Stefanie Kalmakoff has been a midwife for 18 years, and currently works as a Lactation Specialist at Otago District Health Board. Her role assists mothers and babies to establish breastfeeding. She is also charged with providing education to staff, midwifery students and medical students teaching them about this important function and relationship.
As a graduate of the Bachelor of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic in the 1990’s and a local Otago resident, doing her master’s here just “seemed to make sense” but the real impetus to start the qualification didn’t occur until Stefanie watched her son playing computer games for hours. She recalls telling him that if he had enough time to play computer games then he could be doing something more productive like furthering his education. She then thought, “I better follow my own advice and set an example”.
It’s a decision that she hasn’t regretted. She describes the Master of Midwifery as a “really good programme” and perfect for midwives who have some “burning questions about midwifery practice that they want to research and find answers to”. Stefanie herself investigated the predictors of formula supplementation of breast-fed babies and found several significant links including high maternal Body Mass Index index, use of postpartum utero-tonics and a short duration of skin-to-skin contact after birth.
“I would encourage other midwives to pursue this qualification. You learn a lot along the way. Finishing it really gives you something to be proud of.”