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World Breastfeeding Week begins w record attempt

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

1 August 2008 Media Statement

World Breastfeeding Week begins with record attempt

Associate Health Ministers Damien O’Connor and Steve Chadwick today gave their support to promote the breastfeeding ‘Big Latch On’ event, which aims to break the record for simultaneous breastfeeding and marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week.

“As a mother, grandmother and former midwife I am a passionate advocate for breastfeeding,” Steve Chadwick said.

“I’ll be supporting mothers and babies at the Plunket rooms in Rotorua today, and I encourage mothers all over New Zealand to go to their nearest Big Latch On venue and help break the breastfeeding record.

“Breastfeeding gives our children the very best start in life, and we want to see more New Zealand babies being breastfed, and breastfed for longer. World Breastfeeding Week provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.”

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated between 1-7 August each year and commemorates the Innocenti Declaration (1990) that committed to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Damien O’Connor said this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme – ‘mother support’ – is particularly fitting given the Ministry of Health’s breastfeeding social marketing campaign which was launched on Monday.

“Research shows that support from family, whanau and aiga has an enormous impact on whether mothers breastfeed and for how long. The new campaign acknowledges that breastfeeding may not be easy for every mother, but continuing to breastfeed is definitely worth it – for both mother and baby.

"There's a strong link between breastfeeding and Health Eating: Healthy Action (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.”

At last year’s Big Latch On, New Zealand recorded 937 women breastfeeding simultaneously. This year it is anticipated that 1000-plus mothers will be counted breaking the record, which has been broken annually since 2005.

For information about Big Latch On venues see www.womens-health.org.nz

ENDS

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