Frequency of breastfeeding in primary pediatric care in the Republic of Croatia during a three-year period (2020-2022)

The goal of the research is to present data on the prevalence of breastfeeding in the Republic of Croatia for a three-year peroid. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Department of Business Analysis of the MCS Group, data on the nutrition of children in the Republic of Croatia for years 2020, 2021 and 2022, have been extracted from the MCS Group database. In total, 63,969 records on the type of nutrition of infants and 15,871 records on the type of nutrition of children older than one year were processed, and collected from 55,042 children in total. The percentage of children exclusively breastfed for 1 month is 56.49%, for 3 months 46.09%, and for 6 months 9.66%. When it comes to complementary feeding, 47.87% of children were breastfed for 9 months, 37.26% for 12 months, and 7.64% for 24 months. The first month of a child’s life is characterized by a sudden drop in the number of breastfed children, compared to the percentage of breastfeeding represented in maternity hospitals. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for six months is significantly below the rate recommended by WHO and UNICEF. The differences in the recommendations of WHO and UNICEF, the European Association for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESP- GHAN), and the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EACCI) can be confusing for some health workers and parents. The results of total breastfeeding in months 12 and 24 are slightly below the values reported as the current rates of breast- feeding in the world by UNICEF. According to the current state of breastfeeding in the Republic of Croatia, the breastfeeding goals for 2030, set by WHO and UNICEF, will be difficult to achieve without reorganization and strengthening of the role of pediatricians in primary health care.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 67, No 3-4, july-december 2023
Authors: Marija Čatipović, Željka Draušnik, Mirjana Kolarek Karakaš , Zrinka Puharić
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2023;67:58-64

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