30th International Day of Breastfeeding - Every drop of breast milk is a treasure
Eight out of ten Hungarians agree that breast milk is the best food for the baby, according to the research of the Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families (KINCS), which was prepared on the International Day of Breastfeeding. Hungary is also at the forefront on the international stage in relation to the prevalence of breastfeeding, in which MCH nurses play a significant role.
“The birth and breastfeeding of children and the establishment of a safe early mother-child relationship are inalienable tasks for women, it is even more important to prepare girls and women for the significance of this today than in the recent centuries, when they have naturally seen maternity preparation patterns around them.”
Prof. Dr. Mária Kopp
Since 1992, the International Day of Breastfeeding has been held on 1 August to raise awareness for the importance of breast milk. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breast milk is the most appropriate food for the baby from the first hour of birth to the age of six months, as breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to protect children's health. Worldwide, however, only 41 percent of infants under the age of six receive exclusively breast milk. One in five babies in high-income countries have never been breastfed. According to a 2018 survey, the proportion of infants who have ever been breastfed in Scandinavian countries is very high, above 90 percent, 86 percent in Italy, 82 percent in Germany, 77 percent in Spain, 63 percent in France, 74 percent in the USA and only 55 percent in Ireland. In Hungary, 94% of children receive breast milk during the first six months of their lives, definitely in the days after giving birth, so breastfeeding is very popular and widespread in our country. MCH Nursing care, which is a Hungaricum, plays a very important role in this regard, as one of the crucial tasks of MCH nurses is to support mothers in the care of their children.
The latest research of KINCS highlights the importance of breastfeeding as well as the work of MCH nurses. According to the survey, 9 out of 10 Hungarians (92%) think that breast milk is the best for feeding the baby. When it comes to choosing between breast milk and formula, only 1 percent say that formula is better, 81 percent say breast milk and 17 percent say both are appropriate. According to more than one-third (36%) of the respondents, it is ideal for the baby to receive breast milk until at least one year of age, but according to almost one-third (31%) of them, the baby can be fed with breast milk for more than one year, and for as long as necessary.
Breastfeeding is very popular in Hungary, which is well demonstrated by the fact that most Hungarians think very positively about the importance of breast milk. Hungarians (97%) believe that every drop of breast milk is a treasure. 88 percent agree that breast-fed babies are healthier and more balanced, and 84 percent agree that breast-feeding will establish a close mother-child relationship with an effect for the whole life. According to eight out of ten Hungarians, the basic trust between the child and the mother is formed by breastfeeding.
MCH Nurses play a key role in the healthy development of children and in the promotion of breastfeeding. Nine out of ten Hungarians are familiar with the MCH Nursing Service, and just over a quarter of the respondents (27%) even know that the organisation has a history of 107 years in Hungary. The research of KINCS also reveals that Hungarians rely on the expertise of MCH nurses. According to 84 percent, MCH nurses provide parents with useful advice on feeding and caring for their infants. Eight out of ten respondents think that MCH nurses help families a lot during pregnancy, in preparation for childbirth as well as after childbirth.
Hospital staff and fathers also play a decisive role in the period around childbirth. According to the majority of Hungarians, hospital is the most suitable place to give birth to a child (85%) and according to three quarters of the people (72%) it is good to have the father present at the birth.
Methodology: The national representative survey was conducted by telephone interviewing 1000 people among the adult population between 9-22 June 2022.