The Morrison Government has today launched The Australian Breastfeeding Strategy: 2019 and Beyond, backed by a $10 million investment to support, encourage and promote breastfeeding.
The Strategy, which has been endorsed by all States and Territories through the COAG Health Council, provides an enduring policy framework for all Governments to provide a supportive and enabling environment for breastfeeding.
Approximately 25 per cent of babies are breastfed to around six months. The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy aims to at least double this by 2025, in line with the World Health Organisation’s target.
Early childhood experiences and caregiving practices such as breastfeeding, are critical to optimal human development.
Our Government is strongly committed to increasing breastfeeding around the country. All the evidence tells us that it is better for babies – and better for mums.
We recognise breastfeeding is not possible for all women.
The Government regulates infant formula so it provides a safe and nutritious alternative for babies who are not breastfed.
The breastfeeding strategy will improve the health and wellbeing of infants, young children, mothers and families.
The Strategy promotes breastfeeding as the normal biological way to feed an infant, including through community education and awareness campaigns. These campaigns will aim to ensure work and other places are breastfeeding-friendly.
We understand the most essential aspect of development is the bond between a child and their mother, and or father – both during pregnancy, after birth and throughout childhood.
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend if an infant is not breastfed or partially breastfed, commercial infant formula should be used as an alternative to breast milk until 12 months of age.
The Morrison Government acknowledges more work needs to be done in this area, which is why we have committed over $10 million to support activities that encourage and promote breastfeeding.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is receiving $8.29 million to support their work, in providing guidance and advice through their ABA Helpline and related work.
The Australian Government has supported the Helpline since 2008, enabling volunteers to provide breastfeeding information, education, support and counselling to more than 80,000 mothers each year.
In addition, the Morrison Government is providing $2 million this year to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, to increase access to donor human milk for premature babies through a centralised donor milk bank service.
We recognise breastfeeding and infant health is not only about mothers, but also on fathers, partners, grandmothers and carers – people in mothers’ lives who are able to support them.
This is why the Morrison Government is investing $36 million to establish a new Maternity to Home and Wellbeing Program – a Mums, Dads and Bubs check – to ensure that every Australian mother, father and baby has access to perinatal support.
In addition, $43.9 million has been provided for broader perinatal health. Organisations will be invited to apply for grants focusing on perinatal mental health support, and perinatal mental health promotion and awareness programs.
The Strategy is available at the COAG Health Council website: http://www.coaghealthcouncil.gov.au/Publications/Reports