April 14, 2021
Maori pre-term babies missing mother’s milk
A researcher from the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute is asking why Māori pre-term babies are less likely to transition to breast milk.
PhD student and paediatric dietician Tanith Alexander says mothers aim to feed their babies on breast milk rather than infant formula once they come off intravenous fluids.
But for 57 percent of Māori babies in the study that didn’t happen, compared to 70 percent of Pākehā babies.
Breast feeding has been linked to a range of health benefits, including decreased rates of sudden unexplained infant death, respiratory disease and childhood obesity.
It’s especially important for preterm babies, who have greater risks of health problems than children born after 37 weeks.
Ms Alexander says more study is needed to investigate the exact causes of these disparities, and there also need to be initiatives to support and encourage mothers to provide breast milk, with a specific focus on Māori mothers.
Alexander will detail her research tomorrow evening at 5:30pm at 'Survive to thrive: Feeding New Zealand’s preterm babies,’ a free public lecture and webinar, also featuring Professor Bloomfield and paediatric dietitian Dr Barbara Cormack.
Tickets for the event are available at: https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/survive-to-thrive-feeding-nzs-preterm-babies-better-tickets-145121932607
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