Breastfeeding Coalition Tasmania

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Breastfeeding and the law

Breastfeeding protection is about removing obstacles and barriers to breastfeeding and protecting a women's right to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding protection covers: -

Law

Protecting a mother's right to breastfeed in public.
Regulation Protecting breastfeeding from commercial interests.
Policy

Protecting mothers in the workforce (leave and employment entitlements).

Policy to create more supportive environments in the health system and broader community.

Protection – The most important strategy to address inequities

Breastfeeding rates are so much lower in some communities than others in Tasmania demonstrating that the barriers to breastfeeding play out unevenly in each community. Communities with much lower breastfeeding rates not only need extra support to promote breastfeeding, they need to be protected from a range of practices which undermine breastfeeding.

Why is regulation needed?

Regulation of the marketing of infant formula is essential to ensure that parents are able to make informed decisions free from commercial interests.

Marketing of infant formula requires special treatment due to the vulnerability of infants. Artificial feeding contributes to increased infant morbidity and mortality.

Regulation aims to protect breastfeeding by:

  • Restricting marketing and promotion of infant feeding products which may undermine breastfeeding
  • Protecting against biased and misleading information

The natural, normal act of breastfeeding has been undermined and attacked over the decades as commercial competitors are developed. There is a strong commercial incentive to increase the demand for artificial (formula) feeding instead of breastfeeding. Around $30–$50 million annually is spent on marketing infant formula. This compares with only $2 million spent on a National Breastfeeding Strategy. Women cannot make an informed choice about infant feeding in such a market place.

Such vested interests lead to a negative portrayal of breastfeeding in the media and pushy marketing practices which affect community attitudes to breastfeeding.

Protect

Communities need to be protected from a range of practices which undermine breastfeeding

Are you a mother needing help?

Click here to visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website for information and support