We know the foundations for a healthy life are laid in infancy and childhood.
There is plenty of evidence internationally that breastfeeding contributes positively to infant and maternal health status, and the social wellbeing of the baby, mother, family and community.
"Breastfeeding provides for optimal infant nutrition, social and emotional development"
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), which the NZBA launched in 2000, is enjoying great success and operates in 92 percent of eligible maternity hospitals or health care centres in New Zealand. A total of 65 maternity facilities are now Baby Friendly accredited. The Ministry of Health (MoH) requires all facilities in the maternity service to be BFHI accredited.
The MoH established health targets in 2002 to increase breastfeeding rates nationally by 2010. This would see the portion of infants exclusively and fully breastfed rise to 90 percent at six weeks, 70 percent at three months and 27 percent six months after birth. Currently, these health targets are not being met in any region of New Zealand.
We believe Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) has an important role in creating supportive health services in the community, just as BFHI has in maternity services.
We've implemented the initiative in 28 community-based services and are now ready to take it to the rest of New Zealand - especially to Maori and Pasifika communities who traditionally have a lower breastfeeding rate than the overall population. The NZBA is working with District Health Boards and other health professionals to support women to continue breastfeeding at work.
We want to ensure that all mothers and their families are given consistent, accurate information about the benefits of breastfeeding, and support to continue breastfeeding as long as they are able.
With your support, we want to ensure those working with mothers and babies in the community are not only knowledgeable, skilled and able to promote breastfeeding, but will assist mothers to continue breastfeeding for longer.