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International breastfeeding advocates to visit Wellington

Press Release

Immediate

International breastfeeding advocates to visit Wellington

One of the world’s leading breastfeeding advocates whose actions in the late 1950s lead to an increase in breastfeeding rates worldwide, arrives in Wellington next week.

Marian Tompson is one of two surviving Founders of the international breastfeeding support network La Leche League which started in Chicago in 1956.

She will be the keynote speaker at the opening of the La Leche League New Zealand Conference: Breastfeeding: Building a Legacy Te whangote: Hei Toanga Tukuiho at the Brentwood Hotel on Friday September 30th.

Marian, along with six friends, started the organisation to support local mums who wanted to breastfeed.

“Sixty years ago Marian and the other Founders of La Leche League were seen as radicals because they talked about exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. They were even accused of being selfish women who were harming their babies!” says La Leche League co-Director Lisa Manning.

“Since then the organisation has flourished around the world and Marian is still traveling and talking about the importance of mother-to-mother support. We are so fortunate to have her!” she adds.

The New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA), who implements and manages the UNICEF/World Health Organisation (WHO) Baby Friendly Initiative, said today that the League has created “a worldwide revolution.”

“Women receiving support from other women to breastfeed has been pivotal to the health of millions of children worldwide. The positive effects of breastfeeding on wider public health issues such as curbing disease and even obesity have been significant, and these efforts have continued for decades, albeit without the due recognition the League deserves,” NZBA’s Executive Director Julie Stufkens said.

Also speaking at the conference is the leading Australian infant feeding author and activist Maureen Minchin who was a pioneer lactation consultant.

/ENDS

La Leche League New Zealand makes approximately 20,000 contacts with mothers each year, through both its network of mother-to-mother support groups and its telephone helpline.

La Leche League is an international non-governmental not-for-profit non-sectarian organisation whose mission is to help mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education; and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. There are 41 groups across New Zealand with 132 accredited Leaders supporting thousands of women every year. www.lalecheleague.org.nz


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