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New campaign to boost rates of breastfeeding

1 February 2008 Media Statement

New campaign to boost rates of breastfeeding

Associate Health Minister Steve Chadwick is today highlighting a new campaign to raise the level of breastfeeding in New Zealand at a visit to the Baby Café in Hastings.

The social marketing campaign, which will be launched later this year, is designed to target the wider families of breastfeeding mums to encourage them to help support breastfeeding.

The Labour-led government is supporting this campaign, which will particularly target Maori and Pacific families and will include a series of advertisements on television, radio and in newspapers.

Steve Chadwick will today meet the breastfeeding consultants who provide advice at the Baby Café in Hastings, as well as hearing the views of some of the mothers.

“I’m delighted to be able to find out first-hand some of the challenges mothers are facing when it comes to breastfeeding, to help decide how the Labour-led government can better encourage more mothers to breast feed for longer.

“Breastfeeding is vitally important to improve babies’ nutrition, growth and development, to reduce obesity and it helps babies to fight infectious disease. Breastfeeding is also important for the health of mothers.

“The social marketing campaign is part of the wider National Breastfeeding Promotion Campaign to improve New Zealand’s breastfeeding rates.”

The rates in 2006 were 66 per cent at six weeks, 55 per cent at three months and 25 per cent at six months, and the target is to raise that to 74 per cent at six weeks, 57 per cent at three months and 27 per cent at six months.

“This year, all District Health Boards will have to come up with individual action plans to increase rates in their region, and the Baby Café is an ideal example of how to contribute to that.”

The Baby Café is an independent health service supported by the Hawkes Bay District Health Board. It provides free breastfeeding advice and support from fully qualified consultants. It is originally a UK-concept and the Hastings Baby Café is the first one established outside the UK.

Steve Chadwick says this year will also see the National Strategic Plan of Action on Breastfeeding made available to the public by the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee.

ends

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