Best care for infants: breast milk remains irreplaceable for babies

Digestible and hygienically perfect: Breast milk is the best food for babies
Breast milk is the natural food for infants: easy to digest, hygienically perfect and at the right temperature. Unfortunately, many mothers breastfeed their babies far too short. On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, experts will inform you about the importance of breast milk for young people.

Best nutrition for infants
Breastfeeding is considered the best nutrition for an infant, because breast milk contains an optimal composition of all the nutrients that the child needs in the first months of life. The milk is "digestible, hygienically perfect and at the right temperature", the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) wrote in a message. But not all children are breastfed long enough. Under the motto "Support breastfeeding - together!" This year's World Breastfeeding Week calls for more support for breastfeeding women in our society.

Health benefits for children and mothers
Scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding is positive for the development of the child's immune system. According to studies, breastfeeding can also protect against allergies and reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

It is particularly important during the first six months of life. It also helps prevent diarrhea, among other things.

According to experts, mothers who are breastfeeding have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer. In addition, a study has shown that breastfeeding protects mothers against cardiovascular diseases in the long term.

But although breastfeeding has many health benefits for child development, only about forty percent of all babies are breastfed exclusively in the first six months of their lives.

"No country in the world meets the recommended standards for breastfeeding," wrote the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement.

Breastfeed babies, especially in the first six months of life
In this country too, more would have to be done to show the population how important breastfeeding is. This is indicated by the German Midwifery Association as part of the World Breastfeeding Week under the motto "Promote breastfeeding - together".

"The demand that more has to be done for the health of women and families in Germany includes the possibility of breastfeeding, especially in the first months of a child's life," said Martina Klenk, President of the German Midwives Association, in a statement.

"And regardless of whether this happens in public or in private space."

Unfortunately, women repeatedly report negative experiences after breastfeeding in public.

According to the association, a study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) shows that breastfeeding is more positively received by the public the more information about the health benefits is known.

Breastfeeding women must be valued
A social climate in which breastfeeding women feel valued and accepted is just as important for breastfeeding success as individual, expert support, writes the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a message on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding as normal is the goal.

The National Breastfeeding Commission at BfR points out two new research projects on breastfeeding in Germany.

In the internationally connected project "Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly" (BBF), the current status of breastfeeding support in Germany is comprehensively analyzed for the first time. One of the eight fields of action of this project examines the importance of “breastfeeding” in the German media.

In addition to this project, a follow-up project to the nationwide “SuSe” study (“Breastfeeding and Infant Nutrition”) carried out 20 years ago is also being launched by the National Breastfeeding Commission.

The large-scale study "SuSe II" collects comprehensive data on the frequency of breastfeeding and on factors influencing breastfeeding behavior and the nutrition of infants.

How breastfeeding friendly is Germany?
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has commissioned the "Healthy Living" network and the National Breastfeeding Commission to carry out the "Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly" (BBF) project in cooperation with the University of Yale for Germany.

An expert commission is examining, among other things, how breastfeeding-friendly Germany is. One focus here is the analysis of how German media report on breastfeeding and to what extent and through which channels celebrities promote breastfeeding in a public way.

Based on the results, the expert commission then proposes measures to make the social climate in Germany more breastfeeding-friendly.

Furthermore, the follow-up project of the “SuSe” study carried out in 1997/1998, which was proposed by the National Breastfeeding Commission, recently started. “SuSe II” is intended to show whether and how breastfeeding and infant feeding have developed in Germany since then.

About 170 maternity clinics and 1,500 mothers are interviewed. The two-year study is being carried out by the Research Department for Child Nutrition (FKE) at the University Children's Hospital in Bochum and funded by the BMEL.

The client is the German Nutrition Society (DGE). The research results are the basis for health and nutritional measures and are intended to facilitate practical, professional advice to young families on breastfeeding and infant nutrition. (ad)

Author and source information

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