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Kiwis urged to go for Breastfeeding Gold

22 July 2004

Kiwis urged to go for Breastfeeding Gold

Gold medals are top of mind for sportspeople heading off to Athens, but Plunket is urging Kiwis to go for a 'Breastfeeding gold'.

The international theme of this year's World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), is Breastfeeding is the Gold Standard: safe, sound and sustainable.

"Taking up and continuing with breastfeeding puts our children on a winning track right from the start. No alternative provides such ideal nourishment for infants," says Angela Baldwin, Plunket's General Manager of Clinical Services.

"Breastmilk includes all the nutrients, antibodies, hormones, immune factors and antioxidants an infant needs to thrive. It also stimulates their immune systems and protects them from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

"In addition, the touch, nurturing and eye contact involved helps babies develop emotionally and intellectually. This has been shown to mean better performance in school and socially.

"Latest figures released by Plunket show that while most babies are breastfed as new borns, by three months 30 percent of them are receiving no breastmilk. Women generally find there are challenges around continuing to breastfeed but, for the most part, find little support in overcoming these challenges.

"To really go for gold all of society has to back mothers and show them the support and commitment they need to be able to carry on breastfeeding through to the child's first birthday. Going the distance requires that employers, family, friends and partners, policy makers and the community in general are all part of a winning effort. Teams aren't one player," says Angela Baldwin.

ENDS

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