Pae ora: A strategic framework
Increasing the exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding requires that whānau can access the technical, financial, emotional, cultural and public support they need to:
- breastfeed exclusively for six months
- continue breastfeeding, along with offering complementary foods, for two years or beyond.
(World Health Organization 2020)
Meeting these global recommendations for optimal infant feeding cannot be achieved through singular actions. Rather, the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding in Aotearoa New Zealand requires a holistic, whole-of-system approach that adopts pae ora as a framework for co-design, co-development and implementation. This framework acknowledges the interconnectedness of the breastfeeding parent and child to their whānau, and the wider context of environments, determinants and support structures that influence infant feeding.
Specifically, pae ora emphasises that action to protect, promote and support breastfeeding needs to address three interconnected and mutually reinforcing elements.
1. Wai ora: Healthy environments
The concept of wai ora encapsulates the importance of the environments in which we live and that have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities. This includes improving the governance and regulatory framework that underpins the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.
2. Whānau ora: Family health
The core goal of whānau ora is to empower whānau to control the services they need to work together, build on their strengths and achieve their aspirations. Whānau have their own capability and they can work to achieve their potential and their moemoea/aspirations. Breastfeeding support services should be inclusive and integrated. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; breastfeeding support should be flexible to meet family needs.
3. Mauri ora: Healthy individuals
Mauri ora focuses on the individual in the context of their reality. Mauri describes the vitality, energy and wellness that lies within every individual. Mauri ora emphasises that comprehensive health systems, from prevention to treatment, must be responsive to the needs all members of society. This includes providing information on how breastfeeding protection, promotion and support will assist all of Aotearoa New Zealand, including specific goals for priority groups.