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Kiwi Kids are mainly Breastfed Kids

Kiwi Kids are mainly Breastfed Kids

Breastfeeding is a popular choice for New Zealand mothers with 79 percent still breastfeeding their babies at six weeks of age. With around 52,000 children born each year in New Zealand, 41,080 babies are breastfed until they are six weeks old.

Angela Baldwin, Plunket's General Manager - Clinical Services, says the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society has kept national data on breastfeeding rates since 1922.

"In the late 1960's less than 50 percent of mothers were breastfeeding their babies at around six weeks of age. By 1993 that figure had risen to 79 percent and has remained constant over the last decade.

"By the time babies reach three months, the numbers drop slightly to 70 percent, with 36,400 babies still being breastfed."

According to Angela Baldwin, with the help and understanding of society in general that rate could easily rise.

"If the breastfeeding rate was to stay higher and for longer, children would continue to receive the health benefits from breastfeeding and mothers and children would also benefit through a reduced risk of many diseases.

"Research also indicates the bond or attachment between the mother and breastfeeding child helps to nurture a closeness and protectiveness towards the child which encourages the mother to put their child's well being first.

"As we acknowledge World Breastfeeding Week (1 - 7 August 2003), Plunket congratulates the hundreds of thousands of New Zealand mothers who have breastfed their babies over the years and the tens of thousands who are currently breastfeeding," said Angela Baldwin.

The Plunket website at offers more information on breastfeeding and other child health issues.

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