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Supporting breastfeeding In Local Communities


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What is the study about?

Breastfeeding provides infants with the optimal start to life, yet Victorian breastfeeding rates fall well below national targets and there are major variations in breastfeeding rates across the state. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has provided funding for the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University to trial interventions aimed at increasing breastfeeding duration in Victorian communities.

This trial is a three-arm cluster randomised trial. It will determine whether early home-based breastfeeding support by a SILC Maternal and Child Health Nurse (SILC-MCHN) for women with identified breastfeeding issues, with or without access to a community-based breastfeeding drop-in centre, increases the proportion of infants receiving 'any' breast milk at four and six months.

How are we conducting the study?

Eligible Local Government Areas (LGAs) across Victoria with low breastfeeding rates were invited to participate. LGAs that agreed to participate were randomly allocated to one of three trial arms: standard care (acting as comparison communities); early home-based breastfeeding support by a SILC-MCHN; or access to a community-based breastfeeding drop-in centre in addition to home-based breastfeeding support by a SILC-MCHN.

SILC will assess breastfeeding outcomes using Maternal and Child Health Centre data as well as from postal surveys to women. The intervention programs have been pragmatically designed so that if such an intervention did increase breastfeeding, then it would be able to be readily incorporated into practice in Victoria.

participating LGAs

LGAs involved in SILC

Trial arm 1 - Standard care

  • City of Hume
  • Cardinia Shire
  • City of Wodonga
  • Macedon Ranges Shire

Trial arm 2 - Early home visit by SILC-MCHN

  • City of Wyndham
  • City of Greater Bendigo
  • Wellington Shire

Trial arm 3 - Home visit plus drop-in centre

  • City of Ballarat
  • Mitchell Shire
  • City of Whittlesea


Who are the researchers?

Chief Investigators:

  • Prof Helen McLachlan, Judith Lumley Centre and the School of Nursing & Midwifery, La Trobe University
  • Prof Della Forster, Judith Lumley Centre, The Royal Women's Hospital and the School of Nursing & Midwifery, La Trobe University
  • A/Prof Lisa Amir, Judith Lumley Centre
  • Prof Rhonda Small, Judith Lumley Centre

Project Coordinator: Dr Méabh Cullinane, Judith Lumley Centre

Research Officer: Dr Touran Shafiei, Judith Lumley Centre

Statisticians: Dr Lyn Watson, Judith Lumley Centre; Mr Paul Agius, Burnet Institute

more information

Who is funding the study?

This is a three year project funded by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD).

Privacy and access to information

Information collected is kept confidential and the data will be used only for the purposes of this study. We have research ethics approval from La Trobe University and DEECD.

SILC has been registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ANZCTR), ACTR number: ACTRN12611000898954.

Further information

For more information about SILC, please contact Professor Helen McLachlan on (03) 9479 5955 or email .