Predictors of Breastfeeding Duration in a Predominantly Māori Population in New Zealand

Recently published research in the BMC Paediatrics 201818:299 by authors Manhire et al. concludes that breastfeeding duration of mainly Māori women was shorter than the national average. Increasing the duration of breastfeeding by these mothers could be further facilitated by ante and postnatal education involving their own mothers and their partners in the support of breastfeeding and by addressing pacifier use, smoking and alcohol use. This research was conducted to identify the barriers and motivators of breastfeeding in this predominantly Māori community in the Hawke’s Bay.

Link to the full article here

Jane Cartwright, executive director from the New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA) confirms that this research backs up our lived experience and is important to recognise that most babies born in NZ today are Māori, Pacific or from culturally and linguistic diverse communities.

‘Our work shows that initiation of breastfeeding for Māori mothers and babies is high however Māori do not sustain these rates of breastfeeding’ says Jane. For more details on breastfeeding rates link here.

NZBA are working with the University of Otago, Wellington on research exploring breastfeeding experience and policy in NZ. This research will over sample responses from Māori in an effort to further identify ways to improve the continuation of breastfeeding. If you would like to know more about this research email amanda.kvalsvig@otago.ac.nz.

On a positive note it is encouraging to see the MoH is progressing with urgency an updated Breastfeeding Strategy (2010) and this has a focus on equity and child wellbeing. ‘We are expecting more detail about this any day’ says Jane.

Article written by Alison Pask, September 2018