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Labor will support breastfeeding mums.



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Labor Will Support Breastfeeding Mums Media Statement - 22nd November 2007

A Rudd Labor government will provide increased support for new mums who want to breastfeed.

Labor will provide $2 million over four years to the Australian Breast Feeding Association to set up a national toll free 24 hour phone line.

This announcement builds on Labor’s existing commitments in health, industrial relations, education, work and family and child care to deliver a better deal for Australian women by improving their choices and opportunities.

Whatever decisions women make about their work and family life and care for their children, a Rudd Labor government will support them in their choices.

This announcement will mean all new mums who want to breastfeed will be able to access one to one expert support around the clock.

Breastfeeding in the early weeks of a child’s life can be difficult.

For a new mum with a baby, just home from hospital, that supportive voice on the end of the phone at 2am answering her breastfeeding questions can make all the difference.

All parents want to give their children the best possible start in life.

Federal Labor understands that making decisions about breast or bottle feeding babies can be difficult and complex for parents.

Whatever decisions parents make about care for their children, Federal Labor will support them in their choices so that parents can give their children the healthiest possible start in life.

There is now strong evidence of the links between breastfeeding and prevention of obesity and asthma in children as well as prevention of chronic diseases such as breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.[i]

There is also evidence of the protective effects of breastfeeding from gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections as well as middle ear infections in babies.[ii]

Jenny Macklin

Tanya PlibersekNicola Roxon

Supporting more new mums who want to breastfeed will improve the health of the next generation and save on future government health expenditure.

The National Health and Medical Research Council states that the total value of breastfeeding to the community makes it one of the most cost-effective primary prevention measures available.

Despite this, there has been a decline in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding over the last decade. In the most recent national survey there was not one six month old infant consuming only breast milk.[iii]

The funding will allow the Australian Breastfeeding Association to boost their existing service which is staffed by volunteers and currently takes an estimated 200,000 calls each year.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association provides vital help to families with young children.

Exclusive breastfeeding to six months is recommended by the World Health Organisation and is Australia’s official public health guideline for infant feeding as set out in National Health & Medical Research Council’s Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia.

[i] Allen J and Hector D, ‘Benefits of Breastfeeding’, NSW Public Health Bulletin (2005), vol 16, p 43;

[ii] http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/haa/breastfeeding/report/chapter3.pdf

[iii] National Institute of Clinical Studies; Evidence-Practice Gaps Report Volume 2 2005.

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 161 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2600