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Breastfeeding is healthy and can’t wait

25/2017, 29.06.2017

The National Breastfeeding Committee at the German German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has formulated core messages to increase ac-ceptance of breastfeeding in public

A study currently commissioned by the BfR shows that only six percent of the population are completely against breastfeeding in public. However, one person in four is ambivalent about breastfeeding in public places or views it unfavourably. Moreover, there is a discrepancy between acceptance of breastfeeding and the breastfeeding behaviour of mothers, especially in restaurants and cafés. To increase acceptance of breastfeeding in public, the National Breastfeeding Committee (NSK) at the German German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has now formulated messages to support nursing mothers and to raise public awareness:  breastfeeding is beneficial and normal – under any circumstances.

According to the BfR study, acceptance of breastfeeding grows with knowledge of its health advantages, thus further health education is needed. On the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture the National Breastfeeding Committee is suggesting campaigns to implement the key messages: “Breastfeeding is healthy,” “Breastfeeding is acceptable everywhere” and “Breastfeeding can’t wait”. To improve acceptance of breastfeeding in public these and other measures should not be planned as individual campaigns, but rather be prepared as a comprehensive campaign with the inclusion of various institutions, associations and multipliers.

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and breast milk the best food for infants – easily digestible, hygienically perfect and always at the right temperature. Despite this is well known, some women do not breastfeed or weaning off after a few months. For every tenth respondent who had stopped breastfeeding, the unfavourable public attitude towards it was one of the reasons why they stopped.

Some women will always look for a quiet and concealed place to breastfeed, irrespective of the level of public acceptance. Additional nursing rooms could encourage breastfeeding outside the home, especially if they are easy to find e.g. via a smartphone app. Switzerland setting such an example, with the so-called “mamamap. Mothers can locate nursing facilities in the vicinity. Initiatives such as those in Australia, the UK and Ireland, where the owners of cafés or hairdressers’ shops use stickers to indicate that their business is nursing friendly, are suitable for making quiet retreats more easily recognisable.

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 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

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


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