The National Health Survey 2020-21 was collected online during the COVID-19 pandemic and is a break in time series. Data should be used for point-in-time analysis only and can’t be compared to previous years. See Methodology for more information.
Breastfeeding confers health benefits for both mother and child. For breastfed infants, benefits include nutritional, physical and psychological wellbeing, and health advantages may persist into later life.
The National Health and Medical Research Council's infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding to around 6 months of age. It also recommends mothers continue breastfeeding while introducing appropriate solid foods until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as mother and child desire. Exclusive breastfeeding refers to children receiving only breast milk (including expressed milk) and no other fluids, food or water (with the exception of vitamins, minerals and medicines where necessary).