Description of the collection
Breastfeeding offers many benefits to mothers and babies and is an essential contributor to health throughout life. Australian infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until around 6 months of age, when solid foods are introduced, and continued breastfeeding until 12 months of age and beyond, if the mother and infant wish.
Evidence shows that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from:
- necrotizing enterocolitis
- breathing illness
- middle ear infection
- type 1 diabetes
- childhood leukemia.
Available evidence also shows that breastfed babies have improved cognitive development.
Breastfeeding also benefits mothers by:
- promote faster recovery after childbirth
- reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life
- increase birth spacing
- reduce the risk of maternal depression
- help the mother-child bond.
Statistics from the Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that among children aged 0-24 months in Australia in 2010, 90% initiated exclusive breastfeeding. Only 15.4% of babies were exclusively breastfed up to 5 months (ie for less than 6 months).
Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and beyond
On behalf of the Australian Ministers of Health Advisory Council, the department has developed a high-level strategy to incorporate recent research into effective breastfeeding support strategies that are relevant to today’s environment. the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and beyond aims to create an environment conducive to breastfeeding.
The strategy was developed in collaboration with all states and territories through the Group of Senior Officials Relevant to Breastfeeding, a Breastfeeding Expert Reference Group and public consultation. All health ministers endorsed the strategy on March 8, 2019.
Read reports for:
Verification of evidence (literature review)
verification of evidence, Review of Effective Strategies to Promote Breastfeedingprovides evidence that indicates the effectiveness of the key strategies identified during the stakeholder consultation in 2017.
Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015
The previous breastfeeding strategy was developed following the 2007 parliamentary inquiry into the health benefits of breastfeeding. It aimed to improve the health, nutrition and well-being of infants and young children, and the health and well-being of mothers, by protecting, promoting, supporting and monitoring breastfeeding.
Read the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010 Implementation Plan 2010-2015.
Final progress report
Read the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015 – final progress report.
Key National Achievements of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015
An overview of all achievements can be found in the final progress report, but some key achievements at national level are as follows.
Donor Breastmilk Bank Australia
The need for a guidance document on milk banks in Australia was recognized in The Best Start: Report on the investigation into the health benefits of feeding and subsequently by all jurisdictions in the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010–2015 . The Department has prepared this document based on input from the Breastfeeding Senior Officials Group (BJOG), BJOG-appointed milk bank experts, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Australian Food Standards from New Zealand (FSANZ).
Read Donor Breastmilk Banking in Australia – Issues and Reference Document.
Infant feeding survey
the Australian National Infant Feeding Survey 2010 (ANIFS) was Australia’s first large-scale national survey of infant feeding practices and related attitudes and behaviours. The results of this survey showed that most babies (96%) were initially breastfed, 39% exclusively breastfed (meaning breastmilk had been the infant’s exclusive source of fluid) for less than 4 months and falling 15% for less than 6 months. However, 69% of babies received breast milk at 4 months and 60% at 6 months.
National Breastfeeding Indicators
Reporting of breastfeeding outcomes by both ANIFS and the Australian Health Survey was based on a draft national breastfeeding indicators published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in 2011.
Funding from the Australian Breastfeeding Association
The Australian Government has funded the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) since 2008 to support the infrastructure needed to enable volunteers to provide breastfeeding information and support services to over 80,000 mothers each year. Funding will continue until June 30, 2023.
Ten steps to successful breastfeeding
In November 2012, the Australian Conference of Health Ministers meeting affirmed that all Australian jurisdictions support the effective and practical advice provided by WHO/UNICEF Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) and her 10 steps to successful breastfeeding for health services. Australian Health Ministers have encouraged all public and private hospitals to implement the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and work towards or maintain their BFHI accreditation.
National Framework for Universal Child and Family Health Services
the National Framework for Universal Child and Family Health Services outlines the basic services that all Australian children (birth to 8 years old) and families should receive at no financial cost to themselves, regardless of where they live, and how and where they access their care health. The framework was developed through a strong partnership between the Australian Government and state and territory governments and the non-governmental sector.
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February 18, 2022