Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2010-2015

3.3 The National Breastfeeding Strategy (1996–2001)

Page last updated: 15 July 2010

The previous National Breastfeeding Strategy (1996–2001) was a $2 million program funded by the Australian Government that resulted in the creation of a range of breastfeeding promotion resources that targeted families and community groups, health professionals, hospitals, partners, employers and a range of priority groups (DHAC 2001). Specific activities included:

  • audit of training in breastfeeding support and infant nutrition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and health professionals providing care to Indigenous women. This was accompanied by a Review of current interventions and identification of best practice currently used by community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service providers in promoting and supporting breastfeeding and appropriate infant nutrition (OATSIH 1998);
  • production of a fact sheet kit, Naturally: the facts about breastfeeding sent to health professionals and general practitioners in community-based settings to improve their understanding of breastfeeding issues and ability to provide consistent, practical advice;
  • production and distribution of a continuing education kit to over 25,000 general practitioners, pharmacists, child health nurses and paediatricians. This kit included continuing education modules for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and child health nurses, a health professionals guide for managing common breastfeeding problems and a guide to further breastfeeding information and resources;
  • development of national accreditation standards for maternal and child health services;
  • the production and distribution of resources outlining the benefits of breastfeeding, with a focus on families. These resources included tip cards, posters, a comic booklet for young parents, a booklet for those with low literacy and tip cards translated into five languages. The cards are still in use by the Australian Breastfeeding Association;
  • a four page newsletter insert distributed to approximately 3,000 employers and a booklet, poster and flyers in five languages called Balancing Breastfeeding and Work distributed to approximately 50,000 employers; and
  • an antenatal breastfeeding education package Breastfeeding and you, including an educators manual with lesson plans and strategies for use with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, a video and poster sent to 3,500 antenatal educators and obstetricians.
Despite these important achievements, the 1996-2001 strategy was primarily an Australian Government initiative and in the absence of a nationally agreed framework, the policy environment for breastfeeding in Australia has been at best ad hoc.