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Theurich, Melissa A. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8928-9004; Ziebart, Monika ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0006-5524-1401 and Strobl, Frances ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0002-5898-3524 (2024): National survey of infant feeding bottles in Germany: Their characteristics and marketing claims. In: Maternal & Child Nutrition [PDF, 1MB]

Abstract

Bottles and teats are ubiquitously used for feeding infants and young children. Yet there are limited empirical studies on the scope of infant feeding bottles, their attributes, or their marketing claims. We report the first comprehensive survey on infant feeding bottles and teats in Germany. We aimed to explore the extent of bottles and teats available in Germany, describe their physical attributes and analyze their marketing claims. A cross-sectional survey of German bottle and teat manufacturer websites was conducted between June and November 2022. Product attributes are presented with descriptive statistics and photographs. Marketing claims are summarized in a descriptive content analysis. We identified 41 brands encompassing 447 unique products (226 bottles, 221 teats). The majority of bottles were plastic (147, 65%) or glass (64, 28%), and the majority of teats were silicone (188, 85%). Most brands (38, 93%) promoted products using one or more inappropriate marketing claims, including equivalency to breastfeeding (29, 73%), idealization through technical or medical descriptions (23, 58%), claims on disease prevention (31, 78%), references to naturalness (29, 73%), infant autonomy (10, 25%), and endorsements from parents (10, 25%) or health professionals (11, 28%). The majority of bottles and teats available in Germany appear to be marketed inappropriately and hold the potential to undermine public health recommendations on infant and young child feeding. Therefore, we recommend Germany strengthens legislation on the marketing of bottles and teats in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

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