Breastfeeding guidelines to be reviewed

30 May 2017

A master’s graduate from The University of Queensland’School of Public Health is welcoming the Federal Governments review of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy.

Australia's National Breastfeeding Strategy
is currently under review. 

Naomi Hull, who published a perspective stakeholder report on the existing strategy said the review is long overdue.

“Australia has not collected consistent data on how babies are fed since 2010,” Ms Hull said.

"It’s hard to plan or implement breastfeeding support campaigns when the data on Australian breastfeeding practices are almost a decade old."

Ms Hull was involved in a recent workshop drafting an updated strategy with The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council and said a national agreement on how data is to be collected is a priority but political commitment is required.

“The Government also needs to consider legislation to implement the World Health Organisation’s breastfeeding code which restricts the marketing of formula or other breastmilk substitutes to babies under 3yrs of age.

“We should be targeting these strategies at the community as a whole rather than at mothers, because mothers don’t parent in isolation and they need everyone’s support.”

Ms Naomi Hull

Ms Hull said Australia currently falls below the WHO suggested breastfeeding rates.

“The current Australian guidelines suggest babies should be exclusively breastfeed to around six-months, and then to just 12-months and beyond while foods are introduced,” Ms Hull said.

“The WHO guidelines state that mothers should breastfeed exclusively to six-months and continue to 24-months and beyond while other foods are introduced.

“It is concerning that in Australia rather than being provided with accurate and evidence based information to enable them to make informed choices, mothers in Australia are instead told shorter feeding durations are fine.”

The draft of the new strategy will be published on the Department of Health’s website in June 2017, and will be available for comment and submissions from any member of the Australian public.

The research is published in Breastfeeding Review.

Media: Naomi Hull,, Bernadette O’Connor,, +61 7 3365 5118 or +61 431 533 209.