Submissions for Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy

18 June 2018

The Australian Government Department of Health and the Australian Health Minister' Advisory Council was seeking submissions by Monday 18 June 2018 on a National Breastfeeding Strategy.  This enduring Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy is intended to support all mothers in Australia in their role. The Strategy seeks to create a society supportive of breastfeeding so that breastfeeding is the first option for all mothers. The Strategy also recognises that this is not always possible and that all mothers need support regardless of how they feed their baby.  WHA has supplied a joint submission on behalf of it's members. A copy of the submission can now be viewed here.

Breastfeeding provides babies with the best start in life and is a key contributor to infant and maternal health. Australia’s infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants to around six months of age when solid foods are introduced and continued breastfeeding until the age of 12 months and beyond, if both mother and infant wish. Evidence shows that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from necrotising enterocolitis, diarrhoea, respiratory illness, middle ear infection, type 1 diabetes and childhood leukaemia. Available evidence also shows that breastfed babies have enhanced cognitive development. Breastfeeding also benefits mothers by promoting faster recovery from childbirth, reducing the risks of breast and ovarian cancers in later life, and reduced maternal depression. While the majority of Australian women intend to breastfeed their baby and 96 per cent initiate breastfeeding after birth, only a small proportion (15-25%) continue meeting the recommended guideline of exclusive breastfeeding until their baby is around 6 months of age.

For further information please contact Dee Patil of WHA.