Breastfeeding is important for mother and baby health. Any amount of breast milk offered to your baby is good.
In Australia, it is recommended that infants are exclusively* breastfed until around six months of age when solid foods are introduced, and that breastfeeding is continued until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as the mother and child desire.1
*Infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given, not even water, with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.
Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that infants need for around the first six months of life. From six to 12 months breastmilk continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs and up to one third of a child’s nutritional needs between 12 months and two years.
Breastfed children are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Need help with breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a learned skill, which needs practice. The more you feed your baby, the easier it will get. More information and support is available from the following:
Breastfeeding Education Live – online sessions
Interactive breastfeeding education webinar sessions for expectant parents. Learn and practice how breastfeeding works. Click here for more information
CCLHD breastfeeding support clinics
These breastfeeding support sessions for Central Coast residents are run by child and family health nurses to support, protect and promote breastfeeding. Click here for community health centre locations and times.
Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)
Call the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 268. This helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors.
The mum2mum app provides breastfeeding information and support based on your baby or child’s age.
Raising Children Network
An Australian parenting website that provides articles, videos and interactive resources tailored to different ages and stages. Breastfeeding information can be found in the ‘newborn’ and ‘babies’ tabs.
For women and healthcare providers concerned about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. more information, click here or call 1800 647 848.
Other support for breastfeeding
Five ways family and friends can support a mother to breastfeed
- Offer encouragement.
- Help with the baby between feeds, and older children in the family, to allow the mother to rest or nap.
- Make nutritious meals and snacks to help increase her energy.
- Help with cleaning and other jobs around the house to decrease these responsibilities.
- Find breastfeeding friendly meeting places.
SMS4dads Receive free text messages sent straight to your phone – with tips, information and links to other services to help fathers understand and connect with their baby and support their partner.
Grandparents play an important part in the encouragement and support of breastfeeding. More information for grandparents can be found here.
There are no benefits to starting solid foods before around six months. Starting too early can contribute to a decrease in breast milk production. Starting Family Foods provides current advice on introducing your baby to solid foods.
Support for breastfeeding in public
Look for the ‘We Are Breastfeeding Friendly’ sticker in Central Coast businesses and facilities that are supportive of mothers’ breastfeeding on their premises. There are more than 300 on the Central Coast helping to promote a positive attitude towards breastfeeding in the community.
If you have a business or know of a business that is breastfeeding friendly and would like to participate, contact Nutrition Services, Central Coast Local Health District for free breastfeeding friendly stickers and kit. Call 4320 2251.
Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2020
In 2020, the Central Coast Local Health District Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding Reference Group offered a community art competition. There were some wonderful entries!
The following virtual gallery is a presentation of the selected entries along with comments from the artists and judges.
1National health and Medical Research Council 2012, Infant Feeding Guidelines, Canberra. National Health and Medical Research Council.