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Breastfeeding - the best nutrition for infants

28/2012, 01.10.2012

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week 2012, the National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR draws public attention to the ability of breast milk to lower the risk of infection in infants

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week 2012 with the theme "Understanding the Past, Preparing for the Future", the National Breastfeeding Committee at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) reminds the public that breastfeeding provides the best available nutrition for infants and that it is capable, among other things, of lowering the risk of infections.

The composition of breast milk is unique and helps ensure optimal development and prevent diseases in infants. To coincide with Breastfeeding Week 2012 which this year takes place between 1 and 7 October, the National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR draws public attention to the health benefits of breastfeeding: both infections and chronic diseases later in life can be effectively prevented by breastfeeding infants.

The National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR points out that industrially manufactured infant formula is not a complete substitute for breast milk. Breast milk optimally matches infant needs: it is easy to digest, and in the first half of the baby's life it covers all of the infant’s needs in terms of nutrients and fluid. In addition, antibodies are transferred from the mother to the child.

When infants are exclusively breastfed for four to six months, their risk of contracting respiratory tract infections, for example, is significantly reduced. In addition, the number of hospital admissions of infants in their first year of life is lower. Additional diseases which may occur less frequently in later life include overweight and diabetes mellitus Type 2. In addition, the advantage for the mother is not to be underestimated: according to several studies, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer.

As part of World Breastfeeding Week, the National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR publicises the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. World Breastfeeding Week is a campaign run by all organisations promoting breastfeeding. The worldwide campaign week is organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). This year it takes place for the twentieth time.

The National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR was founded in 1994 in order to promote Breastfeeding in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Committee advises the Federal Government, publishes guidelines and recommendations and supports initiatives for removing existing obstacles to breastfeeding.

More information is provided by the members of the National Breastfeeding Committee (Stillkommission@bfr.bund.de).

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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