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The Breastfeeding Manifesto was produced in 2006 in consultation with over twenty UK organisations working to improve awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding and its role in reducing health inequalities. The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalitions’ objective is to achieve widespread cross-party support for this document. We aim to ensure that its principles are reflected in government policy and legislation.

The manifesto is based in evidence, both from a review of formal studies and from a national consultation with over 800 health professionals, service users and policy makers conducted in 2005 by the Mother and Infant Research Unit, University of York, funded by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition currently has over 30 Coalition members. If you are a member of an organisation who would like to join the coalition then please email info@breastfeedingmanifesto.org.uk

Parliamentary Support
Over 350 MPs have already expressed their support for this important initiative.  But, many other Parliamentarians will need to be further engaged and lobbied before they fully understand the importance of the Manifesto and decide to add their support.

We also have members of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly signed up.

Why it is so important
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, yet less than 2% of British babies are exclusively breastfed for this length of time. Research from the Public Health Collaborating Centre on Maternal and Child Nutrition demonstrates that breastfeeding has a major role to play in public health, promoting health in both the short and long term for baby and mother. This work concludes that breastfeeding has a key role to play in tackling the fundamental policy goal of addressing inequalities in health in the UK. Despite the overwhelming health benefits and cost savings associated with breastfeeding, UK rates remain unacceptably low.

Women’s ability to breastfeed is constrained by barriers at a range of levels and far from being a matter of choice, breastfeeding is a behaviour that is simply not accessible for many mothers and babies, especially in lower socio-economic groups. This Manifesto draws attention to the gaps in UK breastfeeding policy and outlines seven key objectives that need to be met.

This is a cross party issue that we feel simply cannot be ignored – it is about public health and breaking down inequalities - together we can lead to lasting change, for future generations. If you are an MP, MSP, AMs or Peer and would like to add your support please email us.

Together we can make a difference for future generations.

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The above photograph is the copyright of Petra Finkenzeller.