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Theurich, Melissa A.; Weikert, Cornelia; Abraham, Klaus; Koletzko, Berthold (2018): Stillquoten und Stillförderung in ausgewählten Ländern Europas. In: Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz, Vol. 61, No. 8: pp. 926-936
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Background. Breastfeeding benefits the short- and long-term health of mothers and their children. Breastfeeding promotion is an important task for society and the healthcare system. Aims. We report national breastfeeding data and monitoring systems of selected European countries based on data provided by national breastfeeding committees and international organisations. Strategies for promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding, achievements and challenges are reported. Methods. Representatives of breastfeeding committees and initiatives from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and The Netherlands completed a standardised questionnaire. Reported results were compiled and complemented by additional information compiled by the authors. Results. Considerable differences in breastfeeding rates, data collection and strategies for breastfeeding promotion exist within Europe. At the age of 6 months 35-65% of infants are breastfed and 13-39% are fully or exclusively breastfed in the countries included. Varying methods of breastfeeding monitoring are established in 7 of 11 countries (not in Germany). National breastfeeding committees exist in 9 countries and a national plan for breastfeeding promotion in 6 countries. All country representatives supported stronger European collaboration on improved breastfeeding promotion. Conclusions. Governments and health systems should collaborate in strengthening evidence based breastfeeding monitoring and promotion and implement financial and policy support. Sustained enhanced collaboration of European countries with exchange of information and experience on breastfeeding support and a new initiative for establishing a strategic European masterplan on breastfeeding promotion appear necessary.