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New campaign launched to improve breastfeeding

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health
Hon Steve Chadwick
Associate Minister of Health

28 July 2008 Media Statement
New campaign launched to improve breastfeeding

Associate Health Ministers Damien O’Connor and Steve Chadwick today welcomed a new social marketing campaign aimed at ensuring more New Zealand babies are breastfed.

“The campaign aims to improve practical, emotional and information support for breastfeeding-women and encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies to six months, and continue partial breastfeeding beyond that,” Steve Chadwick said.

“We hope that this campaign will not only improve breastfeeding rates, but improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce obesity amongst New Zealanders,” Damien O'Connor said.

"There's a strong link between breastfeeding and HEHA. Breastfeeding is important for babies' growth, development and health. It provides optimum nutrition, assists physical and emotional development, protects against infectious disease, and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity. It is also important for the mother's health.”

The campaign begins today and will specifically focus on Maori and Pacific people, as Māori and Pacific breastfeeding rates are lower compared with other ethnicities. The two-phase campaign, including television, radio and print advertising, will initially focus on encouraging family and friends to support mothers, and then aims to promote supportive environments for breastfeeding.

"Many New Zealand babies are not breastfed for the recommended length of time. Our breastfeeding rates at birth are consistent with other OECD countries, but rates are low at six weeks, especially among Maori and Pacific women,” Steve Chadwick said.

“By better supporting breastfeeding-women, we can increase the numbers of breastfed babies. Breastfeeding is different for every mother but it can be challenging and it needs to be learned. Women need both practical and emotional support from their partners, whanau and friends so they feel able to start breastfeeding, and persevere.

“This government is committed to improving breastfeeding rates and giving more New Zealand children the best start in life. This initiative follows the launch of the National Strategic Plan of Action for Breastfeeding in March and builds on other work, including the flexible working arrangements legislation and the Employment Relations (Breaks and Infant Feeding) Amendment Bill which support Kiwi parents to balance their work and caring roles.”


ENDS

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