World Breastfeeding Week - a shared responsibility
28/07/2021 4:50:12 p.m.

Wednesday 28 July 2021 

Breastfeeding will be celebrated in New Zealand and around the world next week during World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August). The event is an annual reminder about the importance of breastfeeding and our shared responsibility to protect, promote and support it.

Research shows that breastfeeding helps give babies the best start for a healthy life. It is specifically designed for a baby’s brain development and has everything in just the right amounts to be absorbed and digested easily. It helps to protect a baby against colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies. It also has health benefits for mothers which include reducing the risk of some cancers and bone disease.

Toi Te Ora Public Health supports World Breastfeeding Week and recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue to breastfeed along with the introduction of solid foods until their children are at least 2 years old.

Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally. For some mothers it can be a challenging journey. A warm chain of support will help build an enabling environment for breastfeeding.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack, says the attitudes and knowledge of those close to breastfeeding women affects women’s breastfeeding journeys. 

“Whānau, friends, colleagues, support groups and experts can journey with mothers through their ups and downs. It takes a village to continue breastfeeding,” says Dr Shoemack.
He says there are simple things whānau and friends can do to support a breastfeeding mother such as offering encouraging words, bringing her a drink, doing the housework, speaking up if someone criticizes her, and helping her to find expert support if she needs it.