Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015

3.2 Australian Dietary Guidelines

Page last updated: 15 July 2010

The Australian Government supports the Australian Dietary Guidelines which aim to encourage, support, and promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life. The need to encourage and support breastfeeding is highlighted in both the Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults and the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia, incorporating the Infant Feeding Guidelines for Health Workers, which advise:

For Australia, it is recommended that as many infants as possible be exclusively breastfed until six months of age. It is further recommended that mothers then continue breastfeeding until 12 months of age—and beyond if both mother and infant wish. Although the greatest benefits from breastfeeding are to be gained in the early months, especially from exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, there is no doubt that breastfeeding provides benefits that continue beyond this time. After six months, continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods for at least 12 months will bring continuing benefits (NHMRC 2003).

Despite this recommendation and the high level of government and non-government activity that promotes and supports breastfeeding, only 28 per cent of infants are fully breastfed at five months while around half are receiving at least some breast milk at six months (AIFS 2008, Baxter 2008).