Dunedin Hospital has changed its policy on feeding mothers of sick babies and will not discriminate between those who breastfeed and those who do not.

Southern District Health Board deputy chief nursing and midwifery officer Tina Gilbertson said the "flawed" policy was changed last Friday when the board became aware of a problem.

A woman whose child was in the hospital's paediatric ward contacted media after becoming upset breastfeeding mothers were offered meals while others were not.

Ms Gilbertson said the policy, in place since about 2004, was a well-intentioned effort to support breastfeeding. To her knowledge, it was the first complaint the board had received.


"We got it wrong, we are remedying it and we apologise to any parents who may have been caused distress as a result of this policy," she said.

Ms Gilbertson said a wider policy review was now under way to update the board's policy on feeding parents of small children.