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World Breastfeeding Week, 1 – 7 August 2017


World Breastfeeding Week, 1 – 7 August 2017

Southland is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The theme for World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together”, which highlights we all need to work together so mothers can breastfeed. A breastfeeding mother and baby needs support from many areas including her family, employer, health professionals, community groups, cafes, shops, childcare and church to breastfeed successfully.

Breastfeeding has numerous short and long term benefits for both children and women. Breastmilk is all a baby needs to eat and drink for the first six months of their life. According to the Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, breastfeeding contributes to a “healthier, better educated, more equitable, and more environmentally sustainable” world.

The Southland Breastfeeding Group, made up of community representatives and health professionals are busy organising for the week. “The Southland Breastfeeding Advocacy Group will use World Breastfeeding Week 2017 to highlight the need to promote and normalise breastfeeding in our communities,” according to Bridget Rodgers group member and WellSouth Health Promotion Specialist.

The highlight of the week is The Big Latch On event, where mothers breastfeed together at the same time. It also provides the opportunity for women to make new friends, become more confident to breastfeed and address common barriers to breastfeeding continuation. One of the leading reasons for stopping breastfeeding is a lack of support. “Our group wants to ensure that Southland mums are aware of local breastfeeding support options right from birth. Many mums struggle, so we want them accessing this support for them to sustain breastfeeding for longer” comments Kathleen Eade, group member and Public Health South Health Promoter. Workplaces adopting breastfeeding policies for returning breastfeeding employees also assists with the longevity of breastfeeding.

Lisa Dewhurst, of La Leche League comments “We hold monthly meetings where we discuss breastfeeding topics and have the opportunity to listen to challenges that mums may have and provide support which can be invaluable for the continuation of breastfeeding”.

In Invercargill, the Big Latch On is taking place on Friday 4th August at 10.00am at the Cheeky Llama Café in Queens Park. There will be morning tea, spot prizes and an opportunity to chat and gather information from the various community breastfeeding support services. Additionally there are events happening in Te Anau and for the newest mums at Southland Hospital Maternity ward.

For more information about breastfeeding and the support available go to: www.breastfeedingsos.co.nz. or www.lalecheleague.org.nz/

World Breastfeeding week celebrations:
Big Latch On Invercargill, Friday 4th August, 10.00am at Cheeky Llama Cafe, Queens Park.
Big Latch On Te Anau, Friday 4th August, 10.00am at the Presbyterian Church on the lakefront
Big Latch On Southland Maternity, Friday 4th August, at Southland Hospital Maternity.

Can’t make it, but still want to be part of the Big Latch On? Take a ‘selfie’ - check it out on www.facebook.com/BigLatchOnNZ.

Key messages:
- World Breastfeeding Week, the 1st – 7th August, celebrates and normalises breastfeeding.
- The Big Latch On is a Global Event where mothers breastfeed around the world at the same time.
- Breastfeeding is key to developing a sustainable world, cutting across health, education, commerce and trade and social service sectors.
- In light of the ongoing debate about growing obesity rates in New Zealand, it’s internationally recognised that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is a significant factor in reducing the risk of obesity.

Breastfeeding – some key facts:
- Breastfeeding lays the foundation of a healthy life for a baby, and the health and wellbeing of breastfeeding women too.
- Breast milk is all a baby needs to eat and drink for the first six months of their life.
- For some women breastfeeding can be a struggle, especially if they do not have good support systems.
- Research highlights that a significant barrier to breastfeeding is women not feeling supported by their family, friends, and wider community, to breastfeed.

Achieving the Sustainable development goals:
In September 2015, the world's leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Together, they form the Sustainable Development Goals, to be achieved by 2030.

Breastfeeding is a key component of sustainable development:
• #1 End Poverty. Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children. It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budgets compared to artificial feeding.
• #2 Zero Hunger. Exclusive and then continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond provides high quality nutrients and adequate energy and can help prevent hunger, under nutrition and obesity. Breastfeeding means food security for infants.
• #3 Good Health and Wellbeing. Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and survival of infants and children. It also contributes to improved health and wellbeing of mothers, both in the short and long term.
• #4 Quality Education. Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding significantly contribute to mental and cognitive development. They are fundamentals for readiness to learn.
• #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth. Employers can enable women to combine breastfeeding and working life through appropriate workplace policies. This flexibility produces happy and loyal employees in the long-term.

• #10 Reduced Inequalities. Breastfeeding needs to be protected, promoted and supported among all, but particularly among poor and vulnerable groups. In New Zealand this means Maori, Pacific and other minority populations.

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