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Sustaining Breastfeeding Together!

38/2017, 02.10.2017

On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, the National Breastfeeding Committee at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is drawing attention to two new research projects on breastfeeding in Germany.

Breast milk is the natural food for infants - easily digestible, hygienically perfect and always at the right temperature. For this reason, this year’s World Breastfeeding Week from 2 to 8 October 2017 is using the motto "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together" to call for more support for nursing mothers in our society. To mark the occasion, the National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR is drawing attention to two new research projects on breastfeeding in Germany. In the internationally affiliated project "Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly" (BBF), the current status of the promotion of breastfeeding in Germany is comprehensively analysed for the first time. One of the project's eight fields of activity examines the scope of the topic "Breastfeeding" in the German media. In addition to this project, a follow-up project to the nationwide "Su-Se" ("Breastfeeding and Infant Nutrition") study conducted 20 years ago is being started, highly supported by the National Breastfeeding Committee. The large-scale "SuSe II" study is collecting extensive data on breastfeeding frequency and the factors that influence breastfeeding behaviour and infant nutrition.

Those involved in this year’s World Breastfeeding Week point out that a social climate in which nursing mothers feel appreciated and accepted is just as essential for the success of breastfeeding as individual, expert support. In this context prominent actresses, singers, sportswomen or politicians, could talk publicly about their own breastfeeding experiences and thereby visibly express their appreciation towards nursing mothers and thus becoming a role model for many mothers. Having breastfeeding accepted as the norm is the common goal.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) commissioned the "Healthy Start - Young Family Network" and National Breastfeeding Committee to conduct the "Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly" (BBF) project for Germany in cooperation with Yale University. In the course of this project, a panel of experts examines how breastfeeding-friendly Germany is. One area of main emphasis here is the analysis of how German media report on the topic of breastfeeding and to what extent and through which channels celebrities promote breastfeeding effectively where publicity is concerned. Based on the results, the panel of experts will then recommend measures to make the social climate in Germany more friendly towards breastfeeding.

More detailed information on the "Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly" research project:

In addition to this, the follow-up project to the "SuSe" study conducted in 1997/1998 started recently, highly supported by the National Breastfeeding Committee. The purpose of "SuSe II" is to show if and how breastfeeding behaviour and infant nutrition have developed in Germany since that time. To this end, approx. 170 maternity clinics and 1500 mothers are to be interviewed. Scheduled to run for two years, the study is being conducted by the Research Department for Children’s Nutrition (FKE) at the University Paediatric Clinic Bochum and sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The contracting authority is the German Nutrition Society (DGE). The research results are to form the basis for health and food policy measures and are intended to facilitate the practical, professional advice given to young families with regard to breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

About the National Breastfeeding Committee at the BfR

The National Breastfeeding Committee was founded in 1994 with the aim of promoting a new breastfeeding culture in the Federal Republic of Germany and helping to ensure that breastfeeding becomes the normal form of nutrition for infants. The Committee is composed of members of medical professional associations and organisations who are committed to the issue of breastfeeding in Germany. You can find more information on the work of the National Breastfeeding Committee on the Internet at:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. 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.

The BfR is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the institute has published a jubilee brochure (in German) which can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/publication/brochures-61045.html.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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