May 7, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori breastfeeding practices under spotlight (FullText)

1 min read

The baby formula industry has been likened to the tobacco industry, for its serious effects on Maori health in a new book co-authored by a University of Auckland academic.

Dr Marewa Glover (Ngapuhi) from the Universitys School of Population Health contributed a chapter on Maori breastfeeding in a new resource book for researchers and health practitioners Infant feeding practice: A cross-cultural perspective.

Dr Glover says the practice of breastfeeding has undergone a huge ideological shift since colonisation, resulting in fewer Maori women breastfeeding.

The actual contribution of the artificial baby milk industry to Maori babies having the lowest rates of breastfeeding in New Zealand has yet to be studied, but traditional Maori infant care practices have been lost as the benefits of western and modern practices have been sold to M?ori mothers, said Dr Glover.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates are higher and have been known to be higher for some decades, bedsharing and its attendant risks are more frequently seen for Maori, yet the knowledge and practice of Maori traditions by contemporary Maori mothers is poor.

Dr Glovers chapter looks at the growth of the baby formula industry in New Zealand, the destruction of Maori traditions, influences which divert Maori women from breastfeeding, and smoking as a significant barrier to breastfeeding.

The book also includes chapters from health experts in Asia, Africa, Europe, the US and the UK. It is currently available online.

2 thoughts on “Maori breastfeeding practices under spotlight (FullText)

  1. Kia ora whanau – yes I'm a proud breastfeeder myself but also experienced the challenges knocking me back, so my first baby only got a two week effort from me before gave up. I didn't fully understand that the challenges were a normal part of getting things established.

    It would be great to hear your different stories and experiences also on the Breatsfeeding NZ facebook page – particularly seeking our Maori whanau input for anyone who would care to join:
    Kia ora Dr Marewa Glover for all your outstanding mahi for our Maori whanau in particular. You are always looking to fill the big gaps in information that pertain to Maori health outcomes.

  2. Ae as a fulltime breastfeeding mum on demand is standard,Iwould like to say that being raised by my nana n papa iwas fed both as my mother was quite young but lived at home with us and breastfed when she could.Which leads me to an opinion about our maori women being lowest statistically to brstfeed?My nana had 17 chidren 15 of which were fed on cows milk non pasteurised?Is formula another money making venture with little or no real substantiated benefits?we all know what the ads say they contain but no actual preoven research available to public.As for our young mothers who do not practice traditional maori practices?…Please if these things are taught we must remember we live in a time where our men hold no consequence for the babies they make n leave behind for the next partner and of course our parents who are so busy working to pay mortgages and still be mothers nanas,we must take responsibility for why these practices are not happening.Breastfeeding of course is best…please consider the 16 year old on your street who has a baby whom nana may have 3 days a week(bottlefed)so that her daughter may have some time to herself to perhaps be a teenager?Ihope i havent strayed too far from subject thanks

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