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Rejection of breastfeeding call fails mothers

4 August 2005

Govt rejection of breastfeeding call fails mothers and babies

It is horrifying that the Government has rejected the Health Select Committee's recommendation that breastfeeding mothers should be given greater legal protection, Deputy Chair of the Committee Sue Kedgley says.

"Frankly the Government's response to our call is pitiful," Ms Kedgley said. "All we are asking for is an amendment to the Human Rights Act so that it extends protection to breastfeeding mothers.

"I am shocked at the Government's refusal to take leadership on this issue, because the serious decline in breastfeeding rates in New Zealand is a major public health issue.

"It should be a national concern that only 23 percent of mothers now breastfeed their babies for the full four to six months recommended by the World Health Organisation. We know that breast milk is the ideal nutrition for babies and supports bonding and brain development.

So if we are serious about giving our children the best possible start in life, the Government should be doing everything in its power to increase breastfeeding rates, including offering breastfeeding mothers legal protection.

"The Green Party strongly supports the need for public education and proper breastfeeding support for all mothers, but this should be accompanied by legal protection."

Ms Kedgley says New Zealand is lagging behind other countries, such as Australia, the US and Scotland, which already have laws in place to protect breastfeeding.

ENDS

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