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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Guest Editorial: Breastfeeding and the public’s health Volume 16 Issue 3-4

Karen Webb, Beth Stickney, Peter Heywood

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 16(4) 37 - 40 Published: 2005

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About the author/s

Karen Webb

Beth Stickney

Peter Heywood


International recommendations advise that women exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and continue to breastfeed until their infants are at least 12 months of age. These recommendations have been endorsed by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and included in the Infant feeding guidelines for health workers (see page 41), which have been incorporated in their Dietary guidelines for children and adolescents in Australia. The good news is that over 80 per cent of Australian women start breastfeeding. However, most stop before their infants reach six months of age. In addition, most women who do breastfeed for six months add other foods and/or breastmilk substitutes to their infant’s diet early in life, despite recommendations to the contrary.