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What’s Better Than Breastfeeding?

27 July 2005

What’s Better Than Breastfeeding?

On the eve of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), Plunket admits there is one thing better than breastfeeding. What is that? Breastfeeding for longer.
Plunket joins the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in urging families who are breastfeeding to carry on exclusively breastfeeding up to 6 months and then to keep breastfeeding after other foods are introduced to baby’s diet.

“Most of the world’s women breastfeed - and no wonder! The fact is, there is nothing better for baby’s physical and emotional health,” says Trish Jackson-Potter, Plunket Clinical Advisor. “The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more benefits her baby will enjoy.”

The impressive list of benefits includes reduced risk of the child getting colds, coughs, chicken pox, measles, eczema, asthma, stomach problems, ear problems, and some respiratory conditions.

”Breast milk is free, always the right temperature and is there on demand,” Mrs. Jackson-Potter continues. ”During growth spurts – at around 2, 4, 6, and 12 weeks - infants will want more breast milk and breasts are designed to respond to this need,” she explains. “The more a child breastfeeds, the more milk is produced.”

”Once solids are introduced - around six months of age – it’s good for parents to continue to give breast milk first to ensure babies get the milk they need. Cooked and pureed fruits or vegetables, and age appropriate baby foods or iron fortified infant cereals then should be introduced one at a time and in small amounts. Plunket, other well-child providers, and your child’s doctor can give more detailed advice if needed.”

Plunket is hopeful that breastfeeding for longer will be encouraged by new guidelines around breastfeeding in the workplace. The guidelines, written by the Department of Labour are to be released soon; they explain the need for breastfeeding breaks and aim to support women to comfortably breastfeed at work.

“Plunket is delighted that these guidelines have been developed,” Trish says with enthusiasm. ”At the end of parental leave, a woman’s return to work has often meant families resort to formula feeding and cut breastfeeding short. But with greater support from co-workers, employers and society in general, breastfeeding can continue well beyond a year – as long as the mother wishes.”


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