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Breastfeeding support

Giving your baby the best start in life

The World Health Organization recommends that babies are only fed breastmilk for their first six months of life. Many studies have shown that breastmilk promotes brain development and protects the infant against diseases.

Breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learned - by you and your baby. Some women experience no problems at all; others need advice and support to get started and continue feeding. Certain things can help get you off to a great start, such as a drug-free birth and skin-to-skin contact for at least 60 minutes immediately after your baby arrives (your first breastfeed happens during this time). 

Breastfeeding classes

If you are over 28 weeks pregnant, you can get the best headstart by learning about breastfeeding before your baby arrives. This is a FREE, one-off two-hour breastfeeding class for all pregnant women from 28 weeks, facilitated by lactation consultants.  This may be your first pregnancy or you may have had breastfeeding problems with your last baby and want more information and help.  The session covers:

  • The 'normal' course of breastfeeding
  • What to expect in the early weeks after your baby is born
  • How to access breastfeeding help when problems occur

Support people are welcome, bookings are essential. To book, check out the antenatal class booking page ()and scroll down to the Community Breastfeeding section.

To find out more, email

Lactation Consultants

While in our care, breastfeeding is encouraged and fully supported on the wards. We have lactation consultants (breastfeeding experts) who can help you with any complex issues. Having the practical and emotional support of your partner, whānau (family) and friends is also important.

How will I be supported at home?

When you are home, you'll get support from your visiting midwife. If or when you return to work, you are entitled by law to a safe place in your workplace to breastfeed or express milk.

If you find yourself experiencing any breastfeeding issues or difficulties, speak to your lead maternity carer (LMC). If necessary, they can refer you to the community lactation consultant who deals with complex cases.

If you need more support for breastfeeding, take a look at these support service directories:

Feeding your baby

Feed your baby responsively, both day and night, at least 8 to 12 times in 24-hours.

If you are having difficulty breastfeeding, please contact your LMC. You can watch some videos on positioning and latching they are in your “Beginner guide to breastfeeding” flip chart.

Please download the free Mama Aroha app.
If your breasts feel full, this is normal in the first few weeks and will settle over time. You can use ice packs as needed for 10 minutes. Hand expressing first can help baby get a deeper latch.

If you are expressing for your baby to increase your milk supply, once its increased and baby is feeding well, cut down expressing slowly over a few days. Don’t stop suddenly.

Please ensure you know:

  • How to hand express.
  • Milk storage times. 4 hours out of fridge, 2 days in fridge, 4-6 months in freezer.
  • Where to get breastfeeding help. The first place is your LMC.=


If your breasts have sore, red lumps, are warm to touch, and you feel unwell or hot and cold, we don’t recommend pumping to drain anymore or massaging your breasts this can make things worse. Breastfeed your baby responsively as normal and call your LMC. Icepacks and ibuprofen can help. See our mastitis pamphlet for more information.

Find out more here. [PDF, 429 KB]


National Women's Health is BFHI Accredited

The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is an international accreditation process monitored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.



Have questions when it comes to breastfeeding?

Visit our breastfeeding page for a list of frequently asked questions, useful websites, and helplines.