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.
The following information will assist early childhood professionals who may be asked to recommend information and web links for families related to breastfeeding.
Perinatal depression and anxiety have serious and long lasting effects on both parents and children if untreated. Consistent, early and effective identification and response by trained health professionals to families during this period can improve outcomes.
Developmental Dysplasia Resources
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (then the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) funded The Centre of Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology at Monash University, to deliver the Autism Secondary Consultation and Training Strategy (ACTNOW). In 2011 as part of this strategy, professional development was provided to the Maternal and Child Health nurses by the ACTNOW training group. This professional development included an update of current research which acknowledges that parents recognise developmental concerns and signs of autism in their children early.
flags on the Maternal and Child Health PEDS Tipsheets
The MCH PEDS Tip sheets for the 8, 12, 18 months and 2 and 3.5 years consultations now includes these red flags.
These small red flags alert the MCH nurse to the prompts on these PEDS tip sheets that are important not only from a developmental point of view but also relate to some early signs of autism and form the basis of a thorough surveillance protocol. On the reverse side of these tip sheets, you will find additional information about the early signs of autism relevant to that particular age and stage. Note: these tip sheets do not appear in the Maternal and Child Health Service: Practice Guidelines 2009.
Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP)
Melbourne Initial Screening Test (MIST)