Carol Coetzee

Midwife and Lactation Consultant

‘I have been working with mums and their babies for many years now, previously in my role as an LMC and now as a core midwife.
Previously, when there was not such an emphasis placed on breastfeeding, and when mothers were having problems with breastfeeding, it was a common practice and not surprising, that formula was introduced a little too quickly. Perceptions have gradually changed and we became warier of introducing formula to babies who did not actually need it. (We stood united against the marketing ploys of companies with their clever baby formula marketing strategies and advertising tactics). Becoming recognized as a BFHI hospital helped immensely to change attitudes towards breastfeeding.

Breast milk, to my mind, is quite magic. The more I learn about it, the more amazed I become and the more I want to delve deeper into the exceptional qualities and properties of breast milk. Simply put, formula cannot ever mimic this renewable, living source of energy and sustenance, it's species-specific, age-targeted properties, (changes that meet the needs and requirements of growing babies), starting from colostrum, transitional milk, mature milk and finally the properties of breast milk in the weaning period. The perfect food for babies; this 'liquid gold' contains antibodies, enzymes, and white cells that protect baby from viral, bacterial and parasitic infections, boosts the immune system, providing a defence against common childhood illnesses, encouraging the growth of probiotics and good bacteria in the gut, and providing protection against food allergies and eczema. Breastfeeding prevents some cancers, supports brain development and improves IQ scores up to 7%, and breastfed babies are more equipped to deal with stressors later in life. The unique sucking pattern at the breast strengthens and supports oral-facial development and good dental development. Breastfeeding also prevents obesity and the risk of diabetes developing later in life. The benefits are endless, and scientists learning more and more about the powerful components and properties of breast milk.

So, armed with all this new knowledge, I set about providing a little more support and assistance in promoting new mothers to breastfeed, and more importantly, to continue to breastfeed their babies. I obtained my certificate to perform Frenotomy, (tongue-tie release), in 2011, and have been releasing tongue ties ever since, under the guidance of experienced lactation consultants, who in turn follow the referral pathways and guidelines of Hauora Tairawhiti. Tongue-tie release enables the baby whose frenulum is short or tight, (by its release), allows the tongue to 'cup' the nipple and breast tissue more effectively."

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