This paper provides a brief overview of the research evidence on the health and learning outcomes for children who are breastfed and look at national data on breastfeeding rates. This is followed by an overview of the evidence on the effects of breastfeeding for maternal health, women’s participation in the labour market and family well-being.
It then explores possible reasons for the apparent oversight of breastfeeding in early childhood research literature as well as in written guidelines and policies in early childhood centres.
The paper concludes with an explanation of how breastfeeding support in the early childhood setting fits with the government’s current goals of increasing participation in early childhood education, improving the quality of services, and promoting collaborative relationships with parents, families and others.
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