[Breastfeeding Rates and Duration in Germany - A Systematic Review]

Gesundheitswesen. 2016 Nov;78(11):695-707. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1555946. Epub 2015 Sep 3.
[Article in German]


Aim: 20 years after establishment of the National Breastfeeding Committee, the present work, based on published data on breastfeeding, is aimed at providing insight into the development of breastfeeding behaviour in Germany. Methods: To identify relevant publications, a comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed and Web of Science using the search terms "breast feeding" or "breastfeeding" in combination with "Germany". The publication period was limited to the period 1995-2014. Results: A total of 35 studies with data on breastfeeding for the birth cohorts of 1990-2012 were identified. Most of the data had been collected in regional or local surveys, often retrospectively. About 60% of the studies had been conducted with the primary aim of collecting data on breastfeeding or infant nutrition. Over the past 2 decades, breastfeeding rates were always relatively high at the beginning (72-97%). However, they declined significantly within the first 2 months, and by the age of 6 months, only about 50% of infants were still breastfed. Conclusion: Breastfeeding support and early assistance should be offered to a greater extent in order to achieve sustainable improvement of breastfeeding frequency and duration in Germany. Regarding the quality of data collected on breastfeeding, it seems crucial to implement standardised approaches to monitor breastfeeding in Germany.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Breast Feeding / trends*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult