The coalition, formed last summer, comprises more than 30 UK health advocacy bodies, ranging from Unicef to Best Beginnings, and aims to improve the low levels of breastfeeding in the UK.
It has garnered the support of high-profile figures such as minister for public health Caroline Flint, who spoke at its parliamentary reception. Celebrity backers include Unicef ambassador Jemima Khan and Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott.
Linstock was appointed in April to handle the launch of the manifesto, which seeks improvements in employers’ healthcare training and awareness of issues facing employees who wish to breastfeed.
During National Breastfeeding Week, the coalition received coverage on BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live, GMTV and Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. David Kidney, Labour MP for Stafford, also raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Question Time, receiving a response from Deputy PM John Prescott.
Linstock director Simon Maule claimed that the coalition had the backing of more than 200 MPs.
Manufacturers of milk substitutes remained sanguine about the initiative. ‘As an industry, we have always been highly supportive of increased breastfeeding rates, but our role is to offer a balanced and nutritional alternative,’ said Roger Clarke, director general of the Infant and Dietetic Foods Association.