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Ministry of Health Breastfeeding Campaign Launched

Media Release

28 July 2008

Ministry of Health Breastfeeding Campaign Launched

Families and whānau are being encouraged to support mums to breastfeed, in a campaign launched by the Ministry of Health today.

The breastfeeding social marketing campaign includes television and radio commercials and print advertising. Its launch comes just before the start of World Breastfeeding Week which runs from 1 to 7 August.

The campaign has messages for the family/whānau and close friends of breastfeeding mums. Research has shown that these are the people who most influence whether a mother breastfeeds and for how long.

Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General Sector Capability and Innovation Margie Apa says many New Zealand babies are not breastfed for the recommended length of time – to around six months exclusively, and beyond in combination with other foods.

"Although New Zealand has breastfeeding rates that are consistent with other OECD countries, rates are low at six weeks, especially among Maori and Pacific women.

"The number of women breastfeeding their babies exclusively – without also giving them water, formula or solids – drops sharply in the first six weeks after birth and then continues to decline as feeding with formula and solids becomes more common."

The campaign goal is to increase the proportion of babies being exclusively breastfed to six months and the proportion of infants breastfed beyond six months, by increasing support given to breastfeeding women.

Margie Apa says research carried out before the campaign was developed, including focus groups with mums with babies and their partners and family, identified a number of barriers to breastfeeding.

"These barriers included a lack of breastfeeding support and information, mothers returning to paid work and finding it hard to continue breastfeeding, and negative attitudes to breastfeeding from the general public and family members. Teenage parents, Mâori, Pacific peoples, new migrants, and people on low income are more affected by these barriers.

“The new campaign acknowledges that breastfeeding may not be easy for everyone, but continuing to breastfeed is definitely worth it – for mum and baby.”

She says key organisations that protect, promote and support breastfeeding also had input into the development of the campaign.

The campaign will have two phases. Phase one being launched today, will focus on encouraging partners, family/whânau and friends to support mothers to breastfeed.

Phase two aims to build 'environmental' support for breastfeeding – that is it encourages support for breastfeeding in settings outside the home. This phase will include work with hospitality venues, councils, employers, early childhood education services, marae, churches and shopping centre management.

"The aim is to increase the perception of breastfeeding as a normal and usual part of everyday life – anywhere, any time, any place."

ENDS


Television Commercial Key Numbers:

BFG/030/001 Expectations
BFG/030/004 Why Breast is Best
BFG/015/002 Dancing Princesses
BFG/015/003 Help Around the House
BFG/015/005 Burpdaddy
BFG/015/006 Getting Enough


For more information:
www.breastfeeding.org.nz

--

Questions and Answers for the National Breastfeeding Social Marketing Campaign

Why do we need a new campaign?

Although New Zealand has breastfeeding rates that are consistent with other OECD countries, the number of women breastfeeding at six weeks is low, especially among Mâori and Pacific women. The breastfeeding rates continue to drop after six weeks.

The campaign aims to increase these rates by providing messages about how important breastfeeding is, and about how important it is for family/whânau and friends to encourage and support mums to breastfeed.

What are the campaign goals and objectives?

The campaign goal is to increase the number of babies being exclusively breastfed to six months (that is, not also being given water, formula or solids), and the number partially breastfed beyond six months, by increasing support given to breastfeeding women.

The campaign is aimed specifically for Mâori and Pacific peoples.

The campaign aims to increase the number of women breastfeeding at:

• six weeks to 74 percent or greater
· three months to 57 percent or greater
· six months to 27 percent or greater.

The campaign's objectives are to:

• increase tangible support to aid mothers to breastfeed (for example, helping around the house or looking after other children so mum can breastfeed)
• increase emotional support to aid mothers to breastfeed (for example, encouraging her to carry on, even if it isn’t easy at first)
• increase informational support to aid mothers to breastfeed (for example, posters in English, Te Reo and Pacific languages are to be developed; other informational resources; website).

What research was carried out before the campaign was developed?

In 2007 the Ministry of Health commissioned some research on ways breastfeeding could be supported.

The research highlighted a number of barriers to breastfeeding, including:

· a lack of breastfeeding education and support
· returning to paid work
· low awareness of common problems and solutions
· many women do not have access to appropriate help for overcoming breastfeeding problems when they need it
· pain and exhaustion are common reasons for introducing formula
· supplementation of breastfeeding with formula is common at all stages and partly accounts for differences in exclusive breastfeeding rates between different population groups
· negative attitudes towards breastfeeding from the general public or family members can be a barrier to breastfeeding in public places, community or family settings.

The research also found that these barriers can be greater for teenage parents, Mâori, Pacific peoples, new migrants, and people on low incomes.

As well as this research, a series of hui and fono were held around the country by the advertising and communications company developing and delivering the campaign – GSL Network. From these, a number of other issues and concerns were identified.

One of the key findings from the research, the hui and the fono was how important support and encouragement from whânau and friends is for mum to start and keep breastfeeding.

Key organisations that protect, promote and support breastfeeding also had input into the development of the campaign

Who is the campaign's audience?

The campaign will focus on partners, family/whânau and friends of mothers who have young babies. It is positive and supportive in tone, encouraging these mothers to breastfeed their babies.

Messages will include the importance of breastfeeding to mum and baby; providing encouragement to mum not to give up – that breastfeeding is not always easy, but it's worth persevering; and providing tips on how to support mothers to breastfeed, such as helping around the house.

What are the campaign’s key messages?

Breastfeeding plays an important part in the health and wellbeing of babies, mothers and whânau/families. Breastfeeding gives our children the very best start in life, yet some New Zealand babies are not breastfed or only breastfed for a short time.

For baby

· Breastfed babies are less likely to have tummy upsets, respiratory infections and ear infections – or if they do get these illnesses, they may be less serious.
· Breastfeeding decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
· It helps baby grow and develop physically and emotionally.
· Breastmilk is easily digested and provides the best nutrition for baby. It is always fresh and immediately available.
· Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in baby’s later life.

For mum

· It reduces the risk of breast cancer.
· It may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and hip fracture later in life.
· Breastfeeding may help with losing the weight gained during pregnancy.

Tips for supporters

Breastfeeding can be challenging, and it can be tiring. Support from partners, family and friends can really help.

There are many things family and friends can do to support mums to breastfeed.

· Offer to help with other children – read them a story or play with them.
· Help around the house – do the dishes, or the grocery shopping. Hang out the washing, do some cleaning or make the school lunches.
· If mum is finding breastfeeding hard going, encourage her to keep it up. Breastfeeding may not be easy for every mum at first, but it’s worth persevering!!
· Reassure mum that plenty of wet nappies is one of the signs that baby is getting enough milk.
· Bonding through breastfeeding with baby is really important for mum.
· Other family members can enjoy bonding too. Cuddle and soothe baby. This will help mum to breastfeed successfully because she is getting the rest she needs.
· And remember, dads need to take time out to bond with baby too! Why not have a bath or shower with baby, burp him or her after a feed, and don’t forget to help with nappy changing!

What does the campaign consist of?

The campaign includes six television commercials, and print and radio advertising. It is supported by a public relations campaign aimed at gaining coverage in other media, for example telling the stories of mums who did not find breastfeeding easy but are glad they persevered.

The campaign has two phases. Phase one, which is currently underway, focuses on encouraging partners, family/whânau and friends to support mums to breastfeed.

Phase two encourages environmental support for breastfeeding in settings outside the home. This phase will include work with hospitality venues, councils, employers, early childhood education services, marae, churches and shopping centre management. The aim is to increase the perception of breastfeeding as a normal and usual part of everyday life – anywhere, any time, any place.

Where can I see the campaign?

The campaign commercials can be seen on TV One, TV Two, Prime, TV3 and Mâori Television. Advertisements will also be played on iwi radio stations and Nui FM radio network. Written information about the campaign will be in Mana Magazine, Tu Mai, and Spasifik.

The public relations part of the campaign focuses on working with media to encourage as much unpaid media coverage of campaign key messages as possible. For example, having discussions about breastfeeding on talkback shows, and in news items.

How will the campaign's success be evaluated?

Research New Zealand is monitoring and evaluating the campaign. Benchmark research was completed before the campaign began, and further monitoring will be completed six months after the campaign starts, with additional monitoring 12 months after this. This will enable the Ministry of Health to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

Who has been involved in the development of the campaign?

The campaign has been developed by the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating Healthy Action Team, and the Nutrition and Physical Activity Policy Team. The advertising agency that produced the advertisements and assisted with public relations is GSL Network.

ENDS

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