Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1276–1283 | Cite as

Analysis of Breastfeeding Policies and Practices in Childcare Centres in Adelaide, South Australia

  • Sara Javanparast
  • Lareen Newman
  • Linda Sweet
  • Ellen McIntyre


Breastfeeding policies and practices were analysed in childcare settings in the metropolitan area of Adelaide, South Australia. Childcare centres were purposively selected based on their geographical location, type and socioeconomic score of the area. Qualitative inquiry approach was employed by undertaking interviews with childcare centres’ director or baby house coordinator to explore their perception towards breastfeeding practice and support within their centre. Breastfeeding related policy documents, where available, were also collected during the interviews to triangulate data. A total of 15 face-to-face interviews were conducted. Six childcare centres had a written policy specifically on breastfeeding support, although the technical issues of handling breastmilk were included in most centres’ food and nutrition guidelines. Most participants believed that decision to breastfeed is the personal choice of parents, and hence saw the childcare centre’s role as supporting parental choice whether it is breastfeeding or not. The provision of physical space to breastfeed and facilities to store the expressed breast milk were the most common practices in support of parents who had chosen to continue breastfeeding. Participants perceived mothers’ work-related issues such as distance from the centre, time, and unsupportive workplace the most important barriers that led to early introduction of bottle feeding or breastfeeding cessation. Most childcare centres support breastfeeding in a more passive than active way. Breastfeeding promotion needs to be an integral part of childcare centres training, policy and practice if an increased rate of breastfeeding is to be achieved particularly amongst working mothers.


Breastfeeding support Policy and practice Childcare centre 



This work was made possible by a grant from the Faculty of Health Science, Flinders University. The authors also acknowledge the participation of childcare centres’ staff who gave so generously of their time to share their experiences with us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Javanparast
    • 1
  • Lareen Newman
    • 2
  • Linda Sweet
    • 3
  • Ellen McIntyre
    • 4
  1. 1.South Australian Community Health Research Unit, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and EquityFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Southgate Institute for Health, Society and EquityFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Flinders Innovations in Clinical Education, Rural Clinical SchoolFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Department of General Practice, Primary Health Care Research & Information ServiceFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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