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New drive to encourage more breastfeeding

A new strategy has been launched to encourage more parents in Northern Ireland to choose breastfeeding.

Health Minister Edwin Poots unveiled the plan yesterday at a Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative/Public Health Agency (PHA) meeting on breastfeeding and relationship-building.

The new strategy sets out to protect, promote, support and normalise breastfeeding in Northern Ireland.

Mr Poots said: “Breastfeeding promotes health, prevents disease and helps contribute to reducing health inequalities. The challenge is to encourage more parents to choose breastfeeding for their children and to ensure that they are supported to do so.

 “The strategy’s vision is to provide babies with a good start in life by ensuring breastfeeding is the norm. Everyone has a role to play in this – from parents to health professionals, to businesses and the public.

“The strategy provides for the introduction of legislation to strengthen support for breastfeeding here”.

Janet Calvert, the regional breastfeeding lead at the PHA, said: “Breastfeeding gives babies a great start in life and a mother’s milk is the healthier choice for mums and their babies. Breastfeeding helps to support infant wellbeing by establishing a close and loving relationship between mother and baby, which in turn promotes and supports positive parent-child relationships.

“There are significant health benefits from breastfeeding to both mother and baby.“

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