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Plunket On Side With Corrections On New Mothers

Plunket On Side With Corrections Support Of New Mothers

Plunket supports the Corrections Department's recommendation to allow babies under six months of age to live with their mothers in self-care units in prison.

The new policy states the self-care units will provide a safe and supportive environment for selected inmates to care for their young children. As they will be living together, the units will afford mothers the opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with their babies and to breastfeed.

Angela Baldwin, Plunket's general manager of clinical services, says from a positive parenting and a health perspective these units could be a good idea.

"Plunket is committed to the health of all New Zealand's children, no matter where they or their parents live.

"Supporting parents in their role is an essential part of achieving both short term and long term health benefits for children and that is what we see this initiative offering."

"It is an irrefutable fact that breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways in which a mother can contribute to the mental and physical health of her child as a baby. The benefits carry forward into later childhood and adult life.

"It is certainly a step in the right direction when an organisation like the Corrections Department recognises the importance of providing this opportunity to all mothers. Providing the means and the environment for mothers in prison to create a healthy bond with their new child must be applauded.

Angela Baldwin said that an ever-growing body of scientific evidence has clearly proven that a healthy attachment - a strong bond with a caregiver - during the earliest months of a newborn's life is crucial to the development of parts of the brain associated with healthy emotional development.

"Continuing to allow a prison sentence to separate young babies from their mothers effectively punishes the baby as well. The consequences of this can be life long, said Angela Baldwin."

ends

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