Breastfeeding

In response to the campaign on breastfeeding, David said:

"Breastfeeding is a personal choice for each woman to make and not all mothers are able to or choose to breast feed.

It is widely agreed that breastfeeding delivers significant health benefits to new-born babies, and promotes strong bonds between mother and baby. It provides the child with a perfect balance of vitamins and nutrients, and protects mother and baby from infection and disease. That is why, when possible, the Department of Health encourages exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of a child's life.

Breastfeeding rates do vary nationally and I believe that it is important that local commissioners offer all new mothers the best quality of care. There are now 2,000 more NHS midwives than in 2010 who can provide women with the advice and support needed to breastfeed. 

In 2014, the Government established the National Infant Feeding Network with UNICEF UK, which promotes evidence-based practice on infant feeding and early childhood development to deliver improved outcomes for women and their babies. 

In line with UNICEF's "Baby Friendly" guidelines, all women should be supported to make informed decisions and to develop a close relationship with their babies soon after birth. Public Health England is working with local services, midwives and health visitors to make this vision a reality, with a particular focus on areas needing urgent support.

Additionally, the Government is implementing the recommendations from the Better Birth report, to improve maternity services in England. This includes the promotion of breastfeeding, as Public Health England and UNICEF UK commission evidence-based interventions to improve breastfeeding rates.

For those who choose not to breastfeed, the Government supports the safe use of infant formula, and the regulations are in place to ensure that all types of infant formula meet the nutritional needs of babies."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Parental Bereavement

In response to the campaign on parental bereavement, David said:

"I understand this is an extremely sensitive issue. Parents should feel properly supported by their employer when they go through the deeply distressing ordeal of losing a child. Employers are expected be compassionate and flexible at such a difficult time.

I am pleased to say that the Government is backing the Parental Bereavement (leave and pay) Bill. This Bill goes significantly further than most other countries in providing this kind of workplace right for employees. It will give a day-one right to parental bereavement leave and employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay.

Under the proposed measures, employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will have the right to two weeks’ paid leave to allow them time to grieve. This honours the Government’s manifesto commitment to introduce a new entitlement for parental bereavement leave."

More information about the campaign can be found here.

NSPCC's 'Keeping Children Safe' Campaign

In response to the NSPCC's 'Keeping Children Safe' campaign, David said:

"Schools have a vital role to play in keeping children safe and should provide young people with a curriculum that equips them for adult life. The Government has legislated to make Relationships and Sex Education mandatory for all secondary school aged children, and Relationships Education for all primary school aged children, giving pupils the knowledge they will need to stay safe and develop healthy relationships.

This is especially important for this generation of young people, who are growing up with more access to technology and the internet than their parents and teachers. While the internet provides a range of valuable benefits, it also exposes young people to very real dangers. On top of protecting children from being able to access inappropriate material, steps are being taken to educate them about these dangers. The internet safety strategy was announced earlier this year which aims to make the UK the safest country in the world for children and young people to go online. More details about the strategy can be found on the below webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-major-new-drive-on-internet-safety

Tackling all forms of abuse and exploitation of children by anyone is a priority of this Government. Ministers are continuing to reassess how police, social care and other agencies can work together to protect vulnerable children."

More information about the campaign can be found here.