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More Social Acceptance Needed for Breastfeeding

More Social Acceptance Needed for Breastfeeding

A return to an acceptance that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed babies is absolutely key to further increasing breastfeeding rates in New Zealand.

New Zealand College of Midwives spokeswoman, Norma Campbell says putting breastfeeding back on the pedestal it deserves is something society as a whole must promote.

“Understanding that breastfeeding is the normal and perfectly acceptable way to feed a baby for at least six months is something we all must need to work on as well as providing support for new mothers to do the very best they can with their breastfeeding,” she says.

Norma Campbell says increasing breastfeeding rates has wider, positive implications for society as a whole.

“Obesity and diabetes are at epidemic levels in New Zealand and breastfeeding would improve those figures and the health of our children and young adults,” she says.

The positive outcomes related to breastfeeding not only encompass nutrition and health, but also nurturing and bonding between mother and baby. Norma Campbell says breastfeeding must become the accepted lifestyle choice of new mothers and viewed as positive by the wider society not just something you ‘give a shot’.

“We are a quick and instant society. We want things immediately and time seems to be in short supply for many important things in life. Breastfeeding takes time. The rewards, though, are numerous. This is a really important time for nurturing and bonding. New mothers should remember, their body has nurtured the baby before it was born and it’s important that it is their milk that continues to grow that baby and help it thrive. It’s all, nutritionally, the baby needs and that’s pretty amazing when you think about it.”

One of the key roles of midwives is to provide breastfeeding support which starts off by encouraging skin-to-skin contact within 30 minutes after a birth.

“That first contact forms an imprint, a mental and physiological reference for the newborn,” says Norma Campbell. “That first feed, that little mouth looking for milk can be the start of a wonderful experience.”

Norma Campbell says we have done well in New Zealand over the last few years with breastfeeding rates on the rise but we still have some way to go.

World Breastfeeding Awareness Week runs from 1-7 August, 2006.


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