Breastfeeding rate lower in Brisbane
Women who decide to breastfeed need more community support than ever, according to a Brisbane lactation consultant.
Alexandra Read, who has worked as a certified consultant for 12 years, said women still faced societal pressures if they decided to breastfeed their child.
“We are coming out of a period, the 1960s and ’70s, that was a predominately bottlefed era,” she said.
Although nine out of 10 women initially chose to breastfeed, the number dropped dramatically after the baby reached five months old, with only 17 percent continuing to breastfeed beyond that age.
The proportion is even lower in Brisbane, with only one in 10 women continuing past the five-month mark.
“It’s very, very low,” Ms Read said.
But efforts are afoot to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfed babies.
The Queensland Health Department last week gave its support to World Breastfeeding Week with hospitals including the Royal Women’s Hospital and Mater Hospital holding events for more than 200 staff and patients to support breastfeeding mothers and to open the lines of communication.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association has embraced technology to support breastfeeding mothers, adding online forums and phone help lines to their face-to-face support meetings.
Ms Read said new mothers needed practical and peer support.
“We know women have the most successful breastfeeding with support,” she said.
To contact the Breastfeeding Helpline, ring 1800 686 268 or go to www.breastfeeding.asn.au