Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is calling on MPs to pledge their support for breastfeeding in their communities.
The initiative is also asking MPs to champion the ‘Change the conversation’ call to action in parliament.
The call to action highlights the UK’s low breastfeeding rates as a pressing public health issue. It recognises that it is an emotive subject in the UK and it aims to change the conversation around infant feeding and stop putting pressure on individual women.
Unicef UK believes that to improve breastfeeding rates action is required across government, healthcare and community settings to build systems that are supportive of breastfeeding. It adds that MPs need to commit to protecting, supporting and promoting breastfeeding both locally and nationally.
Unicef UK BFI director Sue Ashmore said: ‘By making this simple pledge, MPs will show that they recognise the importance of breastfeeding to the health and wellbeing of babies and mothers, and are committed to taking action to support it.’
She added: ‘We need to change the conversation around breastfeeding and stop laying the blame for a major public health issue in the laps of individual women and acknowledge the role that politics and society has to play at every level.
‘Our goal is to help the eight of 10 women who report that they stop breastfeeding before they want to by building systems and support around them.’
On Tuesday 5 December Unicef UK will be holding a drop-in event for MPs, asking them to support breastfeeding in their constituencies by pledging support for Unicef UK’s breastfeeding call to action in their workplace, in their local health services, and in parliament.
Unicef UK is inviting the public to email their MP to ask them to attend the Unicef UK BFI event in parliament here.
The ‘Change the conversation’ call to action can be signed here.