Plunket’s latest figures on breastfeeding indicate a steady increase in breastfeeding rates over the last 10 years.
Plunket clinical advisor Allison Jamieson says that the figures are great news for New Zealand.
“Breastfeeding rates in New Zealand are definitely improving - slowly but surely. Up to the age of 6 weeks 85% of babies are getting some breast milk, a 5 per cent increase over the last 10 years”, she says.
“Maori and Pacific are showing steady increases at 6 week as well with an increase of 2 per cent each over the last three years.
“These figures may not sound all that big but they represent a significant number of babies.
“While this good news, there is always room for improvement. The goal is to see more babies being exclusively breastfed for longer and extending the duration of breastfeeding. In order for this to happen breastfeeding mothers need a supportive environment.
“The support of the mother’s partner and her family are known to be strong factors in whether - and for how long - she will breastfeed. Breastfeeding friendly workplaces are another key factor. We all need to continue to support women in all situations so they can breastfeed for longer.
“Deciding to breastfeed your baby is one of the most positive steps you can take towards ensuring they get the best start in life. There are so many benefits for both mother and baby”.
“By providing mothers with a supportive environment, we are helping to break down the barriers that many new mothers face when choosing to breastfeed,” Mrs Jamieson says.
Plunket supports the World Health Organizations recommendation that babies are fed only breast milk for the first six months. After six months other foods can be added to a baby’s diet, but breast milk remains the ideal milk drink for children up to two years and beyond.
For support, information or advice about breastfeeding contact your local Plunket nurse or call PlunketLine 0800 933 922 - 24 hours, 7 days a week.
For more information on World Breastfeeding Week
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