Breastfeeding and the introduction of solids in Australian infants: data from the 2001 National Health Survey Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To present estimates on rates of breastfeeding and timing of introduction of solid foods to Australian children, 1998-2001. METHODS:Analysis of data from the 2001 Australian National Health Survey (NHS) using lifetable methods. Infant feeding questions were asked by personal interview in respect to 1,883 children aged under three years of age. RESULTS:At discharge from hospital, 83.3% of infants were breastfeeding, which is similar to estimates from the 1995 NHS. At 13 weeks postpartum, 64.3% were breastfeeding, 49.0% at 25 weeks and 24.9% were continuing to breastfeed at one year. At 25 weeks, 18.4% of infants were fully breastfed. Solid food was being offered regularly to 15.2% of infants at 13 weeks and 88.0% by 26 weeks. CONCLUSION:Fewer than 50% of infants are receiving breast milk at six months, which is considerably lower than the 80% figure recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Very few Australian infants are being exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months. Infant feeding practices in Australia appear to have remained unchanged between 1995 and 2001.

publication date

  • April 2005