Breast Milk & Breastfeeding
WHY IS BREAST MILK SO VITAL?
Breast milk is the perfect food for babies because:
- it’s all that a pēpi needs to eat and drink for about the first 6 months.
- it helps to protect a pēpi against colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies.
- it also helps to protect a pēpi from SUDI.
WHO, UNICEF and NZ MoH all recommend:
early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth;
exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life; and
introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
For the first 6 months of life, the most suitable food for a baby is breast milk alone. A mother's own milk, even in the tiniest quantities, is usually the best food for her baby. The World Health Organisation recommends the use of donor human milk as the feeding of choice, if mother’s own milk is insufficient, unavailable or unsuitable for consumption.
Whāngai Ora Milk Bank was established to collect and distribute safe donor milk for such occasions. The milk is screened, pasteurised and tested to make it the safest option of all the supplements alternative to a mother's own milk.