Why we should do this: what the evidence says

Ministry of Health | Manatū Hauora works with the IYCFC and marketing experts to review the current status of national breastfeeding promotion.

Breastfeeding promotion campaigns provide encouragement for breastfeeding parents and also help normalise breastfeeding within wider communities (Skelton et al 2018).

The Ministry breastfeeding lead and the IYCFC work with the maternal and child health sector to strengthen existing successful breastfeeding promotion initiatives and support the development of new campaigns.

Mass media or social marketing campaigns can be effective in raising awareness but need to be sustained long enough to effect behaviour change (Brown 2017).

Review and update Ministry of Health | Manatū Hauora consumer-facing breastfeeding resources with the aim of having culturally responsive, current, free resources available in digital format.

Ensure that regionally developed breastfeeding resources are consistent with national key messages and included on individual DHB websites to assist breastfeeding parents and whānau to access local information.

The availability of high-quality, consistent information delivered in appropriate and manageable ways is imperative to achieving breastfeeding goals. This should include information available to whānau and support people (Reinfelds 2015).

Consider innovative ways to provide breastfeeding information and support, including on digital and virtual platforms.

The availability of peer support plus expert clinical advice that is timely and easily accessible, may improve maternal confidence and prevent early cessation of breastfeeding. The ability to adapt to virtual consultations quickly is particularly helpful for remote and rural clients, and for negotiating environmental barriers like COVID-19, extreme weather conditions and road closures (Interim COVID-19 WCTO Clinical Governance Group 2020; Women’s Health Action 2020).

Review and revise the Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) to ensure the programme is cost effective and aligns with relevant services and providers.

Achieving BFCI accreditation helps ensure best-practice standards for infant and young child feeding. It also supports the provision of factual information and support for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and parents who cannot or choose not to exclusively breastfeed.

Where are we now?

  • The BFCI programme Aotearoa was discontinued in 2016. There is work underway to explore the viability of relaunching this programme.

Next steps and considerations

  • A revised BFCI programme needs to engage health workers, and community and social service providers, particularly WCTO providers. It needs to be aligned with breastfeeding workplace initiatives and local/central government initiatives.


Brown A. 2017. Breastfeeding as a public health responsibility: A review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 30(6): 759–70.

Interim COVID-19 WCTO Clinical Governance Group. 2020. Impact of COVID-19 on Well Child Tamariki Ora services: Qualitative feedback report. Wellington: Interim COVID-19 WCTO Clinical Governance Group.

Reinfelds M. 2015. Kia Mau, Kia Ū: Supporting the breastfeeding journey of Māori women and their whānau in Taranaki. Taranaki: Massey University.

Skelton K, Evans R, LaChenaye J, et al. 2018. Exploring Social Media Group Use Among Breastfeeding Mothers: Qualitative Analysis. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting. 1(2):e11344.

Women's Health Action. 2020. Summary report: Information and support needs of pregnant people and caregivers of infants and young children during Covid-19. Auckland: Women's Health Action.