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Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy (ANBS) 2019

The work of the Australian Breastfeeding Association exists across three key pillars. They are: 
  1. peer support for breastfeeding,  
  2. health professional education, and  
  3. advocacy.  

ABA provided significant input to the development of the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy (ANBS) and fully supports its implementation. We aim to actively engage with government at all levels to ensure its implementation. ABA has accepted an invitation to participate in the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee responsible for overseeing the implementation of the ANBS. 

Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2019

  • Represents the commitment of the Federal Government and the State and Territory Health Ministers to enable breastfeeding through policies, baby-friendly health settings, health professional education and training, and universal and targeted breastfeeding education and support services. 
  • Is designed to be used as a tool to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It can be used as a resource by governments at all levels, policymakers, stakeholder organisations, the public and private health sectors, industry, researchers and academics, families, and communities.  
  • Provides guidance on evidence-based approaches to protect, promote, support and monitor breastfeeding. The strategy was developed by the Federal Department of Health and agreed to by all states and territories through COAG processes and then launched on 3 August 2019, during World Breastfeeding Week. The day-to-day work of ABA actively supports all six strategy objectives.  

ANBS 2019 Objectives

Increase the proportion of babies who: are exclusively breastfed to around six months of age; continue breastfeeding, with appropriate complimentary foods until 12 months and beyond 

Enable mothers, fathers/partners, and other caregivers to access evidence-based, culturally safe breastfeeding education.

Increase the number of breastfeeding-friendly environments (baby-friendly health services, workplaces, early childhood education and care services, and public spaces). 

Strengthen the regulatory arrangements for marketing of infant formula and breastmilk substitutes so that inappropriate marketing and distribution ceases. 

Increase the proportion of health professionals who receive adequate, evidence-based breastfeeding education and training that is free from commercial influence. 

Raise awareness in the broader community of the significance of breastfeeding (and the risks associated with not breastfeeding) in achieving optimal health for both mother and child throughout the life course. 

ABA Actions

We support mothers to breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose via the National Breastfeeding Helpline, LiveChat, accurate breastfeeding information and local support groups

ABA provides mothers and their support people with access to local breastfeeding classes and interactive, online breastfeeding webinars.

ABA actively works towards the creation of a breastfeeding friendly society by resourcing employers to support breastfeeding employees and recognising supportive community venues.

ABA is a leader in the national discourse on the regulation of breastmilk substitute marketing. We actively work to strengthen formula marketing regulation in Australia. 

ABA delivers workshops, seminars and accredited courses for health professionals to strengthen their knowledge and update their skills in provision of breastfeeding support.  

ABA continuously strives to raise awareness and promote discussion of the value of breastfeeding through research, information sharing and active collaborations with other related organisations.

Resourcing the ANBS 

ABA recognises that the ANBS is a robust and comprehensive document. ABA provided significant input to its development and fully supports its implementation. ABA has a role in delivering outcomes against the ANBS, having received $8.29 million over 4 years to support our Helpline and related work. A further $2 million was allocated in 2019 to the Australian Red Cross LifeBlood, to increase access to donor human milk for premature babies through a centralised donor milk bank service.  

Further funding commitment to fully implement the ANBS would go a long way towards achieving ABA’s vision of breastfeeding being recognised as important by all Australians and culturally normal.