Breast feeding and Contemporary Life: The Greek Reality

Iliadi, Panagiota; Ermioni Palaska
October 2009
Nosileftiki;Oct2009, Vol. 48 Issue 4, p352
Academic Journal
Breast feeding is considered to be the ideal nourishment for an infant, while the benefits for the mother herself are equally significant. Breastfeeding rates in Greece, however, are dramatically reduced after the first month. Aim: This article reviewed the Greek breastfeeding rates up to the first year after birth and delineates the relationship between the low frequency of breast feeding and the contemporary life style of mothers. Method: A search was made for relevant studies between 1990 to April 2009 in Pubmed and Scholar Google and in the official sites of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, using "breastfeeding, nutrition, Greece, contemporary life" as key words. The main selection criterion was the clear relation between the frequency of breast feeding and the contemporary life style, with the major focus on Greek studies. Results: The reports showed that Greek mothers tend to stop breast feeding shortly after birth. It is estimated that the breastfeeding rate six months after birth has been reduced to 4%. This appears to be due to the modern way of life, the distinct lack of a breastfeeding culture in Greek society, the weak support for breast feeding in the health services and the community-family framework by the health workers, and the major influence of the milk and milk substitutes companies in Greece. Conclusions: The need for introduction and maintenance of measures for promotion of breast feeding at the state, health services and community-family levels is explicit.


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