What you can do
You can make a difference by advocating for better support for breastfeeding in your local community.
- Contact your local council and suggest ways that they could make your community more supportive of breastfeeding.
- Encourage local businesses to become more breastfeeding friendly. Provide them with information about the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Breastfeeding Welcome Here program.
- Ask your local child care providers how they support breastfeeding.
- Tell your story to others. Talk to family and friends about your personal experiences with breastfeeding. Let them know what you found helpful and things that you found difficult.
Make your voice heard
Speak to local, state and federal politicians about the need for better support and protection for breastfeeding. Make sure that you are positive, focus on solutions instead of problems and point out how the whole community benefits. Here are some talking points.
Breastfeeding in public
- Tell your story. Describe any personal experiences that you, or others, have had when breastfeeding in public.
- Around 9 out of 10 Tasmanian mothers start out breastfeeding but many give up during the following months. Mothers need better support to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public.
- Breastfed babies feed frequently. Mothers need to be able to leave their homes and feel confident that they can breastfeed in their local community.
- Most public restrooms are not acceptable places to breastfeed. They are not hygienic, practical or comfortable.
- Breastfeeding is recommended for the first 12 months but only one quarter of Australian babies are breastfeeding at 12mths.
- Provide suggestions to improve support for breastfeeding in your community.
Breastfeeding in the workplace
- Describe any personal experiences you might have had combining breastfeeding and work.
- Discuss Australian breastfeeding recommendations. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for 12 months and beyond.
- Returning to work is a major reason why some women stop breastfeeding.
- A breastfeeding mother needs to express milk or breastfeed to maintain her milk supply, and as well as to supply milk for her baby the next day. Lactation breaks are essential.
- Businesses lose when employees don't breastfeed
- For every 1000 formula feeding babies, it is estimated that their mothers miss a total of a full year of employment in excess of breastfeeding mothers, to care for sick children (Ball and Wright, Pediatrics, 1999)
- New mothers who aren't breastfeeding have 3 times as many 1-day absences from work as breastfeeding mothers, because their children are sick more often (Cohen, Mrtek, Mrtkek, Am J Health Promot, 1995)
Breastfeeding helps the economy
- Breastfeeding reduces health care costs.
- Mothers who do not breastfeed face increased risks of ovarian and breast cancer.
- Babies who are not breastfed face increased risks of ear infections, gastrointestinal and respiratory illness, asthma, diabetes and obesity.
- In an era of rising health care costs, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to improve the health of mothers and babies.
Individuals can make a difference by encouraging local action to support breastfeeding
Are you a mother needing help?
Click here to visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website for information and support