The New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA) is a coalition of 30 breastfeeding stakeholder organisations established in 1998 to promote breastfeeding in New Zealand. Representatives from stakeholder organisations include hospital maternity managers, midwives, Maori and Pacifika community leaders, medical groups, lactation consultants, dietitians, Plunket, Parent Centre and La Leche League.
The NZBA is funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH), and works to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in New Zealand by managing the following programmes:
- the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)
- the Baby-Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI)
All hospitals and health care facilities - particularly maternity wards - are encouraged to become baby-friendly. The NZBA is responsible for the implementation of the BFHI and BFCI nationally, and for awarding certificates of accreditation to approved health facilities and community service providers.
International evidence confirms the successful implementation of the BFHI's 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding leads to an increase in breastfeeding rates. According to a survey by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), BFHI hospitals in the UK increased breastfeeding rates by more than 10 percent in four years after receiving a Baby-Friendly Award.
Other roles and responsibilities of the NZBA include but are not limited to:
- providing independent advice and being a forum for the coordination of breastfeeding strategies throughout New Zealand
- providing national advocacy for projects and initiatives that will support, promote and improve breastfeeding rates throughout New Zealand
The NZBA advocates for the implementation of the Innocenti Declaration 2005 On Infant and Young Child Feeding.