Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2018 and Beyond

Closed 18 Jun 2018

Opened 21 May 2018

Overview

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.

Who is developing the Strategy?

The Strategy is being developed in partnership with all states and territories, under the auspice of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC).  The project is being led by the Australian Government Department of Health in collaboration with the Breastfeeding Jurisdictional Officers Group.

What consultation has taken place to inform the development of the Strategy?

Advice from a range of breastfeeding experts has been sought through a Breastfeeding Expert Reference Group.  Face-to-face stakeholder consultation workshops and meetings were also held in April and May 2017 across Australia to discuss the draft Strategy.  Stakeholders included representatives from all states and territories, relevant peak bodies, clinical experts, health professionals, and academics.  A copy of the report on the stakeholder consultation is available below.

Has there been a review of the evidence?

The Department commissioned an Evidence Check rapid review to inform development of the Strategy and a copy is available below.  The Evidence Check focused on strategies that have been shown to be effective in promoting, supporting, and/or increasing breastfeeding rates in high-income countries.

Why We Are Consulting

The purpose of this consultation is to seek broader stakeholder and community feedback on the draft Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy: 2018 and Beyond.   The diverse perspectives, experiences and knowledge of all stakeholders and interested members of the community are valued and respected and will contribute to the development of the final Strategy.

There are two versions of the draft Strategy provided below.  One is a PDF version and the other is an accessible Word version.

How to give us your views

Interested parties are invited to provide comment on the draft Strategy through an online survey, which can be accessed below.  The public consultation will be open for four weeks from Tuesday, 22 May 2018 and will close at 11.59 pm AEST on Monday, 18 June 2018.

Online survey

The online survey covers:

  • Section A: Demographics
  • Section B: The Strategy
  • Final Comments

The survey will step you through each part of the draft Strategy so it may be helpful to have an electronic or paper copy available when answering the survey.

Please provide your email address if you would like a PDF of your response to be automatically emailed to you after you submit your response. 

Please keep your responses concise and within the question word limits. 

The survey may be completed over more than one session.  Please retain your login details if you wish to complete the survey at a later time.

What Happens Next

Responses will be collated by the Australian Government Department of Health to inform the final Strategy.

The responses provided through this online consultation process may be made available to the Breastfeeding Jurisdictional Officers Group and the Breastfeeding Expert Reference Group who will be contributing to the finalisation of the Strategy.  Representatives from these groups will be convening in late June/ early July 2018 to finalise the Strategy, including the Strategy Logic and the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.

The Final Strategy will be presented for endorsement by the AHMAC in the second half of 2018.

Audiences

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Seniors
  • Men
  • Women
  • Carers and guardians
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Young people
  • Academics
  • Non-government organisations
  • State government agencies
  • Commonwealth agencies
  • Local governments
  • Health professionals
  • Health workforce
  • General public
  • Community groups
  • Businesses

Interests

  • Hospitals
  • Women's health
  • Children's health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • Preventative health