Breast is best: Labour celebrates World Breastfeeding Week
Spokesperson for Maternal Health
4 August 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Breast is best : Labour celebrates World Breastfeeding Week
As World Breastfeeding Week winds up Labour’s spokesperson for Maternal Health Steve Chadwick is urging the Government to uphold Labour’s strong record and advocacy for the benefits of breastfeeding.
“The Government must support every initiative to assist women to breastfeed as the first option, because breast is best, nutritionally, emotionally and economically,” Steve Chadwick said.
“Tomorrow the ‘Big Latch On’ will be well supported by Labour MPs.
“Annette King introduced the Breastfeeding Action Plan in 2002 and continued to fund the Breastfeeding Authority in Wellington to help promote the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) – a global move to increase breastfeeding rates to the gold standard of six months exclusive breastfeeding.
“Currently there are 77 maternity units in New Zealand and 71, or 92 per cent, are accredited to BFHI standard.
“Unfortunately Labour’s strong record in supporting mums to breastfeed is threatened. National’s Health Minister Tony Ryall disestablished the National Breastfeeding Committee, in direct contravention of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), and has let resources for funding and advocacy for the health benefits of breastfeeding fall by the wayside.
“It is now vital that the Baby-Friendly Community Initiative is appropriately funded,” Steve Chadwick said.
“Labour prioritised education and advocacy. We legislated for work breaks for breastfeeding mothers to express or feed their babies at work and support the right to breastfeed in public places. These are basic measures which have a significant impact on the health of our mothers and children.
“The United Nations theme of World Breastfeeding week is ‘Talk to Me’. While Labour maintains an open dialogue with the sector, for progress to continue the government must advocate for women and their children,” Steve Chadwick said.