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Plunket celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

“Providing good advice and a supportive environment is key to helping mothers and their babies who are learning to breastfeed,” says Dr Jane O’Malley, Plunket’s Chief Nurse.

This week Plunket celebrates World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August) with events throughout the country as part of the Big Latch On, and encourages everyone to support breastfeeding women in all situations.

“Although breastfeeding is natural it sometimes doesn’t come naturally, and it’s normal for mums to need extra assistance as they learn this new skill and understand their baby’s needs. Plunket offers a range of support through local Plunket Nurses, health workers, and PlunketLine, which operates 24/7, as well as our family centres and community services”, she says.

“Having breastfeeding friendly workplaces, communities and other environments can help to break down the barriers many new mothers face when choosing to breastfeed their children.”

Breast milk is the ideal food for infants, providing the optimum nutrition for healthy growth and development. Ministry of Health recommendations are that babies are fed only breast milk until they are around six months old.

Breastfeeding has many benefits which include laying the foundations of a healthy life for a baby. It also makes a positive contribution to the health and wider wellbeing of mothers and their whānau.

The benefits for mother and baby include protection against some illnesses including colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies. It also helps to protect babies from SUDI (Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy) and supports bonding and attachment between mother and baby.

According to Plunket figures, 60% of babies are fully breastfed at three months, and 79% are getting some breast milk at that age. Both of these figures are an increase from 10 years ago. Fathers, partners and extended family and friends actively supporting mothers to breastfeed will help them to breastfeed for longer.

“We recognise that as well as being one of the most exciting times of family life it is also a really busy time for mothers,” says Dr O’Malley. “Plunket is committed to providing information and education to ensure mothers and their whanau feel supported and informed in their choice to breastfeed and make the difference of a lifetime for their baby.”

Additional information

PlunketLine 0800 933 922 – available 24/7

Information on breastfeeding - here

Annual Plunket breastfeeding statistics - here

 

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