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ScoMo Wants To Double The Amount Of Aussie Mums Breastfeeding

The Morrison government is providing $10 million to a new strategy to promote breastfeeding given only one in four Australian babies are breastfed until six months.

The government has launched The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy to double the amount of Australian babies that are breastfed.

Around 25 percent of Australian babies are breastfed until six months, according to the 2010 National Infant Feeding survey. The new strategy aims to double this by 2025, in line with the World Health Organisation’s target.

Over $8 million of the $10 million grant was given to The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), an organisation that provides guidance and advice through their helpline and related work.

NSW-based lactation consultant Marianne Dugmore told 10 daily the ABA "saved my life" as a new mum with a six-week-old baby and limited resources.

READ MORE: 'I Needed A Break': Hilary Duff Got Real About The Struggles Of Breastfeeding

After the ABA helped Dugmore with two more babies, she studied one of their counselling courses and ran one of their Sydney-based groups for a decade.

"I hold the ABA very dear to my heart. As a free service they are very useful for new mums," Dugmore said.

Over the past 10 years, the ABA's Breastfeeding Helpline -- which operates 24/7 -- has received in excess of 840,000 calls.

READ MORE: Study To Determine If Breastfeeding Mums And Bubs Need Vitamin D Supplements

A recent study conducted by the ABA, LaTrobe University and several Melbourne hospitals showed that with the telephone support of an accredited volunteer, mothers were more likely to breastfeed their babies for longer.

“The study is a perfect example of how important the [ABA] service is to Australian mothers,” Alison Boughey, ABA’s Chief Executive Officer, said.

The study found with the telephone support of an accredited volunteer, mothers were more likely to breastfeed their babies for longer. Image: Getty

“If the service was to no longer exist, it would leave major gaps and additional costs for the health system, including increased visits to GPs and hospitals."

Although 96 percent of Australian mothers initiate breastfeeding, by four months only 27 percent still exclusively breastfeed and rates continue to decline from there, according to the ABA.

READ MORE: Photo Of Police Officer Breastfeeding Malnourished Baby Goes Viral

The new Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy will promote breastfeeding through community education and awareness campaigns that aim to ensure work and other places are breastfeeding-friendly.

Education about breastmilk's benefits rather than breastfeeding itself plus encouraging group support should be geared towards mothers, Dugmore said.

Education about breastmilk's benefits rather than breastfeeding itself plus encouraging group support should be geared towards mothers, Dugmore said. Image: Getty

"The reality of breastfeeding is difficult. The basic problem with breastfeeding is when mums are home alone. We were not meant to be in isolation with possibly just our partner as a support person," Dugmore told 10 daily.

"There are also terrible pressures from outsiders and information overload on how a baby should behave, and it's so different to the actual reality of a breastfed baby."

The Morrison government is also providing $2 million this year to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, to increase access to donor human milk for premature babies through a centralised donor milk bank service.

With AAP.

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au