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Greens Support Breastfeeding Women's Rights

The Green Party supports the call of breastfeeding organisations to employers to provide facilities in the workplace to enable working mothers to feed their babies under appropriate conditions.

The demand is part of a global campaign to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding as a part of fundamental mother's and children's rights. World Breastfeeding Week starts today in more than 120 countries all over the world, including New Zealand.

"While the breastfeeding decision is clearly up to the mother, there are a number of things that the Government and employers should do to protect, promote and support the right to breastfeed", said MP Sue Bradford, Green Party spokesperson on Labour and Childrens' Issues.

Ms Bradford said that New Zealand should bring itself into line with the ILO Maternity Protection Convention. Employers should provide: flexible work hours for mothers returning to work, including breastfeeding breaks, facilities for mothers to breastfeed or express and store milk, and satisfactory conditions for nursing babies while the mothers are at work.

"Every woman has a right to breastfeed her child, including women employed in the paid workforce", said Ms Bradford, mother of five. "I breastfed all my children, including twins, and I know how hard it is to cope when you don't have time, space or privacy to give babies a proper feed. If you are running back and forth to work there is little chance of sustaining breastfeeding past a few weeks," she said.

'I've also been concerned by Plunket figures which show that breastfeeding rates in this country are trending downwards at a time when we are all anxious over high child illness and mortality rates."

The recent review by WHO concluded that exclusive breastfeeding to six months of age confers many benefits on the infant and the mother.

"Let's meet the world's standards and help breastfeeding mothers to have their work and feed their kids without tears," she said.

Ends


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