Almost $1 million will be provided to the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) to allow it to continue its 24 hour National Breastfeeding Helpline.
Acting Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, announced today that the Government had approved continued funding to the ABA for one year, starting in July.
“This decision means that the ABA will have funding certainty and be able to continue this important service for new mothers,” Minister Nash said.
“There is very strong evidence that breast feeding gives babies the best start in life and provides lasting health benefits.
“It also helps mothers to recover faster from pregnancy and reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancers in later life.
“The toll-free 24 hour telephone helpline provides breastfeeding information and peer support for mothers and their families.
“This can be especially important for women and babies in rural and regional Australia, who can get the information and advice they need without travelling long distances.”
Australia’s dietary guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding of infants until six months of age, with the introduction of solid foods at around six months and continued breastfeeding until the age of 12 months and beyond, if both mother and infant wish.
Evidence shows that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from gastroenteritis, respiratory illness and middle ear infection.
The ABA also delivers nationally recognised training and education to volunteer breastfeeding counsellors. Its counsellors provide breastfeeding information and support service to more than 80,000 mothers each year.