Breastfeeding: meaning

Breastmilk is the best, the most practical and the cheapest food for the newborn. Breastfeeding should therefore be self-evident for mothers. But it is not, as a glance at current statistics shows. In Germany, over 90 percent of hospitalized in infants born babies are placed on the mother's breast. At the age of 6 months, only 48 percent of babies enjoy the supercocktail. Too little, says the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), because breast milk is tailored to the needs of the child and protects both mother and child from illness. "The National Breastfeeding Commission at the BfR, which was set up 10 years ago, has set itself the goal of Norwegian standards, " explains the chairman Professor Hildegard Przyrembel. "There, at the age of 6 months, 80% of the children are fully breastfed."

Role model Norway

Around 30 years ago, Norway was in a similar situation to Germany today: through the medicalization of childbirth, the separation of mother and newborn for reasons of hygiene and the meal available from the bottle at the right time (prescribed by the medical profession) at any time Number of mothers breastfeeding six months after birth decreased to 30%.

"The turnaround began in the 1970s, " says Professor Gro Nylander from the Rikshospitalet in Oslo. "It reflects women's new self-image, but it also follows from the fact that the state and the public health system, together with the employers, have created conditions that allow Norwegians to fully breastfed their children for more than six months, plus a fundamental change in public opinion, which no longer perceives breastfeeding as a burden, but as pleasure. "

The situation in Germany

The fact that the number of mothers in Germany is now increasing again and breastfeeding for more than six months is certainly also a success of the tireless educational work of the National Breastfeeding Commission at the BfR. Doctors, midwives, nursing consultants and self-help groups work together to improve breastfeeding conditions in the clinic, at work and in the private sector.

It is a policy of the small but effective steps being taken here. And she shows success. Among other things, it was achieved that the production of free daily portions of infant formula 2004 was discontinued. Such samples have in the past seduced some mothers not to embark on breastfeeding, but to accustom babies to the vial.

Health benefits of breastfeeding

Although breast-feeding is not a panacea and does not provide absolute protection, breast-fed children are less likely to get infections of the upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. Long-term observations indicate that breast milk can protect against allergies to some extent and that breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity. Breastfed children also have a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Who can not breastfeed?

Very few illnesses are regarded as a breastfeeding obstacle: mothers with a hepatitis C infection, for example, can certainly breastfeed, according to the experts. Unlike HIV-infected mothers: you should not breastfeed. Affected mothers should always seek qualified advice.

Even sick and immature children should, if possible, enjoy the benefit of breast milk. This requires special efforts of the staff in the maternity hospitals.

Brochures in different languages

Another essential aspect of breastfeeding and lactation consultation is the information of the foreign-speaking co-citizens. The National Breastfeeding Commission therefore publishes its brochures in various languages. Breastfeeding information can be obtained free of charge in German, Turkish, Russian, Italian or English from the National Breastfeeding Office at the BfR. The address is: Thielallee 88-92, 14195 Berlin. Orders can also be sent by e-mail (stillkommission (at) or fax (030-84123715).

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