Centralised database resource for midwives

Provider knowledge gaps can be potent barriers to the timely and appropriate access to healthcare services for whānau. 

Because of this, New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) Canterbury West Coast Breastfeeding Representative Catherine Rietveld had a vision: to bring together a vast array of breastfeeding knowledge, sitting within various community and DHB organisations, into a centralised database resource for Midwives. 

The result of Catherine and the NZCOM Breastfeeding Focus Group’s work is the Waitaha Infant Feeding Resource. This new electronic resource aims to help lead maternity carer and core midwives access appropriate breastfeeding education, advice and support services for women and whānau in their care. 

The resource can also be accessed by other members of the community. 

The NZCOM Breastfeeding Focus Group included representatives from a wide variety of organisations and perspectives including Māori, Pasifika, CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) and LGBTQIA+ who are currently involved in breastfeeding support. 

Many of these people are also part of the Canterbury Breastfeeding Steering group, a cross-sector group which collaboratively provides leadership to improve local breastfeeding rates. Development of the resource was an action on the workplan of this group which is informed by the Ministry of Health’s Breastfeeding Strategy. 

Three key principles were identified in the development of this resource including:

Manaakitanga- Discuss with whānau how they plan to feed their pēpi in a sensitive and respectful manner.

Kaitiakitanga- Midwifery care is tailored to meet the needs of the whānau once an intended feeding method is established.

Whānaungatanga- Midwives have an obligation to provide evidence-based and culturally appropriate information about infant feeding. 

The Waitaha Infant Feeding Resource was launched on 2 August 2021 at NZCOM House in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, an annual event that highlights the  importance of breastfeeding to the health and welfare of mama, pēpi and whānau. 

It is intended to be a “living” resource with an on-going review of links and resources. 

The link can be accessed here.

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