Breastfeeding policies and budgets

Project leader(s)

Funding agency

  • Department of Health
  • World Health Organisation

Whether new mothers can breastfeed as intended depends on the social and family environment in which they birth, live and work. Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and continuing for two years and beyond is recommended, but practice varies greatly. This contracted research responded to calls for evidence from Australian health policymakers on what a new National Breastfeeding Strategy could do to increase breastfeeding, and from the World Health Organization on how commercial marketing affects caregivers’ behaviours and attitudes on using food and beverages targeting infants and young children. Innovative collaborative research with an international NGO also influentially applied a ‘gender responsive budgeting’ framework to question whether policies of ‘encouraging breastfeeding’ work without also investing the necessary funding for effective implementation.

Image: Jordan Whitt/Unsplash under Unsplash licence


Smith JP, Cattaneo A, Iellamo A, Javanparast S, Atchan M, Hartmann B, et al. Review of effective strategies to promote breastfeeding: an Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute ( for the Australian Department of Health. 2018. (

Hull N, Smith JP, Hocking J, Peterson M, Salmon L, Hansson D, et al. World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative Assessment Report: Australia New Delhi: International Baby Food Action Network; 2018.

Smith JP, Stewart M, Costa M, Hull N. ANU Gender Institute Report: Gender responsive budgeting and breastfeeding policies: insights from the Asia-Pacific region. ANU Gender Institute: Australian National University; 2018.

Smith JP, Sargent GM, Mehta K, James J, Berry N, Koh C, et al. A rapid evidence assessment: Does marketing of commercially available complementary foods affect infant and young child feeding? Geneva: Commissioned by the World Health Organization; 2015 May.

Journal articles

Smith JP. Australia’s national breastfeeding strategy. What’s happening and will it work? Breastfeeding Review. 2018;26(3):7-14.

Hull N, Smith J, Peterson M, Hocking J. Putting Australia to the test — The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative. Breastfeeding Review 2018;26(2):7-15.

Hull N, Schubert L, Smith JP. Perspectives of key stakeholders and experts in infant feeding on the implementation of the Australian national breastfeeding strategy 2010–2015. Breastfeeding Review. 2017;25(1): 25-34.


Interview, J Smith with Sarah Dingle on ABC Radio National AM program 12 June 2019.

WBTi Australia Receives Advocacy and Leadership Award at Australian Public Health Conference 4 October 2019.

Maree J, Smith JP, Hull, Hocking, ‘Breastfeeding training – why health professionals aren’t getting enough’, Croakey, March 2019.

Hocking J, Smith J, Hull N, Peterson M. Never mind the Trump Administration, Australia’s record on breastfeeding doesn’t rate so highly, Croakey, July 2018.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet