Whanganui midwives are hoping to see a good turn out for this year's Big Latch-on breastfeeding event.

Breastfeeding mothers throughout the district are invited to meet up at the Davis Central Library on Friday to celebrate the event, which is being held during national Breastfeeding Week from August 1-7.

Whanganui District Health Board midwife Angela Adam hopes to see a good number of women at the event, which starts at 9.30am.

She said it was important to understand successful breastfeeding required support from family, friends, and the community.


"Most Whanganui mothers start breastfeeding after birth, but sadly, the overall time they spend breastfeeding is short, so our challenge is to encourage mothers to view breastfeeding as the cultural norm in our region," she said.

World Breastfeeding Week will also support the Women's Network initiative of volunteer mother-led breastfeeding support.

There will be funding to train a La Leche League peer leader, and to develop a regular and sustainable mother-led breastfeeding group for the region.

"This project is to help mothers learn to breastfeed their babies, to encourage good mothering through breastfeeding, and to promote better understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects."

The funding was secured following an application made to the health board Maternity Quality and Safety Programme, which signalled in April the need for community-led initiatives focused on improving health literacy and healthy lifestyle behaviours in pregnancy and early parenthood, accessibility of maternity services, and supporting a breastfeeding culture.

On the first Friday of every month, mothers can join in the breastfeeding support group from 10am-12pm for a "cuppa and a chat". Expectant mothers are also welcome.

The support group is at the Ladies Rest Building next to the Royal Opera House, at 75 St Hill St.

For more information or support, phone Jacqueline on 021 135 9948.

Did you know:
- In the Whanganui district, 95 per cent of babies are breastfed at birth.
- Eighty-nine per cent have only had breastmilk when they leave hospital and 81 per cent are still receiving breastmilk at six weeks old.
- Fifty per cent of babies are exclusively/fully breastfed at three months old.
- Only one in every two babies are receiving any breastmilk at six months.