Update: the APPG has now been formed. Many thanks to everyone who contacted their MPs. Fifteen from three parties attended the meeting on 19 January 2016 to complete the formalities, elect officers and develop a programme of subjects for the coming period. Sign up for Baby Milk Action campaign alerts for future news.
Last November I attended the preliminary meeting of the proposed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Infant Feeding & Inequalities. This took place in the House of Commons and was called by Alison Thewliss MP.
As the name suggests, an APPG brings together Members of Parliament (MPs) from different parties to discuss topics of interest. It can help to develop cross-party policies. There were representatives of many health professional organisations and mother support groups at the meeting who supported the formation of the APPG.
The UK is committed to the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, which aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and to ensure that parents who use breastmilk substitutes receive accurate, independent information. However, the Global Strategy has not yet been fully implemented in the countries of the UK and the APPG will explore the policy options, while hearing from experts on how these will contribute to improving infant and young child feeding practices, improving short and long-term health outcomes and reducing health inequalities.
The APPG needs the backing of MPs from all parties to be formally established. So if you are in the UK, please contact your MP. You can do so using the website http://www.writetothem.com/
You should write you own message explaining why you would like your MP to support the APPG. MPs tend to ignore identical messages. The key points are:
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding & Inequalities is very much needed to discuss how to support parents better with regard to infant and young child feeding.
All parents and carers have a right to accurate, independent information, however they feed their children. Action is needed to achieve this.
The preliminary meeting for the APPG took place on 24 November 2015 and was called by Alison Thewliss MP.
There will be a further meeting to formally establish the APPG on Tuesday 19th January at 9.30am in room W1 of Westminster Hall.
You can add information from your own experience explaining why you think this APPG is needed.
Please ask you MP to attend the meeting if possible and to add their name to join the group.
Simply go to the website http://www.writetothem.com/ then follow the instructions to contact your MP.
Please let us know if you receive a reply.
3 thoughts on “Ask your Member of Parliament to support the Infant Feeding & Inequalities APPG”
The support for breastfeeding in the NHS is appalling. Southampton pushed me to use formula from 7hrs old just to make my son quieter. There was no medical need. The advice from midwives was inconsistent at best and at times wrong. The health visitors aren’t trian to look for posteria tongue tie. The waiting lists for tongue tie procedures are too long, 2weeks is far too long to make someone keep trying to feeding with pain and bleeding nipples. When I really needed support the breastfeeding support had been closed for a week without advertising the closure. The support is only available monday-friday. So a baby born on a Friday afternoon has to wait 3days to see an expert! There is also no feeding help at Southampton general is you are admitted. Without volunteers I would not have managed breastfeeding.
This is a great initiative. I’m about to contact my MP to ask him to provide his support. However, I just wish that we could be more committed to promotion of Breastfeeding rather than Infant Feeding (which can, and often does, cover a multitude of sins). To say that we promote Infant Feeding is meaningless – what is the alternative? – to support NOT feeding infants? Let’s be clear about what we are trying to promote, which should be the biological norm, ie human milk for human babies, for it’s nutritional, immunological and emotional consequences. One of the main reasons for such poor breastfeeding rates in the UK is lack of political will from the very top to protect, promote and support it, and fear of engendering maternal guilt. Somehow the thinking seems to be that if we don’t talk about it, mothers who apparently “choose” not to breastfeed will not feel guilty,, and healthworkers who don’t know how to help mothers breastfeed can continue to suggest formula-feeding as an easier alternative. Please, as a first step, could the Group consider changing its name to the Breastfeeding & Inequalities APPG?
An interesting argument, but the name is because the purpose is to discuss better implementing the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, which was adopted by the World Health Assembly. Ideally the name would be “Infant and Young Child Feeding and Inequalities” but that was thought too long. The APPG will not only be looking at breastfeeding, but marketing of breastmilk substitutes, including so-called growing-up milks and baby foods. Implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions is part of the Global Strategy. It is important to come back to this – and reference it in the name of the APPG – as it is something successive UK Governments have supported, but failed to fully implement, including provisions on breastfeeding promotion and support. That’s why Baby Milk Action supports this name albeit shorter than we would prefer – these are not new proposals, but an authoritative set of measures already implemented to varying degrees in other countries. Calling it the breastfeeding APPG would not capture this.