I'm still reeling from the news of the Federal Government's commitment to provide all parents with 26 weeks of paid parental leave. Check out this document for details.
I nearly fell off my chair!!
It will surely be good for helping families make a strong start - and a fantastic boost for breast feeding success. Return to work for many new mothers signals the end of breastfeeding. Despite best attempts, juggling work and child care can place a strain on new parents, one that leads to breastfeeding being given the flick.
The 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey found that 96% of mothers breastfed at birth, dropping to 39% by 4 months and 15% by 6 months.
This is concerning given that both the World Health Organisation and the National Health & Medical research Council recommend exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months. Whats more, some recent research really rocked the boat - it seemed to show that there is a causal relationship between prolonged breastfeeding and measures of intelligence at 3 and 7 years of age.
We all know that breastmilk is perfectly designed to meet a baby's nutritional needs for the first 6 months of life. It also boosts their immune system and lessens risk of allergy and food intolerance. For More>>
Im really looking forward to seeing the National breastfeeding statistics do an abrupt change of trajectory, from one of rapid decline to heading closer to 100% all the way past that 6 month milestone. Twenty-six weeks on full pay (or 52 weeks at 50% pay) will surely have a massive impact on breastfeeding rates for children's first year of life. It will also go a long way in promoting good parental/infant mental health outcomes, with less pressure and more time to get to know the new little love of your life.
The Government's 26 week paid parental leave is promised to start mid-2015. Can I suggest ladies, you all cross your legs and wait till then. Im joking - but it wouldn't surprise me if we see a bit of a spike in birth rates after that date :) In the meantime, go to the Australian Breastfeeding Association for great advice on how to manage breast-feeding when and if you do return to work.
If you need parenting support, including challenges with breastfeeding, introducing solids, sleep, toddler behaviour and adjustment to the parenting role - check out our services or just drop me a line.