Cheadle MP Joins Jemima Khan at the Launch of The Breastfeeding Manifesto

May 21, 2007 1:42 PM

Mark Hunter MP joined Unicef Ambassador Jemima Khan and a coalition of more than 30 not-for-profit organisations, including five royal colleges, at a meeting in Parliament on 16th May (during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week ) to launch the Breastfeeding Manifesto.

The Breastfeeding Manifesto calls for more support to raise the relatively low levels of breastfeeding in the UK and includes seven specific points for Government action, which would improve the health of UK babies, reduce health inequalities and save the NHS millions of pounds a year.

The Breastfeeding Manifesto is calling on Government to:

• Implement the World Health Organisation's (WHO) 'Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding'.

• Implement NICE postnatal care guidance for maternity care providers, including ensuring the Unicef Baby Friendly initiative training becomes a minimum standard in all hospitals and in the community.

• Improve training for health professionals offering help and advice to breastfeeding mothers.

• Work with employers to create a more supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers.

• Develop policy and practice to support breastfeeding in public places.

• Include breastfeeding education in the curriculum.

• Adopt the WHO International code of Marketing of Breast Milk substitutes.

Speaking after the event Mr Hunter said: "Improved breastfeeding rates could make a real difference to the health of babies and their mothers and save the health service millions each year. For example, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that a 10% increase in breastfeeding in England would save the NHS around £5.6 million in the treatment of gastroenteritis, ear infections and asthma in young children."

"The WHO recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (and continue to breastfeed alongside the introduction of solids for up to two years and beyond), yet sadly less than 2% of UK babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months."

"This is a vitally important health issue and we need commitment and resources from Government to ensure all hospital and community staff, receive the right level of training. People need to be aware of the positive effect that breastfeeding can have on a baby. The Government need to be doing more to allow families to make an informed decision about Breastfeeding."

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