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The Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland Public Health Agency are funding NBAW this year, though in Scotland the Scottish National Party were yet to make a decision at the time of going to press.
She adds: 'I am not sure that NBAW directly helps breastfeeding rates, but it certainly helps to increase awareness of this type of support for mothers in the area.
The events that we have planned for this year's NBAW will certainly be more participatory.'
Janet Calvert, regional breastfeeding coordinator at Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency (PHA), emphasises how NBAW is valuable in helping to raise awareness: 'It is difficult to measure the impact that NBAW has on increasing and sustaining breastfeeding rates--there are so many factors that are involved in the decision to breastfeed and continuing with it--but I do think it is an opportunity for those who work so hard in the statutory and voluntary services to try and improve awareness of breastfeeding.
The PHA has previously organised an NBAW pampering event for breastfeeding mothers, which offered reflexology, short presentations and opportunities to meet peer supporters.
In Sutton and Merton last year, a number of roadshows were held for NBAW. The events were helpful in engaging the local population and providing information on health benefits.
For this year's NBAW, Caithness Breast Friends will be adopting an early intervention approach--its infant feeding advisors will be visiting a number of primary schools in the area to talk to children about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Because of the success of this, we are hoping to do this for this year's NBAW.'
Sue stresses the importance of work throughout the year in improving breastfeeding rates: 'NBAW will only help to bring issues to the forefront--it does what it sets out to do, to encourage practitioners to raise awareness.
In addition to raising awareness of breastfeeding and local services, NBAW can also be used as a springboard for new initiatives that continue to work throughout the year.
For example, the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme was launched in Wales during NBAW last year, with the aim of encouraging businesses to promote and welcome breastfeeding on their premises.
For NBAW information and resources, see: www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk/en/fe/page.asp?n1=5&n2=13
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