International research project: How can breastfeeding be promoted in Germany?
The project “Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly” is being conducted at the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) by the Gesund ins Leben network at the Federal Centre for Nutrition (BZfE) and National Breastfeeding Committee at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), in cooperation with Yale University.
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and breast milk is the ideal nutrition for infants: easily digestible, hygienically perfect and always at the right temperature. Despite this, many women do not breastfeed at all or stop doing so after only a few months. The promotion and support of breastfeeding is necessary due to the comparatively low breastfeeding rates in Germany, but there is currently no comprehensive overview of the structures, actors and measures involved in the promotion of breastfeeding in Germany. Therefore the present project aimed to investigate where effective, efficient and sustainable measures to promote breastfeeding should be applied. To this end, the current situation regarding the promotion of breastfeeding in Germany has to be ascertained. The findings made will then be used for the planning, initiation and accompaniment of measures and campaigns to promote and protect breastfeeding.
The eight-gear cogwheel model, the so-called Breastfeeding Gear Model, developed at Yale University serves as the foundation for systematic appraisal in this project. The model comprises the eight cogwheels: Advocacy (social approval), Political Will, Legislation & Policies, Funding & Resources, Training & Programme Delivery, Promotion, Research & Evaluation, as well as Coordination, Goals & Monitoring, which reflect all of the fields of action and actors in the context of breastfeeding. With the help of defined criteria, all of the activities relevant to the promotion of breastfeeding are collected and evaluated for each area by a panel of experts. The result will be a country-specific index value which will also enable an international comparison of a country’s breastfeeding promotion.
More detailed information on the Yale University project “Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly: A Guide to Global Scale-Up (BBF)” is available at:
More information on the Gesund ins Leben network is available here: