Chch mum told no food unless breastfeeding

A Christchurch woman is complaining she wasn't offered food while her infant was hospitalised - because she doesn't breastfeed.

Rangiora mum Rachel Cameron's four-month-old son spent last week in Christchurch Hospital with bronchiolitis.

Cameron said she had to stay with her son at all times because of how young he is. She was puzzled she was never offered any food.

But when she asked a nurse why, she claims she was told food was only for breastfeeding mothers - which Cameron believed is unfair.

Cameron said many mothers couldn't breastfeed for many reasons and they shouldn't be punished for it.

A Canterbury District Health Board spokesman said this was standard practice in many parts of New Zealand.

There was a duty of care to provide food for breastfeeding mothers as they are patients' main food source - and other parents could pay $5 to receive a meal too, he said.

Christchurch Hospital's policy is to provide breakfast and tea or coffee free for parents, and free meals on the ward for breastfeeding mothers if the baby is under 6 months old, according to the Canterbury DHB website.

Additional food and drinks can be purchased from the Christchurch Hospital facilities or vending machines. Hospital meals can be ordered and provided at $5 for parents who are unable to leave their child, the website says.


Ms Cameron, if I was in your situation my first step would be to approach the Human Rights Commission for advice and/or assistance.