Breast Feeding Guide

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Breast Feeding Guide| Paediactrics Healthcare

Exclusive breast feeding is recommended until around 6 months of age when solid foods are introduced.1

It is further recommended that breast feeding be continued until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as the mother and child desire.1

Exclusive breast feeding to 6 months of age gives the best nutritional start to infants and is recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)1, the World Health Organization (WHO)2 and other health authorities.3

Breast feeding is the normal and most appropriate method of feeding infants and is closely related to immediate and long term health outcomes.1

Breast feeding forms a unique biological and emotional basis for the health of both mother and infant and plays an important and central role in protecting the health of the infant and promoting physical, neurological and emotional development in the short and long term.

The majority of Australian women (80-90%) commence breast feeding, however by 6 months 40-50% have introduced other foods or stopped breast feeding.1 There is also evidence that women in higher socioeconomic groups are more likely to breast feed.1


¹ NHMRC (2013). Infant Feeding Guidelines: NHRMC. Canberra.² WHO (2002). Infant and young child nutrition: Global Strategy on infant and young child feeding. WHO 55th World Health Assembly.³ Ministry of Health (2012). Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Children and Young People / Aged (2 – 18 years): A background paper. Wellington, Ministry of Health.

Breast Feeding Guide FAQ

Below you will find some frequently asked questions related to Breast Feeding. You can also download the full FAQ PDF version.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of breast feeding for the infant?
What are the benefits of breast feeding for the mother?
What are important nutritional considerations for mothers during breast feeding?
What are the energy requirements of a breast feeding mother?
What are other nutrients of particular concern during breast feeding?
What are the characteristics of breast milk?
How long and how often should an infant be breast fed?
Are there ways to increase milk supply?
What are the different ways to express breast milk?
What positions can mothers use for breast feeding?
What equipment is required for bottle feeding expressed breast milk?
What are the different methods to sterilise equipment used for expressing breast milk?
How should expressed breast milk be safely thawed and warmed?
How should expressed breast milk be safely stored?
Where can mothers access support for breast feeding?

FAQ References

1. Breastfeeding and the use of Human Milk policy statement (2005). The American Academy of Paediatrics; 115(2):496–506. 2. Fewtrell MS (2004). The long-term benefits of having been breast-fed. Current Paediatrics; 14:97–103. 3. Riordan J (2005). Breastfeeding and Human Lactation (4th ed). Toronto, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 4. WHO (2007). Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of Breastfeeding: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses. World Health Organization, Geneva. 5. Riordan and Wambach (2010). Breastfeeding and Human lactation (4th ed). 6. NZ Ministry of Health (2008). Partially Revised December 2012 (updated food-related choking policy). Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Infants and Toddlers (Aged 0-2): A background paper (4th ed) – Ministry of Health. Wellington, New Zealand. 7. Leng G et al (2005). Regulation of oxytocin secretion. Vitam Horm; 71:27–58. 8. Stuebe AM et al (2005). Duration of Lactation and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA; 294(20):2601–2610. 9. Ziegler AG et al (2012). Long-term protective effect of lactation on the development of type 2 diabetes in women with recent gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes; 61(12):3167–3171. 10. NHMRC (2005). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand Including Dietary Recommended Intakes, Commonwealth of Australia 2006. 11. Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013). NHMRC. Canberra. 12. (last accessed 10.01.2014). 13. (last accessed 10.01.2014). 14. Beaton R et al (1993). Effectiveness of Vitamin A supplementation in the control of young child morbidity and mortality in developing countries. United Nations Report funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, University of Toronto Canada. 15. Ip S et al (2007). Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); (Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 153.) Available from: (last accessed 10.01.2014). 16. Brown JE et al (2008). Nutrition through the Life Cycle (3rd ed). Thomson Wadsworth: Belmont, CA. 17. Saarela T et al (2005). Macronutrient and energy contents of human milk fractions during the first six months of lactation. Acta Paediatr; 94(9):1176–1181. 18. Queensland Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Guidelines Program (2010). Queensland Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Guideline: Breastfeeding initiation: Breastfeeding initiation. Q. Government. 19. NHMRC (2012). National Health and Medical Research Council: Infant Feeding Guidelines National Health and Medical Research Council. Canberra. NBM1796

Breast milk is best for babies. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breast feeding. Good maternal nutrition is important for breast feeding and reversing a decision not to breast feed may be difficult. Infant formula should always be used as directed. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding.

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