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Breastfeeding and paid employment in New Zealand:  What role for nurses? 

Judith Galtry, RGON, BA, Dip. Women’s Studies, Department of Women’s Studies, Victoria University 

Reference: Galtry, J. (1995). Breastfeeding and paid employment in New Zealand:  What role for nurses? Nursing Praxis in New Zealand 10(3),  24-32

Introduction 

The benefits of breastfeeding for infants and mothers in ‘developing’ countries have been extensively documented.  There is also a growing body of research in industrialised nations indicating a wide range of benefits attached to breastfeeding for both infants and mothers, and ultimately wider society, (Cunningham, Jelliffe & Jelliffe, 1991).  It is somewhat paradoxical that this awareness has coincided with a steady rise in the number of mothers with young infants in the paid workforce in many such nations, including New Zealand.  As yet, there has been little acknowledgment of the impact of paid employment on breastfeeding in New Zealand (Galtry, 1995a).  However, the increase in women’s participation in the labour force potentially poses some difficult issues for nurses, and other health professionals, interested in promoting, protecting, and supporting breastfeeding.

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