New mothers ignore breastfeeding guidelines

Fewer than one in five Australian babies are breastfed exclusively for the recommended six months, and introduction to solid foods comes earlier than the recommended six months for many.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has today released the results of its 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey – the first large-scale survey of infant feeding practices and attitudes.

Key data include that 35% of infants were introduced to solid foods by four months of age and 92% by the recommended age of six months.

Breastfeeding was initiated for 96% of children and, at four months, around 69% of infants were still receiving some breast milk. Only 39% were exclusively breastfed to this point.

Around 60% were still receiving some breast milk at six months, but only 15% were exclusively breastfed to this recommended age.

Older and better-educated mums were more likely to breastfeed for longer.