In March 2009, Australian Health Ministers agreed to collaborate on developing and implementing an Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy to be led by the Australian Government. The Department of Health and Ageing commissioned the Allen Consulting Group Pty Ltd to facilitate the development of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy and a consultation process targeted to key stakeholders during July and August 2009. A jurisdictional stocktake and service/activity mapping exercise was also conducted during this period.
The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy provides a framework for priorities and action for all governments to address the protection, promotion, support and monitoring of breastfeeding throughout Australia. An implementation plan to accompany the Strategy will be developed during 2010.
The framework for the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy includes the following vision, objective, and underlying principles:
Australia is a nation in which breastfeeding is protected, promoted, supported and valued by the whole of society.
Breastfeeding is viewed as the biological and social norm for infant and young child feeding.
Mothers, families, health professionals and other caregivers are fully informed about the value of breastfeeding.
To increase the percentage of babies who are fully breastfed from birth to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding and complementary foods to twelve months and beyond.
- Mother and Child – The mother and child relationship is the heart and focal point of all breastfeeding related activities.
- Ecological Context – Breastfeeding is influenced by a range of family, social, cultural and environmental factors that inform promotion and support activity across the breastfeeding continuum.
- Access – All members of a community have universal access to appropriate information and affordable services that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
- Diversity – The diversity of Australian families is recognised through breastfeeding promotion and support activities that are sensitive and responsive to individual circumstances.
- Collaborative Care – Services and health professionals work in collaborative partnership to provide holistic care to breastfeeding women and their families that strengthens and maintains existing support services.
- Continuity of Care – Continuity of support at key transition points between birthing and community services and into the broader community is seamless from the perspective of mothers and their families.
- Evidence Based – Protection, promotion and support activities are consistently informed by the best available evidence, the percentage of babies breastfed is regularly monitored, and activities are evaluated.
- Effective Governance – There is a clear accountability for breastfeeding protection, promotion, support and monitoring activities at state/territory and national levels, and appropriate consultation and collaboration with the community sector.