Valerie backs Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative

On Tuesday 5 December 2017 I supported Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative on Breastfeeding. Unicef UK is calling on government to tackle the UK’s low breastfeeding rates and improve the health of children by leading action to remove the barriers – social, cultural, economic, physical and practical – that make it difficult for women to breastfeed in the UK. Powerful new evidence provides a compelling case to alter UK attitudes and practices, both locally and nationally, in order to support women to breastfeed for as long as they wish.

There is overwhelming evidence that breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start; it improves health and cuts costs. And yet the UK has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with only 34% of babies receiving and breastmilk at six months, compared with 71% in Norway, despite the World Health Organisation recommendation that all babies are exclusively breastfed for six months.

A number of my constituents have got in touch to bring this issue to my attention, so I know how important it is for mothers, families and health professionals in Walsall South.

Sue Ashmore, Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative Director said:

“We want to change the conversation around breastfeeding and acknowledge the collective responsibility of us all. We need to recognise that improving the UK’s low breastfeeding rates requires action across government, healthcare and community settings to build systems that support women and families.”

“It is fantastic to have the support of Valerie Vaz MP. By making this pledge, they are showing that they know breastfeeding is a vitally important public health issue and are committed to taking action to support it.”

More information on the work of Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative can be found here.
About the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative:

Unicef works in health and community services to help new parents give their babies the love, care and nourishment they need to get the best start in life. Our Baby Friendly Initiative works with health professionals – from midwives to national neonatal nurses and from health visitors to children’s centres – to make sure every new mum gets expert support to nurture and feed their baby, whenever they need it. As part of a wider global partnership with the World Health Organisation, the programme has revolutionised healthcare around infant feeding and parent-child relationships for all babies and mums. In everything we do, the mother and baby are our sole priority, because we know that the first days and weeks of a child’s life can determine his or her future.