Breastmilk is convenient and environmentally friendly. Mothers can breastfeed in public whenever and wherever their baby needs and it is illegal to discriminate against a woman for breastfeeding.
The Victorian Government is committed to improving the health and development of children. Breastfeeding plays an important role in achieving this outcome. The research information contained here will assist professionals in identifying evidenced based interventions to improve breastfeeding rates.
Why breastfeeding is important
There is established evidence showing that there are immediate and long-term positive health benefits associated with breastfeeding for both mothers and babies. Breastmilk contains unique properties which cannot be duplicated in infant formula.
Research shows babies who are breastfed have fewer episodes of gastroenteritis, respiratory infections and ear infections. Breastmilk has been shown to decrease the incidence of chronic disease in later life such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, childhood asthma and some leukaemias. A baby’s development, positive mental health and attachment to his or her mother is promoted through breastfeeding,
Women who breastfeed are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner and are less likely to develop pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes.
The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for around six months; once solids are introduced breastfeeding should continue along with those solids for 12 months or beyond.
For more information, see:
The following information will assist early childhood professionals who may be asked to recommend information and web links for families.
Maternal and Child Health Line - available 24 hours a day on
13baby or 132229. Parents can talk to a maternal and child health nurse about breastfeeding or other concerns when the local maternal and child health nurse is not available.
Mum to Mum - a 24 hour breastfeeding helpline, available on
1800 mum 2 mum or 1800 686 2 686, where parents can talk to an Australian Association Breastfeeding counsellor who can help encourage and support breastfeeding.
Information designed to specifically support Indigenous families:
Maternal and child health nurses and midwives have the skills and knowledge to support women to breastfeed.