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Mum's the word for new breastfeeding research

Young mothers and the strategies they have developed to breastfeed for a recommended six-month period are the focus of a new study by Griffith University researchers.

The mothers' personal experiences will be used to help guide future promotion of breastfeeding.

The Griffith Health Institute project is one of 16 included in Research Australia's Cook for a Cure campaign to be launched in August.

Cook for a Cure invites members of the public to cook and share a healthy meal in support of one of the projects listed in the campaign.

The program aims to learn from the practical strategies and effective services and supports young mothers experienced while breastfeeding.

"This research recognises that many young women develop strategies that are insightful and innovative without the help of experts," Professor Roger Hughes, who is leading the Griffith Health Institute project, said.

"Looking at a problem from the mother's perspective can be very enlightening for those of us who want to promote and support breastfeeding more generally.

"It recognises that mothers often develop wisdom that we need to harness and share."

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the infant's life is a recognised contributor to the optimal health of the infant and also supports maternal and family health.

"By focusing on successes, Our Cook for a Cure project differs from previous research that centred on understanding breastfeeding failure."

Professor Hughes, an expert in maternal and child nutrition at the School of Public Health, believes communicating successful strategies forged in the real world is the key to assisting mothers breastfeed.

"Positive communication of practical strategies can make a substantial difference to mums struggling with breastfeeding in the early stages," he said.

Young mothers who have successfully breastfed beyond six months will be interviewed about the strategies they used to overcome challenges.

"This investigation will provide detailed real world experiences and practical insights from the mother's point of view.

"From here we plan to develop and implement strategies that provide more effective support for young mothers who are breastfeeding to make the six-month target achievable."

World Breastfeeding Week starts today (Monday), running from August 1-7. It will be celebrated in 170 countries.

Through the Cook for a Cure campaign, potential donors can identify research programs led by some of Australia’s leading researchers.

Research Australia is a not-for-profit organisation run independently. With a whole-of-community approach, it raises the profile of health and medical research across the country.

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