time spent on handling their baby, feeding, what to do if baby stops breathing, even basic things such as what to dress your baby in to suit the temperature both inside and out.

Simple, basic information that some new mothers don't know because they haven't had or don't have anyone to teach them.

 Linda Hall is Hawke's Bay Today's premium content editor.
Linda Hall is Hawke's Bay Today's premium content editor.

Imagine how much difference this would make in the baby's life.

Let's hope the amendment bill will be drawn from the ballot box — it's a start.

A victory already won this week is Foodstuffs allowing BYO containers in areas such as the bakery, butchery and deli.

That is fantastic news. However it will be totally up the customer to ensure their containers are clean. And fair enough. I'm sure supermarket staff are busy enough without having to wash dirty containers.

Imagine how much plastic that is going to save from the landfill. I was reminded by a text this week just how rare plastic used to be "when plastic bags were first used for food-carrying, they were so unique that they were washed then hung on clothes lines to dry before being re-used".

I remember my mother hanging plastic bags on the line. Mainly. I think, they were out of the freezer, washed, dried and used again.

That's the answer really isn't it — we have to think "reuse" rather than "recycle".

Funny how things done in the past are now being recycled in today's world.

* Linda Hall is Hawke's Bay Today's premium content editor.